Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Groucho Marx Lives

We get into this job for the action and the trauma drama, but stay for the personalities and the comedy.

One night I'm sitting in my second home triaging patients, when one of our newer docs, jaded but not burned, whom I'll call Doc House, calls up front.

"What's this "foreign body ingestion" who signed in?"

"Oh, him...he swallows stuff all the time."

"How's he look?"

"Very stable. He's watching TV in the waiting room."

"Okay, what did he swallow tonight?"

"Lemme check the chart... He swallowed 3 quarters."

"3/4s of what?"

"Not three quarters OF something. He swallowed 75 cents."

"Gotcha. Call me if there's any change." <Click!>

Ba doomp. Tip your waitresses. Try the veal. I'll be here all week. Thanks for taking some of your time and spending it livening up my night, Doc.

Later on, I get shifted to the express zone for minor injuries and stoopid $#!^, and get to discharge The Swallower of Capistrano, whose abdominal x-ray reveals that he's got the makings of a small hardware store jangling around in his stomach. Airport security would probably pull him in for secondary screening every time when he sets off the metal detectors. Except he probably can't get to the airport, because he swallows his car keys.

But Doc House hasn't finished playing with this one yet. Handwritten note on top of the discharge instructions says:

"Attention Charge Nurse:
Please provide Mr. Capistrano with a taxi voucher to get home.
Do NOT give him bus tokens under any circumstances.
He'll eat us out of house and home!
 - Doc House

p.s. Feel free to give him directions to any of the 5 ERs closer to his residence than ours."

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