People bring all kinds of things with them when they come to the ER. Some of these things can be very helpful to us in treating you. Examples of some very important things that you should have readily available in case an emergency comes up are: a list of your medicines and allergies – or your pill bottles, your medical discharge paperwork from another hospital (if applicable), any chemical you might be having a reaction to or was sprayed into your eyes/mouth/nose, and a severed digit or limb should that ever happen God-forbid.
You would be surprised how many times people come in for care and all they can remember is that they are on “some small white pill” for high blood pressure. I usually try to remind people that there are only about eight colors for pills and over 3000 medicines – so the “little white pill” description is about as helpful as trying to identify a robber by saying he was tall, wore a shirt and had a head.
But every now and again – ok, it’s usually everyday – someone brings with them something that your friendly neighborhood ER staff would rather you just left at home. Here they are in Letterman-style:
5. The bloody murder weapon you used. We’ll be happy to sew up the wound you suffered in your murder attempt before you get hauled off to jail, but bringing the murder weapon in makes for a lot of paperwork for us.
4. The bag of cocaine you suspect is “impure” because it got you so “whacked out”. We don’t do that kind of drug testing and it sort of creates problems for us when we don’t report that kind of thing.
3. Your drunk friends or family members, especially if they don’t like each other. Its also a good idea not to bring your girlfriend if your wife is listed as the emergency contact and will meet you at the ER.
2. Any animal that you think may have bit you especially if its still alive (bat, snake, gerbil, etc.). I may watch Animal Planet with my kids but that doesn’t make me an expert.
And the #1 thing you should not bring to your next ER visit is …
Any bodily fluid (phlegm, poop, vaginal discharge or anything else that came out of your body) that you are concerned about. I promise I will believe whatever you have to say without needing to see it wrapped up in nasty piece of toilet paper, a used tampon or your dirty undies.