ARLINGTON, VA – 32-year-old patient George Hightower rolled his ankle playing basketball this Saturday afternoon. He went to the ER only after much persuasion from friends to make sure it wasn’t broken. Sitting in the waiting room he noticed people arriving after him were being seen. Watching dozens of old men “cut in line,” he complained to the receptionist that he’s been waiting for over three hours.
Ms. Nelson informed him that there was a priority list for patients with chest pain. Moments later George had an idea and upgraded his chief complaint to “crushing substernal chest pain.” “I heard a few docs use the term substernal chest pain when they went to see patients, so I thought that must be a good term to use,” said Hightower. He then added “feels like an elephant sitting on me” for bonus points.
Hightower was immediately fast tracked and seen by an emergency medicine physician. When visiting with the EM physician, Hightower claimed to have recovered from his chest pain and wanted to focus more on his foot. X-ray was negative and he was discharged home.