Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't Lie - A Public Service Announcement

I recently came across this YouTube video:

This is utterly stunning that someone would make a video like this. As a public service, I will tell you that it will not work. If you come into the ER with a non life threatening condition, then you may have to wait. Life is difficult sometimes, suck it up and put you big kid panties on.

As an example, I had this one patient come in complaining of chest pain. We are a certified chest pain center, so he was immediately taken back and the "million dollar" work up began. He asked about his other complaint, but it was a minor one (it was the real reason he wanted to go to the ER). He was told in no uncertain terms that it would not be addressed since the chest pain is a major concern and it would take precedence over anything else. Epic fail on his part. He confided in me later and told me his doctor told him to complain of chest pain so he wouldn't have to wait. I was flabbergasted. What doctor would tell a patient that? I got the name of the doctor and told the patient that I hope he realized that the chest pain complaint would now be in his medical record, that the confession would be part of his chart and that he would be financially responsible for the whole work up. He said he didn't know. I informed the ER doc who, upon hearing the new discovery, shrugged and said he will call this doctor about his poor advice and the patient will only be seen for his initial complaint - he could go to his doctor or an urgent care clinic for his minor symptom.

So take this patient's hard knock lesson - don't pretend to complain of something you don't have to get into the ER faster. You may get harmed if we give you medications for the complaint thinking it is legitimate, you will be financially responsible for what we do, your deceit will be charted in your records, and you probably will not have your original complaint addressed. The other more important reason, you took nurses and doctors away from someone else who was truly experiencing something serious.

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