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Stanford Medicine

Emergency Medicine

A challenging patient illustrates challenges for emergency medicine

This morning StorytellERdoc shares a disheartening but fascinating account of a difficult patient in his emergency department:

“May I help you?” the nurse asked the mother.

“Yeah,” the mother answered, “my baby here got a fever two hours ago and I want her looked at. And as long as you all are looking at her, I want my son and me both looked at, too, since we’ll probably get what she got.” The nurse looked at the baby, sitting on the counter, cooing and slobbering over a lollipop given to her by her mother. The nurse felt the baby’s forehead, feeling its coolness, and reassured the mother that they would attend to her and her children as soon as possible. “We’ll get your histories and take your vital signs as soon as we take care of these people before you.”

The rest of the story is totally compelling, but it ends on a rather sad note that typifies the challenges facing EDs across the country.

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