These are situations doctors actually had to deal with on the job, published by medical reporters.
A man comes into the ER and yells, “My wife's going to have her baby in the cab!” I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress, and began to take off her underwear. Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs, and I was in the wrong one. –Dr. Mark MacDonald, San Antonio, TX
At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall. “Big breaths,” I instructed. “Yes, they used to be,” she remorsefully replied. –Dr. Richard Byrnes, Seattle, WA
One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a “massive internal fart.” –Dr. Susan Steinberg, Manitoba, Canada
I was performing a complete physical, including the visual acuity test. I placed the patient twenty feet from the chart and began, “Cover your right eye with your hand.” He read the 20/20 line perfectly. “Now your left.” Again, a flawless read. “Now both,” I requested. There was silence. He couldn't even read the large E on the top line. I turned and discovered that he had done exactly what I had asked; he was standing there with both his eyes covered. I was laughing too hard to finish the exam. –Dr. Matthew Theodropolous, Worcester, MA
I was caring for a woman from Kentucky and asked, “So, how's your breakfast this morning?” “It's very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste,” the patient replied. I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled “KY Jelly.” –Dr. Leonard Kransdorf, Detroit, MI
During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, he informed me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his medications. Which one?” I asked. “The patch. The nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it!” I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see. Yes, the man had over fifty patches on his body! Now the instructions include removal of the old patch before applying a new one. –Dr. Rebecca St. Clair, Norfolk, VA
While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked, “How long have you been bed-ridden?” After a look of complete confusion she answered, “Why, not for about twenty years — when my husband was alive.” –Dr. Steven Swanson, Corvallis, OR
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