* * Anonymous Doc

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Patient comes in last night. Homeless guy, alcoholic, had a seizure. Looks like just another homeless guy. We start talking.

"So how long have you been homeless?"

"A couple of years."

"Where were you living before that?"

And he names one of the nicest neighborhoods in the area.


"Yeah, I was a Senior Vice President at [ ]" and he names a company I'd heard of.

Whether he got laid off and then became an alcoholic, or became an alcoholic and then got laid off, I'm not sure -- but both of those things happened, his wife kicked him out of the house, and now he lives in a park. He gives business advice to other homeless people in exchange for money he can use to buy alcohol. He drinks the equivalent of a bottle of vodka a day, his wife hasn't let him see his kids in months... and just a couple of years ago, he was living the kind of life people aspire to. Crazy.


Two hours later, I get another patient, brought in by ambulance, passed out drunk, two of his friends along for the ride. They were clearly not used to being in the hospital.

"What hospital is this?" one of them asked.

I tell him. He pulls out his phone, starts looking it up... on Yelp. Is Yelp rating hospitals now?

"Is our friend going to get arrested?"


"Even if he's under 21. We're not saying he's under 21. But if he was."

"No. This is a hospital. We're going to treat him."

"Do we have to sign anything to claim him, so he doesn't get turned over to the state?"

"No. This is a hospital. No one's going to arrest him for being stupid, or lock him up."

The one who looked up the hospital puts away his phone, turns to me --

"Uh, I don't mean to be rude, but-- are there any other hospitals we can go to instead?"

1 comment:

  1. Doc - was the first patient bi-polar (or otherwise suffering from mental illness)? The whole "rich successful guy + ETOH/substance abuse + now living in park" profile is highly suggestive of psychotic break.

    I'm not a doctor, but I was a Biglaw toxic torts litigator for four years. LOL.