doctor updating

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?”

It 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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  • Dr. Feelgood

    Dr. Feelgood is a neurosurgeon in training who makes his patients feel good with some Colombian bam-bam and subsequently clips their ruptured aneurysms. Post op, he makes every one feel alright with the IV hydromorphone and by of course reading his Gomerblog articles and personal blog. He also plays recordings of his college band for patient's and their families in hopes that one of them will encourage him to quit and "get the guys back together." Sadly, this hasn't happened yet.

  • Show Comments

  • Avatar
    Nicholas Lopez

    So very true

  • Avatar
    Leah Brown

    Very good point.

  • Avatar
    Tina Edwards

    Nailed it!

  • Avatar
    Catherine Carter

    Neurosurgery. I cried giggling. Nursing was pretty on point too

  • Avatar
    Kristi MacKenzie Isrow

    Oncology ICU… your loved one is cancer free! But the sepsis is keeping them On the vent, pressors, CRRT…

  • Avatar
    Danny Meiklejohn

    Who needs results. More fun guessing.

  • Avatar
    Hayley Carmichael

    Mercedes Ray

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    Jessica McCartney

    In all seriousness, I’ve learned to be a little more specific with my family updates. To me, in the ICU “stable” means s/he still has a pulse, BP wasn’t dangerously high or low, s/he required no emergent procedures/scans, and no new organs are failing. I’m making no predictions about long-term prognosis. To a family, stable can mean “s/he is getting better and will pull through this just fine.” Amazing the communication gap that can exist between us and our families!

  • Avatar
    Imogen Pryer

    Fave: Psych – You’re probably not going to kill yourself or anyone else.

  • Avatar
    Kara Couch

    Keith Kowalczyk, Amarin Sangkharat, Scott Wagner

  • Avatar
    Rummi Babbra
  • Avatar
    Terry N Teresa Rolan

    Aspirin levels! :) Ruthanna!

  • Avatar
    Becky Hollibaugh

    Hmm family medicine wasn’t included, but it made me laugh anyway.

  • Avatar
    Tessa Kankelfritz

    Sherry Sherry Randy Parker

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    David Andrew

    They are breathing unasissted, so they are stable.

  • Avatar
    Barbara Lawrence

    “Doing well” to a surgeon: “The incision looks great!”

  • Avatar
    Helen Mei Legg

    James Rachel Patiya

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    Adrian Miclea

    Bruh!

  • Avatar
    Marehan Nakhnoukh

    Catherine Boutros Salima Hasham

  • Avatar
    Ryan Urbonas

    Said as a neurosurgeon married to a hepatobiliary surgeon

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    Ryan Urbonas

    Family: So how is s/he doing (overall)?
    Surgeon: S/he is doing fine (re: to surgery)
    Family: Is s/he going to make it (survive the disease)?
    Surgeon: Of course, s/he is going to do just fine (survive the surgery)

  • Avatar
    Miona Milutinov

    Sam Spalding psych and urology are my fav bahahaha and internal! so funny!!

  • Avatar
    Sam Spalding

    Miona hahaha oncology is so accurate! And so is peds and psych lol

  • Avatar
    Michelle Jackson

    Jamie Kirby Lynch oncology

  • Avatar
    Lauren Solhjoo Elder

    Family medicine: they made all your inpatient problems NEW outpatient problems by changing every single medication to something not covered under insurance.

  • Avatar
    Ginny Bowbrick

    Funny Rupert Spencer….I like the Nurse one the most!!

  • Avatar
    Farah Nasraty

    Allison Hunter get ready for that Ortho life, bruh

  • Avatar
    Velia Cardenas

    OR: yup, everything’s fine, call you back in two hours for another vague update.

  • Avatar
    Emily Carolyn Houston
  • Avatar
    Becky Brown

    MICU: You are still dying, but probably not today so congratulations

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    Robert L. Bettiker

    The infectious diseases statement will be made by me multiple times today.

  • Avatar
    Natasha Adams

    Katherine Raile Sonia Mohrlang

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    Patrick Grizzly Campbell

    “Orthopedic Surgery
    Your post op films look @#$*ing awesome bruh.”

    Guilty as charged… :-D

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    The Ob/Gyn one is spot on.

  • Avatar
    Bob Sammon

    My favorite:

    Internal Medicine

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

  • Avatar
    Lauren Kidd

    Nephrology: oh you’re 96 yo w seven comorbid conditions? Lets get started with dialysis.

  • Avatar
    Rupert Spencer

    Haha ortho. Ginny Bowbrick

  • Avatar
    Angie Stratton

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

  • Avatar
    Scott Anderson

    Radiology: looks normal, but cannot rule out clot, cancer, infection, death…

  • Avatar
    John Liu

    Pathology:

    Wait… what? You’re still alive? That doesn’t happen often in this department. Please correlate with clinical findings.

  • Avatar
    Heather Harris

    Just when I think gomerblog can’t get any better…

  • Avatar
    Marie Mahler

    Hysterical with a morsel
    Of truth!

  • Avatar
    Jake McCoy

    just keep peein’, man

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