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    Forward-Time Is Backwards-Progress

    | USA | Coworkers, Lazy/Unhelpful, Technology

    (I am a hospital lab scientist. During morning runs, the engineering department is running a generator test. Nurses send us lab samples through a pneumatic tube system in the walls; however, this is not on generator power as it is not essential to hospital operations. The generator test is scheduled to start at 4:00. At 3:50, there is a PA announcement to not put anything in the tube system, because anything in there when the generator test starts will not be able to get to its destination until full power is restored at 5:30. I get a phone call from a nurse at about 5:15.)

    Nurse: “Hi. I sent down some labs at 3:45, and I haven’t seen results, so I was wondering what’s happened.”

    Me: “I’m sorry about that. Let me see if I can see what happened. What patient and what labs did you send?”

    (She lists off some labs, one of which is EXTREMELY time sensitive. Because of that, they are always run immediately after arriving in the lab. I search around the lab for a bit before realizing that the samples are not in our computer system.)

    Me: “I am sorry. It seems that we haven’t received those samples yet.”

    Nurse: “Well, I sent them a long time ago.”

    Me: “Let me go check something.”

    (I go talk to our lab assistant who logs samples into the computer as soon as they arrive. She has not seen any samples for this patient.)

    Me: “Nope. They haven’t gotten here. Most likely, they didn’t make it out of the tubes before the power went down. So, we will get them when the power comes back but as one of them has a fifteen-minute expiration, that one will need to be redrawn.”

    Nurse: “This is ridiculous. I put it in the tubes. I saw them go up into the tube system.”

    Me: “I’m not arguing that they didn’t go into the tubes. I’m just saying they didn’t come out.”

    Nurse: “I need results.”

    Me: “I understand that. But the samples are in the tubes. And the tubes are much too small for me to climb into to retrieve the samples. We’ll get them when power is returned, however we are going to need a new [time-sensitive test].”

    Nurse: *huffs* “Well, I’ll get you some new ones. But this is ridiculous.”

    (I feel for her, and for the patient that will have to be redrawn, but know that it was probably her fault for cutting it too close to the time that the tubes would turn off and she hoped that they’d make in time so she didn’t have to walk to the lab with them. Sure enough, when the tubes come back on the samples pop out. Interestingly enough, the samples are labeled as being drawn at 0350, not the 0345 that she claimed, which means that either she was forward timing the samples to get them an extra five minutes on the time sensitive ones (which is STRICTLY against protocol), or she put the samples in the tubes AFTER engineering had warned her not to. At about 5:35 she calls back.)

    Nurse: “I still don’t have results.”

    (I frantically look around for the redraw, and realize with horror that we haven’t gotten those ones either.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t have them yet.”

    Nurse: “This is ridiculous! I don’t understand how you only lose MY samples. You are all against me. That girl who sounded like she has four more years in high school told me that the first ones got lost.”

    Me: “It was me who talked to you the first time, and though I know I sound young, I’ve been out of college for two years, thank you. And, they were not lost, they were simply in the tubes because they’d been put in there too late. I understand your frustration. I really do. However, I don’t understand how I am expected to give you results on a sample that I DO NOT HAVE.”

    Nurse: “You have a vendetta against me.” *I don’t even know her*

    Me: “I understand your frustration. But I don’t understand what you want me to do about this.”

    Nurse: “All right, I’ll redraw them again, but I’m walking them down this time.”

    Me: “That sounds like a good idea.”

    (Two minutes after this conversation, we receive the second set of samples, which are labeled 0500, but we still need a new one of the time sensitive ones. After this is all resolved, our lab assistant points out an important point.)

    Lab Assistant: “Wait. If she didn’t know that the samples were put in the tubes too late, then why did she redraw at 0500 when she hadn’t talked to you the first time until 0515? She back-timed them to make it seem like she had been waiting longer than she had!”

    (The next day, after the nurse complained to the lab manager, the lab manager asked me to relate the incident. The lab assistant is again there. When I said that finally the nurse decided to just walk the samples there, the lab assistant chimed in that she hadn’t. She had tubed them the third time as well.)

