Friday, April 15, 2011

Get him to the nearest McDonalds, STAT!

Some lady runs up to the triage desk last night all huffing and puffing and freaking out asking for a wheelchair- I don't know whether it's a statement about me or the patients that this automatically makes me suspicious- somehow the family of the actual sick people seem to make much less of a scene. Anyway, she starts telling me in a very frantic manner about how her husband has been having chest pain and drifting in and out of consciousness all day long, and now he's unresponsive. So I bring a wheelchair out to find a very obese man sitting straight up in the front seat with his eyes closed in a manner similar to a child pretending to a be asleep. I give him a good sternal rub and tell him to stand up and get into the wheelchair. Once he does the math on our respective weights and realizes I am obviously not going to pick him up, he hops up and gets in the chair. It's the most intense workout of my week but I push him up to the desk, where he starts to tell me about how it feels like an elephant is sitting on his chest. Let me also just add that approximately 90 percent of the people who say this where I am say it because they have watched Dr Oz or something and they think it's going to get them somewhere.
At this point he's been waiting approximately 45 seconds from the time I've pushed him in from the car, and I tell him to fill out the check in form. Not that I've automatically blown him off because of his complaint and presentation, but A, it's been going on for three days, and B, until people microchip themselves like my dog and I have the technology to scan them into the computer system instantly, I still need you to fill out the damn form telling me who the hell you are! It takes one minute if you are a literate adult, just sayin'. So, this was unsatisfactory to him, so he decides to add that yesterday his child hit him in the back of the head with a plastic toy "in the exact same spot where I had a concussion a few months ago" and that his doctor told him that if he ever got hit there again he could die instantly. Yikes.
So we get him into the computer system and I tell him he'll be triaged shortly. He then stands up out of the wheelchair, walks to the vending machine, buys a soda and some cookies and he and his wife walk to the other side of the waiting room and sit down, where she then pulls a McDonalds bag out of her purse and they proceed to eat them some tasty cheeseburgers.
Unresponsive? Was that prior to ordering the double quarter pounder with cheese? I can see the med alert bracelet now- If found unresponsive, please bring to the closest fast food drive thru. Surprisingly, his EKG was normal.


  1. actually, I look at it this way : information giving (filling out forms) is a good tool of assessment for orientation, cognitive skills,comprehension and the like....not just a clerical thing.

  2. There is certainly a positive correlation between eating junk food and drama. High drama and chips/soda/KFC/McDonald's go hand-n-hand.

  3. Absolutely! I couldn't go a week at my high school without hearing a story about someone getting their weave torn out at the taco bell.

  4. ha total fail. in our ER there are huge signs everywhere telling patients not to eat until after they have been seen... yet..... yeahhhhh riiiight.... oh and one more thing.. if i;m really friggin sick, the last thing on my mind is eating a heartattack on a bun from mickey d's