What Your Doctor or Nurse Means When They Say Your Loved One is “Doing Well,” Sorted by Medical Specialty

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The devil is in the details and, for patients and family members, those details can be hard to squeeze out of those shifty doctors as they Houdini in and out of your room.  Often times, people are told that their loved one is “doing well, no new updates.”  While no news can be good news, how do these doctors define “well?”

doctor updatingIt turns out that it greatly depends on your physician’s specialty.  This list serves as a guide for patients and their families to better determine what “well” means and get a better sense of how low their doc’s bar has sunk.  Hopefully, this will improve patient-doctor communications as well as Press Ganey scores.


Anesthesiology

You didn’t die during surgery, congrats!

Cardiology

We already did the cath, what else is there to talk about?

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Just kidding, they’re not doing well at all.

Emergency Medicine

If we’re giving this kind of update that means that you’ve been down here too long and you need to either die, get admitted, or go home, like 20 minutes ago.

General Surgery

Waiting on you to eat and poop more so you can go home or so help us we’ll lap you again!

GI

Solids in and solids out are proportionate and all orifices have been sufficiently scoped.

Internal Medicine

Yo, we just made your inpatient problems, outpatient problems (drops clipboard).

Infectious Disease

Your rip-roaring infection is actually susceptible to antibiotics which we recommended in our note.  We are going to go away now.

MICU

See cardiothoracic surgery above.

Neurosurgery

While pinching Grandma’s pectoralis muscle, she grabbed our hand, showing that there is more going on than just brainstem reflexes.  Happy Monday!

Neurology

Aspirin levels are optimal.

Nursing

No poo was flung, call buttons weren’t pressed every 15 minutes, and their IV is flowing without kinks or air bubbles.  Dilaudid dispensing was minimal.

OB/GYN

The baby is out, your rectum and vagina remain two separate entities and you’re not exsanguinating from either.

Oncology

Hey, we’re all dying of something but you know what?  You’re doing normal human things and will continue to do so for a while yet and that makes us happy.

Orthopedic Surgery

Your post-op films look @#$*ing awesome, bruh.

Pediatrics

Following growth chart, immunizations up to date, car seat fits well, appetite is good, developing within range, all other checkboxes satisfactory…

Psychiatry

You’re probably not going to kill yourself or anyone else.

Respiratory Therapists

Sputum production is decreasing after blowing out a huge loogie.

Urology

Things look good… Whoops I mean things were hard but they’re looking up… No no no just stay hydrated you’re fine.

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