medical pager

Tips: How to Treat a Pager That Keeps Going Off Like It Has Seizures

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Sadly, despite all the technological advances we’ve made, a good portion of health care professionals still carry an object as archaic and arguably less useful than an abacus: a pager (also known as the Grim Beeper).  One of the consequences of carrying a pager is pager fatigue: when a pager goes off so frequently it is causes burnout, PTSD, and even death.  Is there a way to treat a pager seizing with activity i.e. pager seizures?  Yes, and here’s how.

Seven Blunders pager seizures
Click to enlarge

Start with 2 mg of Ativan.  A seizing pager is dramatic for both the pager and the health care professional carrying it.  Try to nip it in the bud with 2 mg of Ativan before it goes into full-blown status epilepticus.  Feel free to repeat as often as needed, or just place it next to your Ativan diffuser.

Obtain CT pager to rule out acute process.  Consider that the pager’s seizure is secondary to a tumor or stroke.  Obtain a stat CT of the pager to start off the decision tree.  If the CT pager is negative, read on.

Rule out hypoglycemia.  Your pager may simply be running low on sugar and needs some juice: a new battery.

Rule out alcohol withdrawal.  Is your pager a raging alcoholic?  Go through your CAGE questionnaire.  Keep in mind the pager, like patients, tends to underreport its drinking tendencies.  If there is any doubt, use more Ativan or even start a longer-acting benzodiazepine like Librium.

Start Keppra.  Keppra (levetiracetam) is an antiepileptic drug that can help keep those seizures at bay.  Works well in both humans and electronic devices.

Is the pager still seizing with activity?  Holy snikes, your pager really just needs to shut the f**k up.  Use whatever you can: midazolam, fentanyl, even propofol.  Shove a breathing tube down its throat to stop it making all that noise.  God, that’s thing is so damn annoying.

Still won’t shut up?  F**k it.  Just take out the battery.  As an added layer of safety, destroy it with a sledgehammer.

Heave pager into the ocean.  If you don’t have a nearby body of water, don’t worry: tossing it from the rooftop of your hospital should work just fine.  Make sure you have an adequate wind-up so that it launches as far away as possible as fast as humanly possible.

Congratulations!  You’ve fixed your pager!  Don’t you feel better now?

  • 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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