How to fail as an ER patient

I read a similar post on Facebook the other day, but I'm not exactly copying because I have developed my own mental handbook for how to completely fail at getting whatever you're trying to order up from your friendly neighborhood emergency department.

What, you say? Don't people go to the ER when they think they're going to DIE? I used to think so. How cute that idea was. Some people, I'm convinced, come simply because they are bored. As evidence, I offer this: I was recently in line at the grocery store. A frequent-flier family (they come in family groups) was behind me. One said, "Well, we need to go by so-and-so's house and to the ER. Should we have dinner first?"

Here, then, is a brief list of how to utterly fail at getting what you want and/or utterly piss off your providers.

  • Appear in triage with printouts from WebMD. Announce you have galloping dandruff and state you need someone to prescribe you the new medication for it.
  • State in triage that you are there to have anything "checked out." Those words equal "not an emergency."
  • Waste scads of time with the nonanswer answer, eg:
    • What time did your pain start? Well, it was when I got off work. What time was that? Well, it was about when my wife got home...
    • My personal most annoying one is the 0-10 pain scale. If I get fractions, decimals, or a number not on the scale OR if you have to sit there and press hard on the affected part to produce the pain, that is a pail of fail.
  • Call the nurse "hey, you" and demand stuff. It ain't the Holiday Inn.
  • Announce before anything else that you're not a drug seeker.
  • Put your finger down your throat to make yourself puke so you can get the IV you want. Bonus points: puke ON your nurse.
  • Yell really loud at your providers. We like that consideration so we make sure we can understand all the names you're calling us.
  • Tell the triage nurse that if you're not seen IMMEDIATELY for your back pain, you will LEAVE.
  • Tell us how to treat you. We need assistance with that given than we're trained healthcare professionals and you're a drunk frat guy.
  • Bargain with the physician.
  • Complain that you've been waiting a REALLY LONG TIME with your sore finger while your nurse was in a trauma code.
  • Call an ambulance to ride a block and then walk in from the bay. Demand a ride back home.

I mean seriously. I get excited when I find a legitimately ill patient who needs to be there. Not so much when I am treated like a whipping post. We need a little checklist where you can check your chief complaint and what you want. It would save a lot of time. If you're too sick to fill it out, YOU WIN. Come on back.