Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | August 14, 2008

Can You Say "Oops"?

Sent a patient with a long-standing shoulder problem to the orthopedist. After trying a course of conservative care, the decision was made to operate.

So the patient shows up at the hospital on the assigned date. (Gets a ride from his wife, because of course he isn’t going to be able to drive himself home afterwards.) Gets all set in the pre-op area. Gets his IV (after several sticks; not sure why; his veins are fine.) Waits for the surgeon.

And waits.

And waits some more.

Overhears his surgeon rushing to get another patient into the OR. Figures there might be an emergency, but no one comes to tell him anything.

He waits.

And waits.

And waits some more.

Finally…three hours after his scheduled OR time (1:00 pm)…someone sticks a head around his curtain and says, “You still here?”

“Uh, yeah. Waiting.”

And waiting.

Finally they come. Tell him it will be awhile; does he want to continue waiting? (It’s now 5:00 pm.)


“Can you come back on Thursday?” they ask.


So they pull his IV that’s been infusing for however many hours he spent waiting and sent him home.

He called to ask me for another orthopedist. I complied.

How do you completely forget about a patient ready and waiting for surgery? Sheesh!


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