It was a very busy weekend afternoon in the ED when a city bus accident occurred. What a disaster. Rarely is anyone really injured but everyone on board almost always winds up coming into the ED. The city encourages it so things can be documented and people are like “Cha-Ching!”, lawsuit! So, this particular time, about 5 people were brought in on back boards (we were lucky to get so few!) As the 3rd year resident started interviewing them one at a time (since all were stable and ambulatory (walking) at the scene), one of the patients said, “Hey Doc, that guy over there was not even on the bus at the time of the accident! He jumped on board afterwards and started complaining of back and neck pain!” The resident could have gone over and confronted him angrily (who would blame him) but instead chose a different approach. He calmly went through all the other backboarded patients, clearing them all clinically out of their cervical collars. He simply ignored the man suffering from “Allstate-itis”. The funny thing is that 2 hours went by and everyone just ignored him (although I think he was triaged at some point – damn EMTALA). All manner of stuff was going on around him. His stretcher was parked right next to the nursing station yet it was like he did not exist! Finally, the guy called the resident over and said, “Hey Doc, isn’t someone going to check me out and do x-rays?” He replied, “Well, you weren’t even on the bus so in my mind, you are already checked out!” Knowing the jig was up, the man sat up, took his C-collar off, and left the ER. I guess he was thinking, “Oh well, maybe next time I’ll hit the jackpot!”
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.