emergency physician

15 Ways to Confuse, Demoralize, and Frustrate Your Emergency Physician

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When you are a patient in a busy ED, getting your doctor’s best effort in caring for you can be difficult.  Most ED physicians only have a couple of minutes to obtain their history and physical exam.  It is increasingly important for you to stand out from the crowd by making the ED physician as confused and uncomfortable as possible so that they may give you their full and undivided attention and minimize the risk of medical errors.

emergency physicianSimply follow these 15 guidelines to ensure that your ED physician will experience some combination of bafflement, frustration, and anxiety.  Soon, you will be well on your way to mistake-free treatment bliss:

  • Complain of feeling “dizzy.”  When asked to clarify, state that you are “lightheaded.”  When asked to further clarify, state you are “dizzy.”  Continue in this manner until your physician gives up and admits you.
  • When asked if you smoke, state “No.”  When asked if you previously smoked, say “Yes.”  When asked when you quit, say “30 minutes ago.”
  • Describe the time course of all of your complaints as “a good while.”  Refuse to elaborate.
  • Insist on always being given regular strength Tylenol for your chronic pain.  Refuse everything else.
  • Place a sufficient amount of your non-edible belongings in a fast food bag.  Then check in with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting while conspicuously holding the bag.
  • If you are female, complain of pelvic pain.  Refuse a pelvic exam.  Insist on a rectal exam.
  • Ask your attending emergency physician what they plan on specializing in when they finish their training.
  • Complain of having so much diarrhea for the last 2 days that you couldn’t even get off the toilet long enough to fill a glass with water.  While in the ER, be unable to provide a stool sample no matter how long you are there.  Get mad when you don’t have a diagnosis for your diarrhea.
  • Have a friend open a laptop or tablet to “healthgrades.com.”  Make it obvious that the doctor can see the screen.  Have your friend ask the doctor to repeat his or her name and type it into the form.  Occasionally during the interview, have your friend look at the doctor, sigh, and start typing.
  • Insist you have an allergy to a random antibiotic stating the allergy is that you are uncomfortable around pink, white, and brown pills.
  • Check in with altered mental status and lethargy.  Have friends confirm you are not at baseline.  Allow the entire physical exam to occur while acting sleepy, refusing to talk, or follow commands.  When the doctor is walking out the door, ask politely if you could have a turkey sandwich.
  • Insist on being admitted to a non-private room.  Demand a roommate who is at least 5’9″, has black hair, weighs between 200 and 230 lbs, has brown eyes and a penchant for rice cakes.
  • Put some chocolate pudding into a sterile emesis basin.  Place the basin inside an empty bedside commode.  Proceed to eat the pudding out of the commode as your doctor is walking in.
  • Insist on having your physician call each specialist who cares for you for your various conditions.  Insist that a physician admit you for a condition outside of their specialty.
  • Complain of chest pain.  When asked where your pain is, point to your groin.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out the author’s website First World Emergency Medicine for other great articles.

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  • Show Comments

  • Avatar
    Maria Rolon

    “What’s that medication that starts with d…de..di…??”

  • Avatar
    Maria Rolon

    “What’s that medication that starts with d…de..di…??”

  • Avatar
    Maria Rolon

    “What’s that medication that starts with d…de..di…??”

  • Avatar
    Cassandra Williams

    So that’s why we hospitalists then get people that don’t need to be admitted!!

  • Avatar
    Cassandra Williams

    So that’s why we hospitalists then get people that don’t need to be admitted!!

  • Avatar
    Cassandra Williams

    So that’s why we hospitalists then get people that don’t need to be admitted!!

  • Avatar
    Jeanette Winn

    Hahaha all the time!!

  • Avatar
    Jeanette Winn

    Hahaha all the time!!

  • Avatar
    Jeanette Winn

    Hahaha all the time!!

  • Avatar
    Christopher Vietti

    “I’m allergic to toradol, codeine, and tramadol, but dilaudid works well.”

  • Avatar
    Christopher Vietti

    “I’m allergic to toradol, codeine, and tramadol, but dilaudid works well.”

  • Avatar
    Christopher Vietti

    “I’m allergic to toradol, codeine, and tramadol, but dilaudid works well.”

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    These people exist in very large numbers, and take up a huge portion of our days.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    These people exist in very large numbers, and take up a huge portion of our days.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    These people exist in very large numbers, and take up a huge portion of our days.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    “Hey, can I get a refill on my [controlled substance of choice]?” Has nothing to do with their chief complaint.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    “Hey, can I get a refill on my [controlled substance of choice]?” Has nothing to do with their chief complaint.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    “Hey, can I get a refill on my [controlled substance of choice]?” Has nothing to do with their chief complaint.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Most of these are 99% of my patients! A couple I’ve never seen/heard, like chocolate pudding in the commode.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Most of these are 99% of my patients! A couple I’ve never seen/heard, like chocolate pudding in the commode.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Most of these are 99% of my patients! A couple I’ve never seen/heard, like chocolate pudding in the commode.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Or your “allergy” list.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Or your “allergy” list.

