Sunday, September 24, 2023

This is SO freakin' cool!

 OSIRIS-REx has landed!

Photo: NASA

Monday, September 18, 2023

Your EHR is making you look stupid

EHR (or EMR) is the generic name given to the various medical chart systems that have been crammed down our throats. Most are worthless.

The problem is that they're primarily designed to meet regulation-required "quality metrics," to show that we told someone to quit smoking, wear a seatbelt, or take prenatal vitamins regardless of whether the patient is a 6 month old infant, 28 year old guy, or 97 year old woman. Because, you know, those things are for more important then talking about the patient's chest pain or new-onset hemiparesis.

As a result, the EHR's are full of horseshit that tell you absolutely nothing about the patient that  relates to, say, WHY THEY CAME TO THE DOCTOR.

When I was in training I was taught that, within the SOAP format (subjective, objective, assessment, plan) your note should tell a story of sorts: what's happened to the patient, what do you think it all means, and what are you going to do about it. It should be written so that the other doctors involved in the person's care can understand what you're thinking and doing. It also should be that way so you can pick up the thread when the patient returns.

That, sadly, isn't the case anymore. Now a note is just a string of vital signs, discontinued prescriptions, the same family history that's in every previous note in the chart, cut & pasted test results (some going back years and completely irrelevant now) and boxes that have either been checked or unchecked.

Physical exam, for example. To describe the tongue, most neurologists include it in a stock phrase like "Cranial Nerves II-XII are normal." If something isn't normal, most ad an "except for..." or "with the exception of..." and go on to describe the issue.

Of course "normal" isn't good enough for an EHR. Neither is "intact," "unremarkable," or "within normal limits." You have to have computer-generated shit like this:

After all, why use one word when 36 will do?

Here's another example. It's no longer enough to just put something like "family history is unknown" (you often hear that in the adopted) You need a whole, stupid, repetitive, idiotic, PARAGRAPH to say that:

Then there's horseshit like this. Although labeled as "Previous Therapy" it doesn't even mention therapy, just a nonsensical sentence:

Or similar gibberish which basically says "we didn't do any of this, we aren't sure why we did or didn't, but it met some quality measurement goal so it doesn't matter."


Then there are things that are just plain ridiculous, like this:

Or this:

This doesn't exactly inspire confidence, either:


Or this strange complaint:


On that note I think I'll save the rest of my bad EHR excerpts for another day. Fortunately or unfortunately, I doubt I'll be running out of them any time soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Keep the party going

Demented Church Lady: "I can't believe you and my kids won't let me drive! All of you are going to hell for this!"

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay,  at least I can go to the Jimmy Buffet concerts."
Her daughter nodded and gave me a fist bump.

Thursday, September 7, 2023


 If this guy doesn't stop saying "I don't know, you know?" I may have to throttle him.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Thank you for the music

"Some of it's magic,

Some of it's tragic,

But I had a good life all the way."


Goodbye, Jimmy. Thank you.

Friday, September 1, 2023


 1:00 patient called me a "Pinko Jew." What a country.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Hard at work

Your hero, Dr. Grumpy, is (along with a lot of other docs) certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

You can be certified in either or both (I have no idea why anyone would want both).

All of us neurologists and psychiatrists pay the board a hefty amount to stay certified. It's a few hundred bucks a year, and every 10 years it's a few thousand more to prepare for and take a written test to maintain certification. This is in addition to all the continuing medical education required.

What the ABPN does with this money, besides writing new test questions and issuing certificates, I have no idea. But, in a recent newsletter I received, it was nice to see that the money is being put to good use:

Monday, August 21, 2023

Show and tell

My 11:00 brought a friend to the visit, who was silent for most of it.

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, Annie will get your tests set up... do you have any questions?"

Ms. Patient: "No. It sounds like a good plan."

Ms. Friend: "I have a question, I, um , had surgery on my coochie last month, and am worried that the scars aren't going to heal..." she stands up, drops pants "do you think those will go away?"

Monday, August 14, 2023

My dementia patients at work


Thank you, Mike!

Friday, August 11, 2023


Seen in a chart:


Thank you, Mike!

Monday, August 7, 2023

Saturday morning voicemail

“Hi, I keep calling and getting a message that your office is closed, and am kind of confused because on Friday the message said it was open. Can someone please call me back and let me know if you’re closed or open?”

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Fun with Google

My 10:30 came in because when she hears running water she has to pee, and she read online that this means she has a brain tumor.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Air time

Last week, for less-than-relaxing reasons, I had to do quite a bit of flying. So I read a lot of P.G. Wodehouse, which is my eternal go-to for travel reading, no matter how many times I've read it before.

On one flight we ran into a fair amount of turbulence and the pilot ordered everyone, including the flight attendants, to strap in, put all tray tables upright and locked, etc.

As we bounced around at 35,000 feet one of the flight attendants got on the microphone and said "Folks, please do not press your call button unless it is an emergency, as movement around the cabin is restricted at this time."

As soon as he said that the guy next to me in the window seat, IMMEDIATELY reached up and pressed his call button (no really, he did. Like he'd been waiting the whole flight for that moment).

Flight attendant unbuckles himself, runs back, and says "are you okay, sir?"

Guy next to me points out the window and says "What are those mountains over there called? They're really beautiful."

Brief pause

The flight attendant says "I have no idea, sir," then turns around and walks back to his seat.

As he's heading back the guy the next to me says "well, can you ask the captain? They're really beautiful."

Monday, July 17, 2023

Back after a few weeks

So going to just put up some random pics you guys sent in, and stuff I saw on my trip.

 This fan mail was posted at a local burger place:


From the "when I was your age" file is a pic of a 3 gigabyte external hard drive seen at a thrift store, I assume intended for a museum.


Next, in the "gross overuse of adjectives" category is this margarita sign, which needs to have "artisanal" added to really bring it home.

Then there's this Albert DeSalvo inspired car decal:


And this question on a survey to make sure you're paying attention:

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