I feel like I've entered a new club. When I'm on call now, I take outside calls. This means that our patients can call the hospital operator after hours and ask us questions or to call in medicine if they are sick. These calls are usually not very exciting and often just involve us giving some simple advice or reassuring someone that they are ok.

But occasionally they get a little more exciting. Like, for instance, a few weeks ago when a lady called in to tell me her husband had been doing some electrical work and hadn't unplugged the washing machine, and when he touched the cord, there was some sort of "explosion" and his eyes had been burning ever since, and she wanted to know what to do.... As if the answer shouldn't be clear by the fact that her question contained the word "explosion" and "burning eyes." I told them they should come on in to the ER.

On Monday night, though, I had a call of a different kind. A patient we had just discharged from the hospital was calling to complain about being in pain and wanted me to call in some pain medicine. Unfortunately, we have lots of patients who in our practice who are addicted to pain medicine. And therefore we have a policy that we NEVER give prescriptions for narcotic pain medicines over the phone. This gentleman, however, wasn't even our patient. We had taken care of him in the hospital, but he does not see us in clinic, yet another reason not to give him any medicine as we also have a policy about that. What I didn't realize, though, is that the reason he had been hospitalized is because he had actually overdosed on pain medicine. But here he was, calling because he needed something for pain.

I politely explained to him first of all that we do not call in pain medicines over the phone, and he should talk to his regular doctor about it in the morning. Then, after he told me who his regular doctor was, I also politely told him that we do not call in medicines for people who are not our patients. Then he told me he didn't have time or the money to go and see his regular doctor, and that I was just trying to make all my money off the hospital. (I'm not really sure what that meant.) I apologized, but stated again that I could not call him in anything.

Then he called me, as well as the rest of the residents, sad sacks of s@!#. Then he hung up.

So now I've entered that club of people who have been cursed out by a patient.

I'm just glad he was alliterative.


Megan said…
So sorry, sad sack of something. Sounds so sick and stupid.

Jeff said…
Welcome to the club. I am really surprised that you've made it this far without being in the club. Not that you deserved to be cussed out but because there are some sorry suffering suckers in the world who are very angry and think nothing of expressing it onto an innocent person trying to help. (How 'bout that alliteration, huh?!)

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