10. One time I finished a gynecological exam and told the patient "everything looked/felt good" down there--and she called me on it. [We're supposed to say it was "normal."]
9. The time I was the third person to call the “wife’s number” listed in a patient’s chart, but it was really somebody totally unrelated who was nevertheless nice about it, even though the first call had come at 1am. I never found out why the night team believed this patient knew his wife’s phone number, given the fact that he was being admitted with delirium and had been found out of bed--more than once--stark naked, trying to stick his finger in an electrical socket.
8. The morning I thought I was going to have to call "jeopardy" (i.e. call out sick) when I slipped and fell getting into the shower, landed on my tailbone, and nearly blacked out from the pain. I just sat in tub until I could see again and had a righteous bruise for about a week.
7. When I tried to check extra-ocular movements by having a patient follow my finger with their eyes, and I knew the patient was blind. I wish I could say I only did this with one patient, but I would be lying.
6. And then there’s The Saga of the Wrong Cheesecake.
5. My first night shift at the children's hospital, when a nurse told me over the phone the good news about a patient's laboratory value. I expressed my sincere enthusiasm and thanks, hung up, and deadpanned to my senior resident, "What does it mean when XXX happens?" The other residents managed to hold in their laughter for about 30 seconds until they finally busted up and told me I deserved a b---sh-- award.
4. When I ordered an ICU patient's Versed drip for a Riker score of 0 (the nursing equivalent of "dead").
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3. The time I text-paged "Not urgent" to the hospital pharmacy's code (i.e. emergency) pager.
2. The day in newborn follow-up clinic when I was jiggling a baby on my shoulder, and her belly button stump came off, on my white sweater. Of course it was bloody and stinking. I put the baby down, wiped off my sweater, moved my name tag to cover up the spot, and had to reassure the parents—twice, via interpreter—that really it was fine and normal. (Which was true but didn’t sound like it given the chain of events.)
1. The time my attending was interviewing an elderly patient in the hospital to try to determine whether she had dementia. He was asking her leading questions about her neighborhood, like what kind of dinosaur statue stands on the corner outside of Shady Lane School, “It’s a brontosaurus, isn’t it?” he asked. Suddenly I snapped out of my daydream and responded, “That’s right near my house—it’s a triceratops.” If looks could maim...
You may also enjoy Medical School Bloopers Part 1 and Part 2.