24-year-old Jimmy Cliff came to University Hospital today for his elective hernia repair, and during the pre-operative interview with the anesthesiologist, he did something that previously was only described in medical textbooks: he was honest about his weekly alcohol intake.
Anesthesiologist Cory Dickerson asked Cliff, “How many beers do you drink in a week?” and Cliff’s response was, “I don’t know, a hundred.” Dickerson’s surprised gasp then had Cliff reconsider and say “Ok ok, how about six?”
Dickerson non-judgmentally said, “I’m not judging, but I need to know how much you really drink because it affects what I do while you’re asleep.” Cliff then returned to his original estimate of more than nine gallons of beer a week.
Launching into the CAGE questions, Dickerson found that yes, Cliff gets angry when people ask him to reduce his drinking, and he drinks in the mornings, but hasn’t felt guilty or wanted to cut down because he likes the taste.
Alarmed, Dickerson called John Walker, the surgeon on the case, and asked if he wanted to cancel in light of the patient’s flagrant alcohol problem. Walker said, “That hernia won’t fix itself, and my boat needs a new drive shaft. Better get going before he seizes.”
The operation was a success, and Cliff was discharged home in shaky condition.