It’s All Pennsylvania Double-Dutch To Me

| NY, USA | Coworkers, Health & Body, Language & Words

(I’m a patient-care technician in a very, very small hospital. Since this is rural hospital, we don’t really do much at night, but we have to stay open. Also on shift is a nurse from New York City, who really thinks she is all that and feels that we should worship her for deigning to work at this podunk hospital where she can spread her superior experience upon us. She’s sent to do intake on a nine-year-old boy brought by ambulance with a head injury after he fell out of a tree. She comes back to us, panicking:)

New Nurse: “Doctor, he doesn’t understand language anymore. He’s unresponsive to language.”

Doctor: “Really? That’s not good.”

(He asks me to come into the room with him to help, and the new nurse follows behind us. We enter the room and immediately realize that he is Amish. We quickly know the problem.)

Doctor: “[My Name], are his parents out in the waiting room yet?”

Me: “Yep.”

Doctor: “Go get them?”

(I go get the parents.)

Doctor: *to parents* “Can you ask him to count to ten, please?”

(The parents do so, speaking Pennsylvania Dutch. The new nurse sat there in with her eyebrow furrowed. After the doctor finishes he goes out in the hallway laughing.)

Nurse: “What is going on?”

(The doctor can’t stop laughing long enough to answer, so I do.)

Me: “He’s Amish. The Amish speak a different language called Pennsylvania Dutch — it’s a kind of Low German. At least in the community here, they don’t grow up learning English, and learn it as a second language when they’re in the early teens. He wasn’t responding to you for two reasons. One: he didn’t understand what you were saying. Two: he has been taught to be a little wary of non-Amish people, so he was afraid of you.”

Nurse: “Well, that’s ridiculous.”

Doctor: “Didn’t teach you that one in your fancy NYC hospital, did they? But you should have seen the look on your face.”

Getting Fractionally Worse

| London, England, UK | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive

(I have cystic fibrosis, so I’m in the hospital a lot. Every time I go in, I have to have a special needle put in which “plugs” into a valve (called a portacath) under my skin. This has been routine for me since it was put in at age 14, when I was still very small. I’m now 20 and in an adult hospital, so the nurses sometimes have an issue with the fact that I need child-sized needles.)

Nurse: *knocks on door* “We’re ready to put your port needle in now. Is this a good time?”

Me: “Yes, but have you been told about the needle size I need?”

(He just stares at me.)

Me: “Large needles won’t fit into my portacath; I need child-size ones. Half-inch.”

Nurse: “We have three-quarters and one inch.”

Me: “Okay… but those are too big. I need a half-inch. If you absolutely can’t get a half-inch, a five-eighths will just be able to fit with a lot of dressing.”

Nurse: “Our needles are three-quarters.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “A three-quarters will not fit. It’s too big.”

Nurse: “What about one inch?”

Me: “That’s BIGGER, so, no, that won’t fit either.”

Nurse: “Um…”

Me: “I need a five-eighths needle, because I doubt you’ll be able to find the one-half. Five-eighths. Anything else will be TOO BIG.”

Nurse: “We are going to have to do it with a three-quarters if that’s okay.”

Me: “Go get another nurse, please.”

(The other nurse immediately understood and managed to find a five-eighths needle without any issues. The first nurse didn’t come into my room again, and I only ever saw him changing bedding after that.)

Legal Fees Are Eternal

| UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

(I work as a nurse in a hospital. The phone at the nurses station rings, I pick up and it’s our ward clerk.)

Clerk: “Hi, I got Mr. [Patient]’s eternity on the phone.”

Me: “Who?!”

Clerk: “His eternity.”

Me: *thinking, is my patient dead and am I having an out-of-body experience right now?* “Um… put them through?”

Voice On The Phone: “Hello, I’m Mr. [Patient]’s solicitor. I’m calling to enquiry into…”

(After the phone call, I walk to the clerk’s desk.)

Me: “So, when you say eternity… Did you mean attorney?”

Clerk: “Oh, I can’t pronounce that word.”

Me: “Why can’t you just say lawyer?”


, | ME, USA | Crazy Requests, Employees, Health & Body, Math & Science

(I work in the laboratory of a major hospital. Part of my duties as a lab assistant is to determine if a specimen is acceptable for testing. I’ve received a specimen in a pediatric tube with a testing request that can only be done with the amount obtainable in an adult tube. I call the floor to let the nurse know we can’t run it.)

Me: “Hey are you the nurse for [Patient]? We can run [Test #1] on the tube you sent but [Test #2] requires two milliliters more blood.”

Nurse: “Oh, geez. Okay, I’ll let the doc know and see if they still want it. Thanks.”

(At this point he hangs up. Not even five minutes later, the physician calls.)

Me: “Laboratory, can I help you?”

Doctor: “Yeah, why don’t you run [Test #2]?”

Me: “We can’t run it on this specimen; the minimum amount for the test is two milliliters.”

Doctor: “Well, can’t you LOWER the minimum? This is a child we’re talking about!”

(At this point I’m stunned. Yes, doc, I’m going to bend the rules of science just for you.)

Me: “I… no, we can’t lower a minimum. We need more blood to do this test.”

Doctor: “Well, it’s a child and they’re in critical care!”

Me: “I understand but we literally cannot work with this little amount of blood; I’m sorry.”

(He finally hung up in a fury.)

Not Properly Monitoring The Situation

| CT, USA | Bosses & Owners, Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(My dad works at a hospital in a nearby city, where he helps run the servers. They’re buying a smaller hospital to add to the chain, and he is in a meeting with his coworkers.)

Supervisor: “We just don’t know how we’re going to be able to pay for all the hardware in this new hospital.”

Dad: “Sir, you throw away three or four perfectly good monitors every week because nobody needs them. We can just use those.”

Supervisor: “That doesn’t fix the problems with everything else. How are we going to get the new computers, or the servers?”

Dad: “Stop buying monitors we don’t need.”