    Lutherans Have Changed Religion

    | GA, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Religion, Theme Of The Month

    (Back in the 1990s I was at the hospital registering for the upcoming birth of my baby. The nurse was asking me questions and completing a form on the computer. I’m not native to the USA.)

    Nurse: “Religion?”

    Me: “Pagan.”

    Nurse: “…What?”

    Me: “Pagan.”

    Nurse: “Pay what?”

    Me: “P-A-G-A-N, Pagan.”

    Nurse: “I don’t have that on my list. Is it like Lutheran?”

    Me: “No, not at all.”

    Nurse: “So, what’s your religion?”

    Me: “Pagan.”

    Nurse: “I don’t have that. What do you want me to list your religion as?”

    Me: “Pagan. Or whatever you like. ”

    Nurse: “So… Lutheran?”

    Me: *sighs* “Whatever…”

    Should Switch To De-Cath

    | UK | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (My brother has just had a hospital procedure which means he has to have a urinary catheter for a week or so. He is just about to leave hospital, and the nurse is checking the catheter and the attached urine collection bag, which is strapped to his leg.)

    Brother: “So, how do I shower with this?”

    Nurse: “You can just disconnect the bag, and let the catheter drip while you’re in the shower. Then put the bag on again afterwards.”

    Brother: “So, I should just leave the end of the catheter exposed?”

    Nurse: “Yes, it won’t matter if urine comes out, you are in the shower after all.”

    Brother: “But the doctor said anytime I disconnected the bag, I had to make sure and follow sterile procedures to avoid infection.”

    Nurse: “Yes, that’s right.”

    Brother: “So if I get in the shower with the end of the catheter exposed, how is that sterile? Won’t it expose me to infection?”

    Nurse: “Of course! You should never do that, you’ll cause infection.”

    Brother: “So, um, how should I shower then?”

    Nurse: “With the bag attached, of course. You can change it afterwards. You should never leave the open catheter exposed.”

    Brother: “You do realise you just contradicted yourself?”

    Nurse: “What?”

    Brother: “Never mind…”

    Like They Were Just Fertilised Yesterday

    | Australia | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

    (I’m a registered nurse and I work with a fairly large team of other health professionals including dietitians, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, etc. Clearly these are relatively clever people who have attended university to gain a degree in their respective fields. We are talking about food one day:)

    Other Health Professional: “I don’t eat eggs.”

    Me: “Why not?”

    Other Health Professional: “It’s like eating baby chickens.”

    Me: “You get that the eggs that you buy in the supermarket aren’t actually fertilised so aren’t actually baby chickens right?”

    Other Health Professional: “Actually, I only just found that out the other day.”

    Me: “You actually thought all eggs were baby chickens?”

    Other Health Professional: “Yeah!”

    The Baby Name Dilemma

    | Incirlik, AB, Turkey | Employees, Family & Kids

    (I married late, so I kept my name. I have been married twice, so with my daughter having her father’s last name, my son having his father’s last name, and me having my own name, there are three surnames for four people. It causes a lot of problems for the hospital when they try to group medical records by family. I have just straightened it out again, and the clerk asks me:)

    Clerk: “And who’s Jennifer?”

    Me: “I give up; who’s Jennifer?”

    Clerk: “I have a Jennifer [Last Name] listed here; who is she?”

    Me: “I don’t know. She’s not part of our family.”

    Clerk: “Her birth date is listed as ’99, and that’s the default entry.”

    Me: “That’s interesting, but there’s still no Jennifer in my family.”

    Clerk: “A lot of times, the birth year doesn’t get corrected in the system for a few months. Ma’am, are you sure you didn’t have a baby in the last year?”

    Me: “No; I am pretty sure I would have noticed that.”

    Clerk: *laughing* “Oh, I guess that’s the dumbest thing I’ve said all day!”

    (I resisted the urge to say it was probably the dumbest thing she’s said, ever.)


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