Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chief complaint

Patient: "Doctor, my toe hurts."

Me: "Which toe?"

Patient: "My big toe."

Me: "Which foot?"

Patient: "Oh, I don't know."

Me: "You don't KNOW???"

Patient: "Well, it doesn't hurt right now. It just hurts sometimes. Also, I was worried about it because my grandmother had... uh, goiter."

Me: "You mean gout?"

Patient: "No, I think she had a goiter. What's the difference between goiter and gout?"

Me: "Gout is what you get in your toe joint. A goiter is in your neck."

Patient: "Yeah, she had a goiter."


  1. That was great!

  2. Did this patient just head over from Dr Grumpy's?

  3. Every new EM doc entertains the thought of writing a book of stupid complaints. Just off the top of my head the last 3 weeks or so...

    - 3 week old c/o episodic hiccups
    - 16 y/o with ONE hive on her neck 2 weeks ago now resolved (i-phone pic) presents due to concern over shingles after seeing on Dr. Oz. PMFSHx: Allergic to cats and has three cats who she tongue kisses frequently
    - ~25yr old c/o urgent need to have sex after smoking spice, accompanied by "jedi force being out of balance"
    - fatigue and drowsiness resolved by sleep, hunger pains resolved by eating food, I could go on for days

    Your tax dollars at work, ladies and germs, since they are entitled to evaluation and pain management.

  4. I forgot one of my favorites: Told in no uncertain terms in triage (and carefully noted) that we do not do medication refills for their (non-life threatening) chronic condition; elects to wait 3-4 hours for a doctor to tell them the same thing.

    Me: ...but I can call your regular provider and ask them to help you; they can call in a script or see you.

    Them: didn't feel like calling them/they already refused/they are closed today/it's 2 in the morning/my cousin Guido says you have drugs laying around the ED that you give to people/I came here for my last refill and another doc hooked me up

    I got three of these the other morning almost back to back. Luckily I got a dicey trauma after that so nobody got stabbed (at least not by me)

  5. Haha! Maybe she actually had a gator :-