Thursday, August 15, 2019


About 10-15 years ago, there was an internist who took night call doing hospital admissions. He worked from 5pm - 7am, and I was usually there from 5am to 6pm, so we encountered each other a fair amount toward beginning and end of day.

He was an eccentric dude (though a good doc), the type who tends to be best working night shift. He always had a large briefcase with him. Everywhere. It never left his side. No one but him knew what was in it, was never seen open. He took it in patient rooms, the bathroom, the doctors lounge... everywhere.

Late one afternoon I got called to see a guy admitted for a minor stroke. He was a retired baseball Hall-of-Famer. So I went in, and was talking to he and his wife, doing my usual neurology stuff.

I’d just finished answering their questions when Weird Doc and his huge briefcase wandered in to do the admission. He came in, set the briefcase down. I handed him the chart, since I was done with it and headed for my next consult. He glanced at it, then said “OH MY GOD! YOU’RE MIKE HOMERUNSLAMMER! CAN I PLEASE HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?”

He opened the briefcase. I may have been the only person on Earth (besides him) to have seen its contents. It was crammed full - and I mean REALLY full - of baseball cards. I'd never seen so many. All neatly arranged by teams and years.

He rummaged through it and pulled out the guy’s card from some year. And a pen. And a clipboard. and handed them to the patient. Somewhat stunned (I was kind of in shock myself) he signed it, handed it back, and the briefcase was closed.

Then he pulled his stethoscope out of his pocket and started business. "Thank you! So, what brings you to the hospital today?"

Monday, August 12, 2019

"I'll take that as a yes."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you have a headache when these other symptoms occurred?"

Ms. Patient: "Well, I believe I may have, if that was my awareness of how I felt was to have had a headache at the time than it could have been that I was possibly aware of having a headache."

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fun with EMR

I went to look up a patient's blood pressure trend at the hospital, but only found this:

People's lives depend on this, too. Don't that just make ya feel good?

Monday, August 5, 2019


I get in the hospital elevator with a 30-ish woman who's talking to someone on her cell phone. I hear:

"No, seriously, Sue, all the doctors here are idiots. Nurses, too. I mean, they tell me stuff about Mom's condition and tests and stuff, and I google it, and it always says the opposite of what they're saying. This place is a deathtrap. I'm trying to get her transferred somewhere else, where people know what they're doing."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Love and marriage

While on call last weekend, I was trying to track down a few victims patients when I noticed my call partner's (Dr. Nerve) wife was in one of the rooms on the floor. So I went in to say hi.

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi... Wow, that's a big cast. What happened?"

Mrs. Nerve: "He talked me into going on one of his overnight hikes-to-hell yesterday, in Southstate Canyon. About halfway through I tripped on a rock and broke my ankle."

Dr. Grumpy: "Holy crap. Are you okay?"

Mrs. Nerve: "Yeah, they operated on it last night."

Dr. Grumpy: "That's a pretty remote area. Did he have to carry you out?"

Mrs. Nerve: "No, they sent a helicopter and airlifted me here. We were WAY off the regular road."

Dr. Grumpy: "Where is he?"

Mrs. Nerve: "No idea. After I broke the leg he called for the helicopter and left. He said he was going to finish the overnight hike, and would meet me back here today."
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