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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:02 PM

A medical provider's pet-peeve phrases.

We all have them. Some of us have a lot of them. Every list is a little different. But I'm sure there is some overlap.

Here are mine:

"Check-up". If you want a clinic visit, please tell me what you want. Don't ask for a 'check-up'. I don't know what that is. They didn't teach us how to do 'check-ups' in PA School.

"Stomach flu". There is no such thing. Influenza is respiratory in nature. If you're throwing up every ten minutes, you have gastritis. If it's vomiting and diarrhea, it's gastroenteritis. Not 'stomach flu'.

"Fever". Fever has an actual medical definition: 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher. Don't walk in with a temperature of 99.1F and tell me you have a 'fever'. Don't tell me that since your normal temperature is lower than the 98.6F average that 99.1 is a fever 'for me'. Fever is fever for everyone.

"I could feel my blood pressure rising". No you couldn't. You felt your stress level rising, and increased stress can lead to increased b/p levels. But hypertension is often called 'The Silent Killer' because it doesn't come with any symptoms. You won't have any symptoms until right before it's about to kill you, and sure, then you'll have headaches, fatigue, dizziness, disorientation and shortness of breath. But if your b/p is mildly elevated, (say, 144/92) you can't 'feel it rising'.

"I'm trying to quit smoking, doc." No you're not. If you are still smoking, you're not trying to quit. Trying to quit means putting it out and not lighting up another one. Basically the same definition as 'successfully quitting'. If you're still buying or bumming cigarettes to smoke, you're not 'trying to quit'.

"How long is this going to take, doc?" As long as it takes. If you have something else to do, go do it; I won't hold you up. And I will be here when you have time for a proper evaluation of your medical complaint.



I read a lot of complaints from patients about their medical providers, and many of them are justified, especially in a society where nobody has enough time, everybody is frustrated, and everyone is in a hurry. And on balance, I love my work, and I love my patients, even the ones who smoke or are not compliant with their treatment plans. These phrases above are pet-peeves, not sources of fury and inexhaustible frustration. I thought writing them down and sharing them might make for a mild catharsis.

Thank you.

I love you all...

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply A medical provider's pet-peeve phrases. (Original post)
Aristus Dec 2012 OP
fizzgig Dec 2012 #1
Aristus Dec 2012 #2
wickerwoman Dec 2012 #14
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #3
Aristus Dec 2012 #5
hlthe2b Dec 2012 #4
Aristus Dec 2012 #6
Lokey Dec 2012 #7
csziggy Dec 2012 #8
CanSocDem Dec 2012 #15
Jokerman Dec 2012 #9
Aristus Dec 2012 #10
kurtzapril4 Dec 2012 #11
LWolf Dec 2012 #12
Aristus Dec 2012 #13

Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:12 PM

1. it irritates me when someone says they have the stomach flu

but then i feel like a jerk trying to tell them it doesn't exist

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Response to fizzgig (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:14 PM

2. I just tell my patients who use the phrase:

"Here, I'll let you in on a little secret..."

Then I tell them that now that they know, they can snicker when they hear other people using the term.

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Response to fizzgig (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:44 PM

14. I think it's just a social convention.

If I was calling in sick at work, I'd say I have "stomach flu" even though I know it doesn't exist. It's better than saying "I have the galloping shits" or "I've been spewing my guts out all night". Not sure I would dance around the issue so much with the actual doctor though.

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:15 PM

3. Sounds like someone is under the weather.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:19 PM

5. Ha!

Actually, 'under the weather' doesn't bother me at all. My reponse is usually: "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. What sort of symptoms are you having?" No problem...

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:17 PM

4. Wow, your pet peeves at least give you something to work with...

Last edited Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:28 PM - Edit history (1)

My favs were the older people whose complaint is "just feeling a little puny"

or those of all ages that we just lumped in to the categorical complaint "ADR" ("ain't doin right"

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:21 PM

6. Oh, I get those, too!

"Doc, I just feel kinda 'meh'."

"Can you be more specific? What's bothering you?"

"I dunno, just kinda 'blah', you know?"

" 'Blah', how?"

"Just kinda "phhht!" Know what I mean?"

"Um......"

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:13 PM

7. Flu

Still surprises me how many people think gastroenteritis is the flu. Someone at work got nasty with me when they called off because the had the 'flu' and I said you know that's respiratory. And this person was getting flu shots. Wonder what he thought those were for.

As far as smoking...how about the "I've Tried to quit"...does that fall into your category...I've tried--made it two full weeks with no cigarette then some asshat tells me-"you know that craving that you have when you get in your car for a cigarette? that never goes away" And being at that point where I was really struggling and half out of it- trying to change my routine to help me not want one--I caved. Still wish there was a magic pill for this weakling to quit.

Anyhow, I enjoyed your pet peeves--I can only imagine what kind of stuff you hear.

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 02:45 PM

8. A patient's pet peeves

When our providers - nurses, PAs, aides, doctors, etc. - are not allowed enough time to really listen to the patient. (So we can help you take care of us, remind us to write down our questions so we can cover the important problems quickly and not forget any that concern the patient.)

When nurses at hospitals are loaded with more patients than they can safely cover. A dozen patients per nurse in a rehabilitation hospital that covers Alzheimers, stroke, joint replacement, and accident victims - ALL of whom are fall risk, ALL of whom need specific medications at specific times, ALL of whom may need assistance with eating, dressing, drinking enough fluids, etc. - is too many especially with only one tech per nurse to assist.

When medical personnel are not paid enough to make ends meet even when they are working ridiculous hours, when they can't rely on a regular schedule so they can have a life outside the profession, when their efforts are not acknowledged or appreciated.

When even though the insurance company claims to cover stuff they routinely deny even pre-approved procedures, which costs everyone more money and does not contribute to better patient care!

I have had a lot of visits to and help from medical providers this year and 99.99% of them have been excellent (and that 0.01% was mostly because of overwork). Anything I as a patient can do to help them, I want to to do.

I

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Response to csziggy (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:45 PM

15. When they ask me...

 



Where did you get YOUR medical degree????

.

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:10 PM

9. OK, so what do I call it when I'm not feeling bad...

but I know that I'm past due for the EKG, blood tests and finger up my ass the doctor says that I need every year?

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Response to Jokerman (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:19 PM

10. Are you over 50?

If so, then ask for a focussed, age-appropriate, asymptomatic prostate exam, with evaluation for colon cancer risk factors.

You're welcome...

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:07 PM

11. I had a nurse tell me a long time ago

That 97% of the "stomach flu" cases are actually food poisoning of some sort.

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Response to Aristus (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:21 PM

12. Fever or not,

I sent a student home last week who told me his temperature was only 100, so he was fine, even though he was flushed, headachy, snotty, and coughing.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:27 PM

13. Yes. if they're up over 100.0, I dub it 'low-grade fever' and treat appropriately.

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