  • Avatar
    Justin Hamlin

    Or your “allergy” list.

  • Avatar
    Susan Gannon

    They try very hard and I respect them.

  • Avatar
    Susan Gannon

    They try very hard and I respect them.

  • Avatar
    Susan Gannon

    They try very hard and I respect them.

  • Avatar
    Skylar Robaczewski

    Tug Spano

  • Avatar
    Skylar Robaczewski

    Tug Spano

  • Avatar
    Skylar Robaczewski

    Tug Spano

  • Avatar
    Debbie Darmento

    Carrie

  • Avatar
    Debbie Darmento

    Carrie

  • Avatar
    Debbie Darmento

    Carrie

  • Avatar
    Judy Ekkelenkamp

    No even funny, on so many levels.

  • Avatar
    Judy Ekkelenkamp

    No even funny, on so many levels.

  • Avatar
    Judy Ekkelenkamp

    No even funny, on so many levels.

  • Avatar
    Michele Matos Jackson

    Lmao!!! That is awesome!!! Love the last two!

  • Avatar
    Michele Matos Jackson

    Lmao!!! That is awesome!!! Love the last two!

  • Avatar
    Michele Matos Jackson

    Lmao!!! That is awesome!!! Love the last two!

  • Avatar
    Dustin Blaine Brownfield

    Jamie

  • Avatar
    Dustin Blaine Brownfield

    Jamie

  • Avatar
    Dustin Blaine Brownfield

    Jamie

  • Avatar
    Nicole Talbot

    Omg. Michele Matos Jackson

  • Avatar
    Nicole Talbot

    Omg. Michele Matos Jackson

  • Avatar
    Nicole Talbot

    Omg. Michele Matos Jackson

  • Avatar
    T.j. Byrne

    Classic!!

  • Avatar
    T.j. Byrne

    Classic!!

  • Avatar
    T.j. Byrne

    Classic!!

  • Avatar
    Kim Yeargin

    Lately, I’d be up for a boring shift! These are funny.

  • Avatar
    Kim Yeargin

    Lately, I’d be up for a boring shift! These are funny.

  • Avatar
    Kim Yeargin

    Lately, I’d be up for a boring shift! These are funny.

  • Avatar
    Crystal Nixon

    Michelle Stone, Kim Yeargin, Adam Haughey some of these would make your shift a lot more interesting!

  • Avatar
    Crystal Nixon

    Michelle Stone, Kim Yeargin, Adam Haughey some of these would make your shift a lot more interesting!

  • Avatar
    Crystal Nixon

    Michelle Stone, Kim Yeargin, Adam Haughey some of these would make your shift a lot more interesting!

  • Avatar
    Adriana Sikyta

    OMG yes! Nothing wants to make me start pounding my head on the door frame more! It usually is presented as “But what about my….”

  • Avatar
    Adriana Sikyta

    OMG yes! Nothing wants to make me start pounding my head on the door frame more! It usually is presented as “But what about my….”

  • Avatar
    Adriana Sikyta

    OMG yes! Nothing wants to make me start pounding my head on the door frame more! It usually is presented as “But what about my….”

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    L Boogie Smith

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    L Boogie Smith

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    L Boogie Smith

  • Avatar
    Leanna Rae Bailey

    Crystal Laird

  • Avatar
    Cory Thompson

    What brings you in today? “I don’t know, that’s why I’m here.”

  • Avatar
    Cory Thompson

    What brings you in today? “I don’t know, that’s why I’m here.”

  • Avatar
    Cory Thompson

    What brings you in today? “I don’t know, that’s why I’m here.”

  • Avatar
    Mandy DeWitt

    I can’t believe these people actually exist! Medical professionals must be saints to deal with this on a daily basis.

  • Avatar
    Chris Morrison

    At the end of the encounter, when the doctor is going over the results and discharge instructions, bring up three new and previously unmentioned complaints.

  • Avatar
    James A. Weathers

    These are great ideas…………….can’t wait to use them on my niece…..the next time I see her……..it’s a surprise………..10 minutes a way! Shhhhhhh, don’t tell her! Just bought the chocolate pudding…..hahaahah!

  • Avatar
    Caroline Okemwa

    Hilarious..

  • Avatar
    Amy Foster Collins

    You really shouldn’t be giving John and Betty Public any more ideas. They are obnoxious enough already.

  • Avatar
    Kate McLean

    Steven McLean

  • Avatar
    Jacqueline Finneran

    Made me giggle

  • Avatar
    Stacey Maddox

    Got dinged on that one in med school.

  • Avatar
    William Leon

    Nice…..

  • Avatar
    Phil Petty

    In 3…2..1…go…

  • Avatar
    Hope Wright

    I swear, 90% of kids become instantly better!!!! Seriously, wth is with that???

