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Strange Requests In The Emergency Department: Virginity Testing And More

As the country wrestles with the cost of health-care, and as various media outlets address the role of emergency departments, I thought this little guide-might be helpful!  I pulled it out of my archives from several years ago.  Enjoy!

All too often, I discharge a patient and think to myself, What instructions can I give for this? Sometimes there are problems and questions that don’t have obvious solutions or answers. And in these situations, coming up with something useful for the patient to read at home is, to say the least, difficult. I’ve come up with a few based on some of the enigmas I see at Oconee Memorial Hospital.

Virginity evaluation: The emergency physician has not determined the status of your daughter’s virginity. In fact, the emergency physician does not wish to know the status of your daughter’s virginity. Furthermore, this doesn’t constitute an emergency. Unfortunately, no one has so far developed any simple home kits for making this determination. If you do, please notify the emergency department so that we can refer other families to your product. If you wish to know more about your daughter’s sexuality, try talking to her. If you found her naked in bed with a boy, you don’t need us.

Drug use evaluation: The emergency physician has not performed a random drug test on your teenage son. He has no complaints, is not suicidal, and has no apparent medical problem. This is not a family counseling center. If you want to know if he is using drugs, talk to him. Admittedly, he is a surly, unpleasant, disheveled, and foul-mouthed young man, whose multiple piercings make him look like a Stone Age erector set. But finding out if he is using drugs simply doesn’t constitute what we like to call an emergency. If he isn’t using drugs, be certain that repeated trips to the emergency department accompanied by screaming parents will certainly give him good reason to start.

Whole body numbness: It simply isn’t possible to be awake, walking, talking, and functioning and be entirely numb from head to toe. Admittedly, your ability to overcome the sensation of sharp needles and other painful stimuli is impressive, and may herald a future career with the CIA. For now, however, our physician has determined that the one thing likely to be numb on your person is your skull. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

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