An Acute Case Of Miscommunication

| Johnson City, TN, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive, Top

(I had a gallbladder attack when I was 10 weeks pregnant, and learned that I needed to have it removed. It was apparently important enough to do while I was still pregnant, so I scheduled the surgery.)

Doctor: “Okay, we need to get you in as soon as possible. We can do this next Wednesday if that is okay with you.”

Me: “I guess that will work. Are you sure I have to do this while pregnant? Can’t I wait until after the baby is here?”

Doctor: “Your gallbladder is acutely infected. It really needs to come out now. I’ve got you scheduled at [local surgery office] for next Wednesday.”

(2 hours later…)

Doctor: “Hi, sorry to bother you, but we’ve had to change locations for your surgery. The place we scheduled you at can’t operate if you’re pregnant. We’ve rescheduled you for the 16th and [major hospital].”

Me: “Uh, okay, that’s not exactly reassuring. Why can the hospital do it if the other place can’t?”

Doctor: “Well, they’ll have a labor & delivery nurse on hand just in case, and they have fetal monitors available for during the surgery so we can make sure everything is okay. The other place doesn’t.”

Me: “Okay, I suppose.”

(Day of surgery: The anesthesiologist is naming off every single piece of equipment that will be attached and what it is used for, but I don’t hear a word about the fetal monitor.)

Me: “And of course the fetal monitor for making sure the baby is okay, right?”

Anesthesiologist: “Ha ha, that’s a good one!”

Me: “Um… what? ”

Anesthesiologist: “Wait, you’re not kidding?”

Me: *thinking HE’S kidding* “That’s funny.”

Anesthesiologist: “So you ARE kidding?”

Me: “Okay, not funny anymore. Does it really not say this in your notes?”

Anesthesiologist: “Uh… no.”

Me: “Are you kidding? They switched everything around and had me come here because I was pregnant.”

Anesthesiologist: “Are you sure you should be having this surgery while pregnant?”


(In the end, they scrambled to get the L&D nurse and fetal monitors, so all was fine, and the baby was unharmed. Fortunately, the actual surgeon knew well in advance that I was pregnant, but he was blown away that the files didn’t reflect that.)

The Biohazards Of Anal-ysis

| Portland, OR, USA | Coworkers, Health & Body

(I am the hospital’s pharmacist. Occasionally, a patient is admitted to the hospital who brings in medications from home, often in a plastic baggie or other unlabeled container. One day, a nurse calls me ahead of sending down the pills.)

Nurse: “I’m sending down some pills to be identified, but they smell funny… like bad breath or poop or something.”

Me: “Uh, okay.”

(About 10 pills arrive in the pneumatic tube system. They look funny, are irregularly shaped and have no imprint codes stamped on them. The brown outer coating is sloughing off. I think they are perhaps an herbal product. When I open the baggie, the stench nearly knocks me off my feet. I put on a pair of gloves and spend a few minutes gagging, but nonetheless trying to figure out what they are. Defeated, I call the nurse back.)

Me: “Where did you say they patient got these pills from?”

Nurse: “Oh, the gastroenterologist is here, and he dug 40 of them out of the patient’s rectum.”

Me: “…Say WHAT?! Listen, for future reference, that would have been nice to know before I opened the package and nearly threw up!”

Nurse: “Consider yourself lucky: the unit secretary touched them with her bare hands!”

(The “pills” were indeed several weeks’ worth of tablets that had been the cause of the patient’s severe constipation!)

The Developer Is In The Details

| Australia | Coworkers, Technology

(Note: I work in IT for a hospital.)

Receptionist: “Hey, [name], the computers aren’t working.”

Me: “Can you tell me exactly what the problem is?”

Receptionist: “The computers aren’t working.”

Me: “Are you getting any kind of error message?”

Receptionist: “No. The computers aren’t working.”

Me: “Can you get on the network?”

Receptionist: “Yes.”

Me: “Can you get into the G: drive?”

Receptionist: “Yes.”

Me: “Can you open your H drive?”

Receptionist: “Yes.”

Me: “Can you get into Outlook and Word?”

Receptionist: “YES! All that is fine! It’s just [medical program] that’s not working.”

Me: “Why didn’t you tell me that when I asked what the exact problem was?”

Receptionist: “You sound grumpy. Did I wake you up?”

Not To Belabor The Obvious

| England, UK | Employees, Extra Stupid, Family & Kids, Health & Body

(I have been admitted to hospital due to a serious case of meningitis, which is highly contagious, and pneumonia in both lungs. I am also 28 weeks pregnant and it is very obvious. I have been transferred to a ward containing three elderly men. My mother calls over a nurse to ask about this as it seems odd.)

My Mum: “Excuse me, but my daughter’s been placed in this ward which is clearly for men. We were told she needed to be in a room on her own because she has meningitis.”

Nurse: “I’m sorry. I don’t understand the problem.”

My Mum: “My FEMALE daughter has been put in a MALE ward, and she has a contagious infection and should be isolated.”

(The nurse understands this time, and has me transferred again to a private room. About five minutes later, a different nurse comes to run some tests.)

Nurse: “Okay, and I’ll need a urine sample so we can check you’re not pregnant.”

Me: “Actually I am pregnant. 28 weeks. It should be in my medical notes.”

Nurse: “It doesn’t mention that at all. Are you sure you’re pregnant?”

Me: “Yes, and I told the paramedics when they brought me in. I also told the doctor in A&E and I’ve been for three scans at this hospital, so it should be in the notes somewhere.”

Nurse: “Okay, I’ll just write that down. Now, we’ll need to give you a chest x-ray to see how badly your lungs have been affected by the pneumonia. We’ll just need to get a urine sample from you first.”

Me: “Why?”

Nurse: “We have to check you’re not pregnant because the radiation could be harmful to a baby.”

Me: *facepalm*

Time Traveling Can Lead To Surgical Unraveling

| Carbondale, Illinois, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Health & Body, Time

(Note: I recently had urgent surgery to remove my gallbladder, and one of the incisions is feeling and looking strange. I search through all my paperwork for a phone number for the surgeon, but can’t find one, so I call the one-day surgery office at the hospital. This happens on a Thursday.)

Me: “Hi, I had surgery with Dr. Martin on Friday, and I’m having problems with one of the incisions, but I can’t find the phone number to follow up—”

Receptionist: “This coming Friday or last Friday?”

Me: “…last Friday.”