Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The wound looked pretty stable. There's wasn't much that needed to be done surgically. With proper wound care, it'll likely heal in a couple months. Maybe sooner if he would quit smoking. Regardless, it definitely didn't look like it needed any emergent attention.

However, I couldn’t help but feel aggravated that I was paged into the hospital emergently for this non-emergency.

Me: [poking at the wound margins] So, what's different about this wound?

Patient: [peering down at his leg wound] Nuthin'. I've been having that for fo' months.

[Patient looks over at his wife for verification. Unfortunately, she's fallen asleep and offers nothing but an opened mouthed snore.]

I look up from the patient's leg.

Me: So did something happen to it? Did it start bleeding or something?

Patient: No. Nuthin' happened. We just come in to have a doctor look at it.

Me: So why did you wait until 2 AM on a Thursday morning to come to the hospital?

Seriously. You've got to wonder. Why did he spontaneously decide at 2 in the frickin morning that his stable 4-month old ulcer suddenly needed emergent medical care? What convinced this man, who had missed 4 out of his last 6 clinic appointments, to come to the emergency room right now? Why couldn’t this have waited until normal work hours? Why was I rudely awakened, extracted from my bed, and forced to drive to the hospital in the dead of the night to look at a wound which definitely was not in need of any emergent care?

Patient: Well, I's going to get more beer at the sto' and then we sees the hospital, and she says 'Let's go to the hospital because they not busy this late.' And we is close by anyway. So that's why we came.

I sigh defeatedly at his blatant abuse of the available healthcare resources.

He decides to show up at 2 in the morning as an afterthought on his way to get more beer because the hospital was nearby and conveniently located to his favorite liquor store.

Well, at least he was honest about it.