Caution Is Important, But Um…

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 21, 2020

Me: “This is [Heart Clinic]; how can I help you?”

Patient: “I have an appointment tomorrow, and I really need to come, but I found out my aunt had [rapidly spreading illness].”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that! Did you have contact with your aunt?”

Patient: “No, I haven’t seen her in months.”

Me: “You had contact with someone who has seen her recently, then?”

Patient: “I haven’t had contact with anyone lately. I get my groceries delivered, even.”

Me: “Okay. So, you have to go see her, then?”

Patient: “What? No! She’s in the hospital. I can’t go see her.”

Me: “Are you having any of these symptoms?”

I read off a list of symptoms.

Patient: “As far as I know, I’m healthy as can be, except for the heart issues.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m confused. If you need the appointment, then why are you cancelling?”

Patient: “Because my aunt has [illness].”

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Parenthood Doesn’t Come With Clairvoyance

, , , , , | Healthy | July 19, 2020

My son was born with a very slight heart murmur. The pediatrician said he needed to see a cardiologist so they called one in right away. He was only an hour old.

One month later, I got a letter saying the insurance wouldn’t pay because it needed a pre-authorization twenty-four hours before the visit. I called the insurance company and said that twenty-four hours before the visit, my son was negative twenty-three hours old. They paid the claim.

He’s eighteen now, and he’s fine.


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

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Do They Teach Entitlement In Medical School?

, , , , , | Healthy | July 18, 2020

I work in central supply at a hospital. Besides individual items, we carry prepackaged kits. 

One evening, I’m returning to the department after making my deliveries. I find a man in scrubs trying to force the door open.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Doctor: “Why is this door locked?!”

Me: “Because it’s after hours and I’m the only one here.”

I unlock the door and he follows me inside.

Doctor: “I need [Specific Brand Kit we don’t carry].”

Me: “We don’t carry [Specific Brand]; we only have [Our Brand].”

Doctor: “I don’t like [Our Brand]! I ordered [Specific Brand]! You’re supposed to have it!”

Me: “I’m sorry. We haven’t received any new products in a while.”

Doctor: “How do you know?”

Me: “Any time we get something new, my manager puts one on the dry erase board. She writes the item number and the location where it’s kept here in the department.”

He’s still not convinced, so I show him the shelves where the kits are stored. Of course, he doesn’t find the one he wants.

Doctor: “Fine. I’ll have to take one of these. I’ll need a couple of other things, too.”

He grabs a few more things and starts to leave when I stop him.

Me: “I need to know where that stuff is going.”

Doctor: *Rolling his eyes* “It’s going with me.”

Me: “You’re taking it home?”

Doctor: “No! I’m going to use it on a patient.”

Me: “Then I need the location of the patient. I have to log it in the book so the correct floor is charged.”

Doctor: “Oh. It’s going to [floor].”

I got everything logged in the book and he finally left.

We never did carry that other brand of kit.

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Too Bad Money Doesn’t Spread Like Disease

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 12, 2020

I have to visit my local hospital. At this moment, the health crisis is still ongoing, but it is not really spreading fast or causing many deaths in my country anymore.

When you enter the hospital, there are people there who ask you what your business is and if you have any symptoms related to the illness. The way this hospital is set up is that you have a big open space right after the doors. During this time, they have taped off a section for people entering so they catch everybody going in and are able to ask them questions.

The way they set this up is that they have a couple of tables surrounded by plexiglass screens about two meters in height and U-shaped. The area for employees is further restricted by tables which sort of create corridors for people to go through. These tables are not protected by the plexiglass. The employees are standing behind those tables, calling us through. Luckily, it is not very busy and I get through easily. 

When you exit, you get close to that area again. I linger a bit when I exit because I have to get some stuff in and out of my bag. As I do, I overhear a conversation.

One man asks why the hospital staff has plexiglass screens but doesn’t stand behind them, instead choosing to stand behind the unprotected tables. I take a look at the setup again and I realise that the way these areas are set up, they clearly meant for patients and visitors to go up to the front of the screens, answer the questions required, and then pass through the little artificial corridors to enter the hospital. This way, the employee would be protected at all times and never get close enough to the visitor/patient without a barrier in between them.

However, as it turns out, in order for plexiglass to stand on its own, it has to be quite thick. And what happens if you’re standing behind thick plexiglass? Well… predictably, they will have trouble hearing each other. Apparently, after trying it out, the employees realised that communication was impossible through these screens and that is why they abandoned them. I guess they still managed to stay far enough away from the patients and visitors, at least as far away as required by our laws — 1.5 meters — but it amazed me that the hospital didn’t think of the communication problem. 

And for everyone asking if they couldn’t have used microphones and speakers to communicate, here’s a couple of reasons why they didn’t. This setup is in the middle of a big open space. There are no plugs anywhere near. And it is too dangerous to put a wire over that floor. On top of that, the more important reason I guess is that hospitals already don’t get much funding and, as such, are notorious cheapskates.

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That Instant Karma Can Be Hard To Swallow

, , , , , , , | Healthy | July 11, 2020

I’m a nurse working in a drive-thru screening clinic for a widespread illness. 

Getting swabbed for this illness involves a throat and nasal swab and it is not a pleasant experience at all. I try my absolute best to be friendly, courteous, gentle, and comforting to make the best of a bad situation for our patients. 

And most patients are lovely. 

But some are not.

I have one guy drive up with two peers in the car, and he is clearly trying to impress them with bravado.

After ranting at me that “all this s***” is just a scam and how I must like hurting people if I do this job, giving me fake, rude names, etc., we finally get around to taking his throat swab. 

I have the swab in his mouth when he lets out a sudden, loud shriek, obviously with the intention of frightening me and making me jump as a “hilarious” joke. 

However, due to the fact that I have the swab in his mouth, when I do jump slightly, I end up jabbing his throat with the swab.

“Mate, maybe don’t do that when I have a stick deep down in your throat, okay?” I suggest.

With his eyes downcast, looking humbled and like someone who just got poked sharply in the back of the throat, he says in a small voice, “I’m sorry.”

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