  • Avatar
    Jaime Anderson

    This is class. Just wrote a rant then thought better of it and deleted it lol. deja vu from our conversation last night ;) x

  • Avatar
    Marc Andrew Johnson

    I was laughing a lot wile reading this haha

  • Avatar
    Lynn Adami Verlander

    Triage nurses love these patients, too.

  • Avatar
    Sharon Rosser

    I think this is my favorite one yet! Very much covers the spectrum ……of disease!

  • Avatar
    Jean-Simon Lalancette

    Xavier Paré Marc-André Morin Michel Ménassa

  • Avatar
    Tamara Saynapa Mullins

    Stan Morris

  • Avatar
    Michael Broderick

    Kayla Checkovich

  • Avatar
    Angela Evans Meadows

    Karen Roe, you must read this.

  • Avatar
    Dondi Harkreader

    Tell them you “passed out”, and when they ask how long, tell them you’ll let them know when you wake up.

  • Avatar
    Poppi Rodriguez-Webb

    Say.. I’ve been seen in 5 different ERs for this and “no one has done anything”.
    Say your toddler hasn’t had ANYTHING to eat or drink for 5 days. (Me: NOTHING? Not one drop of fluids?) is he urinating? Mom: uh, yeah.

  • Avatar
    Adrian Miclea

    I’ve said it before…. You’re my inspiration.

  • Avatar
    Bryan Johnson

    LMFAO

  • Avatar
    Lisa Pennington

    Or refuses to give himself lovenox because he can’t stand the thought of needles.

  • Avatar
    Lindia Stein

    Bwah ha ha ha ha!!!!

  • Avatar
    Kate Cake Johnson

    Do that and you might be lucky enough to score a trainee nurse for your IV lines :P

  • Avatar
    Scott Geiger

    I swear my patients got together and wrote this.

  • Avatar
    David Johnson

    I’m going to give a few a go next time.

  • Avatar
    Kate Cake Johnson

    I appreciate the antibiotic allergy – to brown, white or pink pills :)

  • Avatar
    David Johnson

    Sharon Johnson Kate Cake Johnson

  • Avatar
    Pulkit Saxena

    Shashank Upadhyay, William Garcia, Christina Ennabi

  • Avatar
    Alayna Rastogi

    OK the diarreah thing actually happened to me when I retuned from India. By the time I felt sick enough to go in it had stopped. Lol

  • Avatar
    Christine Dixon Iannazzo

    Had a patient say that he was on a sabbatical from drinking and smoking. lol He had quit both 3 weeks prior, was ESRD.

  • Avatar
    Alayna Rastogi

    I love this.

  • Avatar
    Prateek Sehgal

    Say you have no past medical history while your medication list is as long as your arm

  • Avatar
    Raza S

    Bill

  • Avatar
    Terry N Teresa Rolan

    Numbers 1 “dizzy” and 3 ” a good while” are daily occurances for me in neurology.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Ellis

    Needle phobias also go for tattoo-sleeved-out patients.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Ellis

    State you have a history of IV drug abuse but refuse a blood draw due to a needle phobia.

  • Avatar
    Joel Robert

    I may have to print this out and leave a few copies in the ERr on my next shift.

  • Avatar
    Jane Sutherland

    Helen Laurence!

  • Avatar
    Jessie Daniel

    Jason Skinner Brent Ryals…sounds about right!

  • Avatar
    Greg Eck

    Matt Davis Matthew Gokey

  • Avatar
    Greg Eck

    Wes Hunter

  • Avatar
    Shanna Pellillo Creighton

    William Leon Kirstie Fults Dixon Pat Roberts Stotts Warren Stoffey

  • Avatar
    Max Mueller

    What about the “non-stop” vomiting and diarrhea over the 2 last days? None while in ER. Or the “lethargic” 2 year old running around the room??

  • Avatar
    Tabitha Schafer

    Phillip

  • Avatar
    Brendan Flanders

    This article is so true Matthew Sammells

  • Avatar
    Matthew Sammells

    Brendan Flanders

  • Avatar
    Betty Jordan Wilson

    That’s a little over the top

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Kirsch

    Max Olesevich

  • Avatar
    Christopher Blewett

    Tell him the scribes have all gone home

  • Avatar
    Alexander Lyudin

    This is one of the best articles I have read by Gamerblog. Definetly in my top 20 articles

  • Avatar
    Jeff Guest

    WTF is wrong with people…. too many imbeciles in the world. I know its against EMTALA, but some people should be turned away.

  • Avatar
    Ray Lane

    I looked it up on WebMD/GOOGLE totally should have made the list….

  • Avatar
    Keith Hill

    Matt Cline

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Bein Rowlinson

    Ok supposed to be satire. But the smoking and diarrhea examples happen at least every other day!

  • Avatar
    Geoff Froehlich

    This says today’s date on top but I swear people have been reading and following this post for years

  • Avatar
    Robin Fahringer Mitchell Machajewski

    LOL! So true! The “I quit smoking 30 minutes ago” one is WAAAY too common – and they are SERIOUS!

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