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Study: Doctors Can’t Operate an IV Infusion Pump Even If Life Depended On It

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BALDWIN, NY – A new study in the New England Journal of Alaris (NEJA) confirmed something we knew all along: doctors can’t operate an IV infusion pump for anything, even if their lives depended on it.  Useless.

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“I know!  I’ll hit Silence for the 14th time.  Let’s see if that does it!”

“This isn’t surprising, is it?” asked internal medicine physician Edwin Roberts, his patient’s IV pump beeping just behind him.  “Doctors know it’s true.  Nurses know it’s true.  Doctors won’t admit it and nurses won’t call doctors out on it.  If I can’t figure out a fever, I call ID.  If I can’t fix a broken bone, I call ortho.  If I can’t figure out the Alaris, I call the nurse.”

With no knowledge base on infusion pump management, thanks to a lack of education in medical school and residency, the standard troubleshooting protocol implemented by generations of clueless physicians involves these steps: (1) hit Silence button, (2) make sure the thing is on, (3) make sure it is plugged in, (4) check if the patient’s arm is straight, and (5) give up and hit the Silence button infinitely until someone knowledgeable (nurse) arrives.

GomerBlog spoke with many physicians about this who all admitted that this was true and subsequently hid their faces in shame.

“In medical school, we dissect open a human body and learn the nuances of the Krebs cycle,” said general surgeon Joy Erickson, standing at the bedside completely clueless.  “Yet not a single word on these pumps.  If someone codes, fine, I can manage.  But if this starts beeping, I’m a deer in headlights.  Do they have CME courses on infusion pumps?  Do we have a Rapid Response Alaris Team yet?  And you know who wouldn’t be on that team?  A doctor, that’s for sure.”

Nurses hope this study empowers doctors to learn how to operate an infusion pump and stop living in denial, fear, and incompetency.  In other news, nurses look forward to future studies confirming a similar hypothesis that doctors can’t cycle BP cuffs or operate hospital beds for Pete’s sake.

UPDATE 8:40 PM EST:
GomerBlog has confirmed with numerous MDs that hitting Silence buys them 7 seconds to “promptly exit the room” like a ninja.

UPDATE 9:45 AM EST (03/21/16):
According to Lord Lockwell, the record for most consecutive pushes of the Silence button is 42 by Dr. Doug Adams back in 1979.

UPDATE 10:10 AM EST (03/21/16):
Doktor Schnabel has confirmed with legions of anesthesiologists that “they can operate an IV infusion pump for sh*t,” citing a very simple formula: long surgery + simple Sudoku = kill time by learning IV infusion pumps.

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  • Dr. 99

    First there was Dr. 01, the first robot physician, created to withstand toxic levels of burnout in an increasingly mechanistic and impossibly demanding healthcare field. Dr. 99 builds upon the advances of its ninety-eight predecessors by phasing out all human emotion, innovation, and creativity completely, and focusing solely on pre-programmed protocols and volume-based productivity. In its spare time, Dr. 99 enjoys writing for Gomerblog and listening to Taylor Swift.

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