The Difference Between a Medicine Service and a Garbage Dump

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Today we explore a new set of entities that often get mistaken for one another: a garbage dump and a medicine service.  Let’s begin!!!


A garbage dump is also known as a dump, landfill, or dumping ground, and is the most common way for people to dispose of waste in most places around the world.  A medicine service is also known as a dumping ground, and is the most common way for subspecialists to dispose of patients in most places around modern healthcare.

Anyone – man, woman, adult, and child – can throw garbage into a garbage dump.  Anyone – cardiology, radiology, dermatology, and surgery – can throw patients onto a medicine service: you don’t even need to have any medical problems.

A garbage dump contains trash (garbage or waste) and rocks (naturally occurring aggregates of one or more minerals or mineraloids).  A medicine service also contains trash (drug seekers and malingerers) and rocks (naturally occurring aggregates of one or more conditions or social scenarios that is impossible to discharge).

A garbage dump is full of crap.  A medicine service is tired of crap.

Though dump trucks dump garbage into garbage dumps, subspecialists dump patients onto a medicine service.  Approaching dump trucks in reverse are best identified by their loud, annoying, high-pitched beeps (“BEEP… BEEP… BEEP!”).  Approaching subspecialists who are rather forward at times are best identified by their loud, annoying, high-pitched pleasantries (“Hey, how are you today?!  Yeah, whatever, can I put this patient on medicine?”).

Dump at a garbage dump is inspected upon arrival, in case something is found that is inappropriate for the garbage dump; it should be placed elsewhere.  A dump onto a medicine service is not inspected upon arrival, as it is always deemed appropriate for a medicine service even if it is totally inappropriate; it should not be placed elsewhere, especially on a subspecialty service, because that is what a medicine service is for.

A garbage dump can smell pretty bad, but it just doesn’t reek of fresh melena, purulent discharge, and C. diff like a good ole medicine service.  A garbage dump is covered daily with soil (by choice).  A medicine service is covered daily with stool, urine, saliva, blood, MRSA, paperwork, and complaints (not by choice).  Waste compaction at a garbage dump is good.  Bowel disimpaction on a medicine service is bad.  A garbage dump produces greenhouse gases from the decay of its waste.  A medicine service produces angst and burnout from the decay of its morale.

At some point eventually, a garbage dump reaches capacity and can’t take any more garbage.  Not a medicine service.  A medicine service is never at capacity, even when it’s at capacity, because it can never say “No.”  At a garbage dump, the dumping eventually ends.  But on a medicine service, the dumping never stops.

Now, do you know the difference between…
a medical student and a deer in headlights?
arthropods & orthopods?
medical students & residents?
RICE & rice?
white clouds & black clouds?

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