If the advice given to you on the previous list of 15 Ways to Confuse, Demoralize, and Frustrate Your Emergency Physician was not sufficient to achieve your patient satisfaction goals, then you are in luck. It turns out there are more methods than just those 15 to knock your caregiver off-guard with your behavior.
Thanks to important research funded by a $2 billion grant from CMS, paid for by nationwide decreases of 1% in reimbursements to hospital-based medical personnel, the following additional guidelines are now available to aid you in your quest to get the care you probably think you deserve.
To take your care to the next level, make sure you follow these simple instructions:
- If you have tattoos, make sure that you scream out in pain and start crying when the nurse tries to stick you for blood or an IV.
- Don’t give up your real complaint when checking in. Clever physicians will be able to work through red herrings to figure out the real problem. Don’t skimp on this part: this is an important test for the clinical competency of your doctor. For example, if you really have chest pain, complain of a mouth sore and make chest pain your fourth or fifth complaint. Better yet: wait for the review of systems before bringing it up.
- Play up benign symptoms and downplay really concerning ones at the end. An example is the following: “I have had this really painful tweaking sensation in my left pinky for the last 6 months. It’s so bad I can’t sleep. I’ve seen seven different specialists and taken everything you can possibly think of for this pain and it just won’t get better. It’s only there when I get chest pain and then pass out or when I get these spells of slurred speech, right-sided weakness, right eye blindness, and vertigo.”
- Complain of “spittin’ up blood.” Refuse to elaborate if this means vomiting or coughing.
- If you are watching TV, make sure it is set to a medical show like ER or Dr. Oz. Make sure it stays on real loudly while your doctor is trying to speak with you. Ask him/her questions about something you saw in the show.
- Complain of allergies that make absolutely no sense such as to water, wall oxygen, or plastic tubing.
- Complain of pain scales that demonstrate a surprising level of advanced intelligence. For instance, make the numerator of your pain scale a large scientific constant such as Avogadro’s number. Trust me, if you complain of (6.022 x 10^23)/10 pain, you will get noticed.
- Squint disapprovingly at the doctor when he/she is trying to talk to you, especially about something obvious and mundane like the weather outside or whether or not you need to get blood drawn for your complaint of weakness.
- Insist that your legs are swollen when they are just fine.
- Answer yes to every review of systems question. At the end of the encounter, insist on an explanation for each abnormal system. Don’t take no for an answer. Phrasing like, “So what are you going to do about those problems with my lymph system?” is helpful.
- Pour Mountain Dew into a urine specimen cup. Drink it from the cup as you doctor is walking in.
- Ask for a “menu” when you check into triage. When they don’t bring you one, ask to speak to “the manager.”
- Start every RN and physician encounter with the phrase, “It’s probably just my fibromyalgia, but…”
If you have no medical background, pick up a copy of a medical journal like JAMA, NEJM, or Annals of Emergency Medicine and read it as the doctor is walking in.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the author’s website First World Emergency Medicine for other great articles.