Doctors Need To Have Patience With The Patients

, , | Healthy | January 12, 2018

(I am a student in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program doing rotations in a nursing home shadowing a CNA working there. This patient is not part of our assigned rooms but is screaming for help. I ignore it at first, as I’m literally surrounded by medical professionals and figure her CNA or nurse will be in soon. Instead it carries on.)

Me: “Shouldn’t we check in on her?”

CNA: “She’s not ours, and she’s always like this. She just wants attention.”

Me: “Okay.”

(Ten minutes later, she is still screaming for help. Nobody is paying attention, and my CNA goes to do something without me. So since I have a 15-minute break without anyone to shadow, I decide to check on the woman. If she just wants attention, no harm done, I can talk a few minutes.)

Me: “Hi, I’m a student. Can I help?”

Patient: “My stomach.”

Me: *picks up chart* “How does your stomach feel?” *I look at the page detailing all she has ate and drank and any output, or waste, that day, thinking it’s an upset stomach*

Patient: “It’s exploding.”

Me: “That’s awful.”

(Then I notice she’s on a catheter, but no urine output has been recorded on her otherwise detailed chart. I look at her cath bag, and there is no urine in it. For those who don’t know much about caths there is always something. The body is constantly producing urine, and with a cath it drains straight off. This seems dangerous to me.)

Me: “I’m going to get you some help.”

(To the nurse at the station.)

Me: “The patient who has been screaming, I just checked in with her.”

Nurse: “She wants attention. Ignore it.”

(I find my teacher.)

Me: “This patient isn’t mine, but she’s been screaming. I keep getting told she’s attention seeking, but she has a cath and no output.”

Teacher: “I’ll check her.”

(I go about my day, and right before the students meet with the teacher for end of the day, I check in with the patient and she starts crying and thanking me profusely, saying nobody else listens, and I helped, and now she is ok. I note there is urine output in the bag. I go on to meet my class, and my teacher starts our reporting. As her final note:)

Teacher: “Oh, and [My Name] saved a woman’s life today!”

Me: “I did?”

Teacher: “Her catheter was misplaced. She had no urine output. You noticed while everyone else ignored her. When I placed her catheter correctly, the bag overflowed. Her bladder was close to bursting, which could have been serious or even killed her. Let this be a lesson, class: don’t ignore a patient just because they aren’t yours or want attention.”

Eating In Reverse

, , | Healthy | January 12, 2018

(I am in the ER waiting to be treated for a severe migraine with EXTREME nausea. In the next cubicle is a man who apparently had a blockage in his digestive system. A stomach pump has just begun when I am shown to my cubicle. I am very happy not to have been an “ear-witness” to the tube insertion!)

Female In Next Cubicle: “Oh, look! There’s a jelly bean! And that must be the chicken from dinner!”

(She continued describing every morsel being pumped from his stomach. My nausea increased to the point that I vomited on the floor near the curtain. She wasn’t as excited about seeing what I had eaten. It stopped her narrative, though.)

Benzo Combo No No

, , , | Healthy | January 11, 2018

(I work in a popular chain pharmacy/convenience store as a pharmacy technician. It is a week before Christmas and patients are swarming in to get medications refilled before they depart for the holidays. I’m currently working at a prescription filling station that is directly across from where the pharmacist verifies them, allowing us to talk as we work. Another technician takes in a couple of prescriptions and preps them for data entry; however, when the pharmacist spots them, he immediately sees a problem.)

Pharmacist: “Whoa, I am not filling this.”

Other Technician: “Why, what’s up?”

Pharmacist: “This drug combo, carisoprodol, benzo, and an opiate…”

Me: “Bad combo?”

Pharmacist: “It’s outright lethal. I need to speak with the patient.”

(We try to page the patient back to the pharmacy via the store intercom, but it appears that they’ve already left. The pharmacist decides to contact the doctor who prescribed the drug trio to alert them to the potentially fatal consequences. He immediately identifies this doctor as being a sketchy one that he has dealt with in the past. Nonetheless, he steels himself for the call and gets him on the line.)

Pharmacist: “Hi, I’m calling because of a couple of prescriptions that you’ve prescribed for [Patient]. When taken together these drugs are a potentially lethal combo. I wanted to see if perhaps we could if we could get the carisoprodol switched to, say Flexeril.”

Doctor: “There’s been no issues in the past.”

Pharmacist: “Right… but you are aware that is THE Unholy Trinity of drugs, correct? If nothing has happened previously then great, but all it takes is a single time or misstep and the patient is going to die. I highly suggest a switch here.”

Doctor: “I don’t want to do that.”

Pharmacist: *blinks* “So, just so we’re on the same page, you want to knowingly prescribe this potentially deadly combo to the patient, rather than switching?”

Doctor: “I’ve already discussed it with the patient. It’s fine.”

Pharmacist: “Okay, well, I’m going to notify the patient of your decision and make them aware of what’s going on here. I need to cover my bases.”

Doctor: “All right, sure.”

(The pharmacist was shocked by the nonchalant nature of the doctor, but decided to follow his gut instinct and not fill all three scripts. While there are noted instances of patients taking these drugs together, they are few and far between, and the benefits do not outweigh the risks; finally, the sketchy nature of the doctor meant that the pharmacist was less than comfortable doing so. He notified the patient of the situation (who seemed more disappointed with the fact that we wouldn’t fill all three drugs than with the fact that the combo was lethal) and wrote a note on the prescription stating that it was denied as well as our contact number should the patient try to have it filled elsewhere.)

Even The Paperwork Is Making Assumptions

, | Healthy | January 11, 2018

(I have a concussion and am getting a CT scan. The tech hands me a waiver where I sign that I’m not pregnant. I have to check a reason that I know this. I look up and down the list, and see reasons such as “I’ve had a hysterectomy,” “I’ve had tubal ligation,” “I had a negative pregnancy test done in the hospital today,” and “I have gone through menopause.” I don’t see one that describes my situation so I draw a box at the end of the list, and write, “I’m a virgin.” I check my box, sign it, and hand it back to the tech.)

Tech: “Do we really not have an option for that? Wow.”

This Is Not A Test(es)

, , , | Healthy | January 11, 2018

(I work as a receptionist in a small, single-doctor veterinary practice. A first-time dog owner drops off his 6-month-old male Golden Doodle to be neutered. The surgery is routine, and the dog goes home that evening. I get this phone call the following day.)

Me: “Good morning. [Veterinary Hospital]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Client: “This is [Client]. I brought Fluffy in to be neutered yesterday. Did you also remove his testicles?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Client: “Did the doctor remove Fluffy’s testicles yesterday when he was in to be neutered?”

Me: “Y-yes. That’s what the procedure is.”

Client: “I wish someone had explained that to me before I agreed to the surgery. Dr.

[Name] only said Fluffy would be castrated, not that his testicles would be removed.”

Me: “…”

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