* * Anonymous Doc

Friday, August 28, 2009

1AM: Nurse calls, says patient is having chest pains. EKG looks fine. I go see him.

"Have you ever had this kind of pain before?"
"Yes. All the time."
"All the time?"
"Yes. Whenever I have to go to the bathroom. Then it goes away."
"Have you tried going to the bathroom?"
"Maybe you should try that."

2AM: Nurse calls, says same patient is complaining of nausea.

"Describe the feeling."
"I want to throw up."
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong is the feeling?"
"About a 2."
"I'll give you an antacid. Try getting some sleep."

3AM: Nurse calls, says same patient is complaining of shortness of breath.

"Describe the feeling."
"I'm having trouble breathing."
"You seem okay to me. The monitors are all indicating your breathing is okay."
"When I get annoyed, I have trouble breathing."
"What is making you annoyed?"
"You keep coming in here and waking me up."
"Sir, you keep telling the nurse you're not feeling well, and then I have to come see you."
"I don't like my nurse. Can I get a different one?"
"Can you leave me alone?"
"I would be delighted to leave you alone."

4AM: Nurse calls, says same patient is complaining of a cramp in his foot.

Some patients are just complainers.
The problem with night float is that I don't know these patients well enough to know right away who's a reliable reporter of his own problems and who's just wasting my time. So I have to visit everyone to make sure, and I end up spending an hour with crazy people like this guy, who have nothing acute wrong with them and just like to complain.

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