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The Case Of The Lost Pager: A New Kind Of Medical Error?

It happens to every doctor at some time in their busy career: the missing pager. Usually, discovering the locale of the digital disrupter is quite simple: you simply page yourself provided, of course, that the contraption is not on “vibrate” mode.

And so it was with me some time ago.

The scene was a familiar one: rushing off to work, heading out the door while contemplating the upcoming caseload of the day with my mind wandering off to great medical thoughts when, suddenly, I reached to my hip to find that I had forgotten my pager.


So back to the house I go and scramble for the telephone. My wife, hearing the door opening calls back from upstairs: “Something wrong, dear?”

“No, just forgot my *@#$&#*& pager. No biggie.”

So I called the paging number and waited. (Why it takes so long for electrons to travel to space and back is beyond me.) Some time later I heard in the distance:

* Bleeep, bleeep, bleeep *

“Whew,” I thought, “at least it’s not on vibrate mode.”

I turned and proceeded to the bedroom, ready to corner my prey. I looked and looked and still, no pager.

So I paged it again. Fingers tapping and frustration growing, I wait. Finally:

* Bleeep bleeep bleeep *

“Shoot, it’s in the other room,” I think. “No wonder.” So I proceed to the office accross from my bedroom, sure I’d find the little bugger on the desk beneath some papers. So I move everything in sight. Under here? Nope. How about here? Nope. Oh, COME ON! Where can that stupid thing be. I retrace my steps, check my pockets, my waist band, pull out my car keys just to make sure it’s not hiding with them: nothing. So I page again.

* Bleeep bleeep bleeep *

There you go! It’s not in the bedroom or the office, it’s in the hall! Probably fell off my pants. Or maybe it’s in the laundry hamper… Clothes removed, checked, piles quickly scanned: still nothing.

By now I feel my temperature rising. How can I be this thick-headed? Five more pages, fifteen more “bleeeps,” and back and forth from room to room, all with the same result.

And then it dawns on me….

Could it be?….

There, right smack dab in the middle of the back of my waistband it hung, well out of way of my usual reach as it dutifully bleeped and projected its sound to the room that was always behind me.


Stupid is as stupid does, I suppose. (I guess it could have been worse.)

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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One Response to “The Case Of The Lost Pager: A New Kind Of Medical Error?”

  1. FancyScrubs says:

    Could have a 2nd one in case of it getting lost against? One at home and one at the office?

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