* * Anonymous Doc

Friday, September 23, 2011

Well, that was a first. I think. Who knows. The blog probably remembers better than I do. I had a clinic patient leave mid-appointment. I stepped out of the room to talk to the attending about one of his issues, I come back and he's gone. Checked the bathroom, the waiting room, nope. He left. My fault? Probably. Could have done a better job dealing with him? Probably. Do I actually feel bad that he left? I don't know. We're not the police. We can't detain people against their will. But I spent forty-five minutes with a patient who left before he got any actual treatment, so mostly I feel bad for the people waiting, because he wasted their time if he didn't actually want to be helped. And he's not going to get any better without treatment.

He had an untreated infection. He needed IV antibiotics-- he needed to be admitted to the hospital. Maybe. He at least needed a plan. I mentioned hospital and he freaked out. I tried to calm him down, backtracked, said maybe we can deal with this as an outpatient, let me go talk to my attending and we can figure something out. And he left. The possibility that we would tell him to go to the hospital scared him and he left. I guess he thought we were going to forcibly bring him to the emergency room? I don't know. So now he has an untreated infection that he believes whatever doctor he tries to go to will send him to the hospital for, so he's not going to willingly go to a doctor, and he's not going to get treatment, and... he'll get worse. Great. Left a voicemail. I'm not holding my breath for a response to that. I'll hear he's in the ER when it gets worse, I guess.

I read a note on another patient. 82 years old. The note begins: "Patient is young female...." That is my second favorite note recently. Favorite is: "Patient is postmenopausal." Patient in that case was a man.


  1. This wasn't a case of your patient not wanting to be helped. I'm sure if he knew his only option was to be hospitalized, he wouldn't have bothered to make an appointment in the first place. He asked for your opinion, then decided to disregard it. His choice.

    In the meantime, I'd find out whether it's possible to be treated on an outpatient basis. I'm guessing he's not the only patient you'll ever encounter who'd prefer this option to being hospitalized. I would.

  2. If those notes are transcribed, then a transcriptionist should have caught them and flagged them. If they are written in, I see it or hear it more often than you care to imagine, as a transcriptionist.

  3. I just love it when X-ray technicians ask me, at age 63, whether I might be pregnant. If I am, it's gotta be the second coming, because I went through menopause 15 years ago. If he chose a young virgin the first time, why not an old postmenopausal non-virgin the second time? LOL!