Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7 Quick Stories From Medicine Wards

My first month of internship is coming to an end. I did a month of medicine wards. The hours are long, but it's been interesting. Here are a few quick tidbits from my month:
  • One patient was a little too happy that I attempted to say hello to her in her own language. As I began to examine her with my gloved hands and stethoscope, I said "Hello" in her language. She suddenly lit up, grabbed both my hands with her own, said "Hello!!!" and proceeded to kiss my gloved hands. Sadly, I think this was actually more sanitary than had she kissed my bare hands.

  • Constipated patients get used to people asking them about their bowel movements. However, a select few get a little too worked up about their situation. One patient was so happy that he finally had a BM, he very generously saved it for me to examine when I returned the next day. Thanks, buddy.

  • Nurse: Doctor! The patient is in extreme pain! 10/10! I think we should really give him something for his pain
    Doctor: I just went to see the patient, who I am covering for another doctor. He is sleeping soundly and snoring.
    Nurse: Yes, but when he wakes up, he will be in extreme pain!
    Doctor: ...

  • One time, a fellow intern admitted a patient, who soon after admission had a code blue. In this case, the code blue was because the patient had stopped breathing. This could happen to any patient, but it was funny to hear the intern remark "But he was satting 100% on room air when I left..."

  • Patient's reason for admission: I ate a bad plum and then vomitted, but I feel better now
    The hospital's reason for admission: rule out heart attack
    ... what?

  • In general, a quick assessment of mental status is to ask the patient their name, their location, and the date. If they know all three, they are "alert and oriented times 3". However, it's sad when I examine a patient and realize they are more alert and oriented than I am, especially about what day it is.

  • Me: I spoke with Jennifer, the nurse
    Unit clerk: Which Jennifer?
    Me: Uhhh... the one I just spoke with?
    Clerk: We have 4 nurses named Jennifer on this floor: Jennifer C, Jennifer T, Jennifer P and Jennifer J

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  1. Hey, I am an MS3 at a US medical school. I thought this stuff was pretty funny, encapsulating very succinctly the randomness and sheer humor of physician-patient interactions. Stuff I love and love to think about to keep me sane while I go through this.
    Read some other posts on the site, great stuff, keep up the good work -- are you in residency at this point?


  2. Thanks for the comment, audiomosaic. I am 3 months into my transitional year internship, after which I will be doing radiology.

    Nice blog, btw. I was also an economics major in college, and I think it's nice to have that perspective in medicine. Sorry about the diagnosis but I hope all is well with your treatment. Best of luck with medical school!



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