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Physician Exasperation From Around The Blogosphere

Some bloggers’ clinical vignettes speak volumes about why doctors are exasperated with their day-to-day work lives. Here are a few good ones:

From White Coat Rants:

A patient from a nursing home was transferred by ambulance to our ED with the following chief complaint:

Mental status changes not responsive to albuterol [an asthma puffer].

Of course now we’re stuck trying to figure out how much this patient’s mental status has actually changed. I never could figure out how in the heck nursing homes can determine that an essentially non-verbal patient is having a mental status change. She sat in the bed, watched me walk around the room and smiled. So was she blinking less, or what?

I was waiting patiently on the next ambulance run for a patient with nasal congestion unresponsive to Ex-Lax.

From Ten out of Ten‘s Medical Jeopardy:

Answer: Massive Diarrhea

Question: What is the end result of eating nothing but beans and peaches all day?

People are so weird.

From Musings of a Dinosaur’s Anything Else?:

The perils of the open-ended question in a new patient interview:

Me: Tell me about your health.

Patient: I have hypertension and a little arthritis in my knees.

M: Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: What medications do you take?

[presenting bag full of bottles, we find:]








M: Why do you take the Zoloft and Ativan?

P: Oh, the Zoloft is for anxiety and the Ativan helps me sleep.

M: Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: What about this Lipitor?

P: Oh, I stopped that about three years ago. It’s just for people who eat a lot of fat in their diet. I don’t think I need it.

M: Ok. When did you last have blood work done?

P: About four years ago.

M: And when did you last see a doctor?

P: About four years ago.

M: Any other medical problems?

P: No, that’s all.

M: Are you allergic to any medicines?

P: I get a rash with penicillin, and oh yeah! I have this weird rash that comes and goes. I’ve seen all the specialists downtown and no one knows what it is.

M: Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: Anything run in the family?

P: My brother had a heart attack when he was 42, and oh yeah! I have a 30% blockage.

M: When did you find this out?

P: About four years ago.

M: Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: Do you need any of these meds refilled?

P: Just the Celebrex.

M: Most of these other bottles also say “no refill” on them.

P: Oh, I have more at home. I just dumped them out and brought the bottles.

M: How much more do you have at home?

P: About two weeks.

M: How about if I write refills for all of them.

P: Ok.

M: Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: Can I do some blood work on you today?

P: Sure. Oh, and I see a cardiologist, rheumatologist and orthopedist too. Can you send copies to them?

M: No problem.

Anything else?

P: No, that’s all.

M: Are you sure?

P: Yes.

Do you know why dinosaurs have no hair? It’s because I pulled it all out this morning.

We really do need a common, interoperable medical record system.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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One Response to “Physician Exasperation From Around The Blogosphere”

  1. Dr. Wes says:

    I’m not sure I’ve seen a better example of why personal health records will fail to protect patients than that exemplified by Dino’s writing.  EMR maybe, but a PHR, unfortunately, will never suffice.

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