Top Three ER Patients that Make You Go Hmmm

Anything but the needle doc

Anything but the needle doc

I have had this post on my mind for quite some time but it has come to the forefront due to some of my recent patient encounters. There are certain things in Emergency Medicine which are so strange and become even stranger because of the fact that it seems they are found in all other emergency rooms. Its kind of like someone getting a 1500 calorie fastfood meal and then ordering a diet coke – it doesn’t make sense and yet people everywhere seem to do it.

The first type of patient that causes many of us to just wonder – sometimes out loud – people with multiple tattoos, usually very large ones at that and often with the added variety of body piercings, who refuse to get a shot. Why you might wonder? Because they say they don’t like needles. It makes us wonder if their tattoos were painted on with a brush or maybe the kind you get out of a bubble gum machine. Piercings though – that’s like having a 10 guage needle stuck in you repeatedly – and often in some very sensitive areas as well. For the non-medical out there, we use needles that are at least half that size and sometimes only one third.

The second patient group that leaves us scratching are heads are those that come in with “vomiting”. This group is often divided into two categories: the truly sick and those who aren’t. Those who aren’t sick baffle us because they routinely insist on vomiting on the floor even though typically the waste basket or vomit-bin/bag/etc is literally within easy reach. I used to think that such people would never do such a thing at home, but after doing some EMS ride alongs and seeing some of the conditions that some people live in, I understand that they probably just vomit on their own floors/couches/chairs/etc as well.

As for those who aren’t so sick, its amazing how often they come in complaining of nausea while they munch on Doritos and drink some nasty grape soda or other carbonated sugar poison. One day I’m just going to lose it and tell them that maybe if they weren’t treating their stomachs like toxic waste dumps that they wouldn’t be nauseated. But usually, I just take the polite road and encourage them to do a bland diet for a few days and that they will likely feel better.

The last group that comes to mind – although their are a few others out there deserving of mention – are those that come in with a complaint that just started. “I have a sore throat”. How long have you had it? “Oh, it just started about 30 minutes ago”. Or, “my child has a fever”. When did it start? “I just checked their forehead 20 minutes ago and it felt hot so I rushed him in”. Granted if the patient has some extreme history, like they had epiglottitis or febrile seizure, I would certainly understand and do my best to reassure them – but come on.

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16 Responses to Top Three ER Patients that Make You Go Hmmm

  1. Sapphire says:

    That’s funny about somebody with multiple piercings being afraid of a needle. I’ve often wondered about menstruating women who say they faint at the sight of blood. Do they faint at the sight of their own blood as well? That would be an awful lot of fainting if they did.

  2. maha says:

    Can’t stand nausea when accompanied by a big mac! I want to whack all of them with a metal bedpan and throw them out onto the street! Oh and I had a massively tattooed guy actually scream when I put in a 20G IV. Wimp.

  3. Kathie T. says:

    Two weeks ago we had a mama bring her 58 lb three year old daughter into our ER at 0300. The mother stated that the child had been “vomiting all day”. As we talked, the child was contentedly eating barbeque potato chips and drinking an orange drink.

    Our very weary doctor nearly had a seizure.

  4. Kay says:

    Haha funny that piercing thing-I have multiple piercings but i cant stand the sight of a shot. With me this is because the shot is going into your vein-whereas a piercing only goes through skin or cartilidge(normally). Also the shot has some liquid(note we’re only told what’s in them, we aren’t actually sure) seeping through your veins, but piercings don’t have a foreign liquid injected into us.

    But that;s only my opinion, and i completely understand how stupid it sounds 🙂

  5. Kathryn says:

    The thing with the diet sodas? It’s not always because they’re diet. I order diet coke with all my fast food crap because regular coke and coke zero make my teeth feel weird. Diet coke doesn’t do that.

  6. Erin says:

    It’s patients like these that make me tip my hat to nurses and other medical professionals. Not everyone will have the patience or tolerance to deal with one of these types of people, let alone have to deal with them almost everyday.

  7. Kelli says:

    I love that you put into words, what I have been thinking for years!

  8. Cherie says:

    Hello, I’m searching for nursing related blogs like mine and I stumbled your site, nice blog!. I hope you could also include me in your blogroll.

    By the way, you have a very good writing skills here. Keep up the good work.

  9. Cherie says:

    Thank you for letting me in here. Please let me know what should I put in for your anchor text in my site. We are on the process now of building a huge nursing directory list and I wanted your site to be included.

    Shameless plug: We will be posting the November 2009 nursing board exam result in our website. Please let your Filipino visitors know about it. CIAO!

  10. Wow, how’d you manage to narrow it down to just three?

  11. lol says:

    Hey dude who wrote the story. Learn that getting a shot by a doctor is different than getting a tattoo and then write the story you prick. -.- oh and P.S: get a soon as possible

  12. Hugo Rabson says:

    @lol – wow, such hostility…

  13. […] blog post was originally published at ERdrama* This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Tennis Elbow Exercise […]

  14. Καναπεδες…

    […]Top Three ER Patients that Make You Go Hmmm « ER Drama: The Blog[…]…

  15. Jing says:

    Greast post. Thank you for sharing.

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