Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mary, bring me a strong drink

I'm with a patient, when Mary interrupts. There's a hospital call for me. So I pick it up.

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."

Dr. Webster: "Hi, I'm the hospitalist taking care of Mrs. Migraine, and I have a question about your note."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay."

Dr. Webster: "This morning you wrote: 'Brain MRI didn't show an ominous cause for her headaches'."

Dr. Grumpy: "Yes?"

Dr. Webster: "What does 'ominous' mean?"

31 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh for the love of Steve Jobs - dictionary.com is very useful people!

thethingspatientssay said...

As a hospitalist, I feel the need to apologize for this man.

Anonymous said...

Pull his/her leg. "You remember back in anatomy, when you dissected the abdomen, and had to move the OMENTUM out of the way? Well, those things can move around, and if they get up into your grill, they hurt like hell."

Doc might even believe it. Send you some referrals to "rule out omentous"

Suz said...

You doctors and your obscure medical terms!

Thatgirl said...

Is making a phone call really easier than googling? And also... now I begin to understand why the MCAT has that verbal reasoning section on it.

//.amanda.eleven. said...

Oh the vocabulary of a science-based mind.

Sarah Glenn said...

When I rode herd on the Medical Terminology class, a fellow approached me during one of the finals to ask several vaguely worded questions. Finally, I realized that he didn't understand the word 'affinity'. It wasn't one of the medical terms, so I gave him a definition. Sad...

CC: 'phediums' - states of boredom experienced while on a phone call.

Old MD Girl said...

And who said the liberal arts were a waste of time? Ok, in this case, basic literacy...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments about google....seriously...save yourself the embarrassment of calling a Doctor and asking that question....or heck, ask one of the nurses you are probably sitting next to! sigh

~Francine

Tracy said...

I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad. Frankly, I would be to embarrassed to ask and would (as one of my old bosses would say) "harness the power of the internet."

emmy said...

You know, it's sad to be in a hospital and have an idiot treating you. Just a bad place to be.

ERP said...

Are you sure he didn't presume you meant to write "obvious"?

Lori said...

I think he probably wanted to know what conditions you specifically think of as "ominous". One person's benign may be another person's ominous.

Technically Insane said...

*shakes head and sighs*

Kim said...

Please tell me he is not a native speaker of English.

Anonymous said...

And you think that "A" drink will be enough? I suspect you may need a large bottle of Rum to add to your DC; and use his co pay to finance the purchase???

Texas Pharmacy Chica said...

...and this surprised you?

Can't tell you how many patients I have who ask me what their RX is for because they did not understand what the MD told them and it is not like they are FOB.

I sometimes feel like the '1%' - when I immigrated I did it with the intent to assimilate, and that meant learning the language.

SuFu PhD said...

C=MD

Anonymous said...

My, My looks like the English majors (I was not one of them) WILL take over soon. We science nerds better watch out ...

Anonymous said...

This isn´t a medical term. I kinda feel sorry for this man. I think I´m starting to understand why my art history teacher said we are going back to the medival age.

hungarian G.P. said...

I just started to read your blog yesterday but I was laughing continously...This is very nice feeling to see the patients and doctors are everywhere similar. I'm a G.P. in Middle Europe but my experiences almost same...
At last my english is maybe medium but I understand this term without any vocabulary...:D

Loren Pechtel said...

Of course the meaning of "ominous" should be obvious to anyone with a MD license.

However, it doesn't sound like proper medical usage and therefore I could see it being an issue.

Should he treat it as "benign" or is it a misspelling of "obvious"?

RehabRN said...

Grumpy:

We are assuming too much: that the hospitalist actually studied vocabulary to get into a good college, then to get to med school.

I hope he can add. I'd find it to be very ominous to have a doc afraid to use a dictionary.

Should have just asked a nurse!

History Doc said...

Someone buy the medical staff a dictionary, please?

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction as a couple of posters above - I figured your note read "obvious" and the hospitalist was misreading it as "ominous". My reaction to reading that note is to think ok, what non-"ominous" causes of her headaches DID it show? And I do know what "ominous" means.

Ole Phat Stu said...

Surely that's an omnibus without any bees in it??? ;-)

Jane said...

"Full of oms."

SalParadise said...

Just... wow.

It reminds me of the two old jokes:

Half of all doctors are below average

What do you call the person that graduated at the bottom of their class in med school? Doctor!

Assuming that English is this doctor's first language, it's pretty inexcusable. I bet that's the case, too, since all the ESL folks I know use a dictionary regularly.

Amanda said...

Even though I know the literal meaning of the word ominous, I probably would have called. I once had a doctor write an order to hold a drug for "bad heart rate." WTH does that mean? Is the nurse supposed to just guess?

I admit I don't know much about neuro, but the note seems to suggest that maybe the MRI showed some cause for the migraine, even it wasn't ominous to the person who wrote it, but the hospitalitist did phrase it oddly.

Marty said...

I'm just an MS2, so I haven't had any real life experience reading notes and radiology reports, but this note seems particularly vague (I know radiology is a competition in wording things vaguely, but that's different). It seems to imply there's a cause for her headaches on the MRI, but it's simply not ominous. Or it could be a mistake in dictation that was supposed to read "obvious", since that works almost better in the context. I mean, what would he have to report to the patient/other personal? Yes.. there may be a cause found on MRI, but it doesn't look bad... no I have no idea what it is.

eulogos said...

No, it means they didn't find a tumor.

 
Locations of visitors to this page