Schrodinger’s Patient

So I got a patient on my service yesterday morning who (a) should not have been admitted onto my service and (b) probably shouldn’t have been admitted to the hospital at all.

So, after working him up and determining that yes, there really WAS nothing wrong with him, I wrote a discharge summary and put in a discharge for him.

When I talked to him about it, he assured me that oh yes, doc, I’ll call my wife and she will come pick me up after work! No problem!

And I’m thinking, great! The rock-star social worker on my team will have one less transportation arrangement to make, and will have more time to concentrate on the rest of the patients on our unbelievably long census.

And then, I got a call from said rock-star social worker. Upon further questioning, my patient has no way of getting in contact with his wife, and only THINKS she’ll show up after work. Which ends at 8.

Through great, desperate effort, I left the hospital at 7 last night.


Will I come back to an extra patient on my census this morning, or an empty bed?

And will it become one or the other only at the moment I observe it?

Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 3:21 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Dr. Grasshopper’s How To Kill Your Imaginary Friends, talking today about Schroedinger’s Patient. […]

  2. Ask the people who’d be caring for him all night if he only exists the moment you observe him… 🙂

    • But I love the LOLcat!

  3. Unfortunately, we get people like that all the time onbase. I’ve recently gone through the wringer to get military medical to take care of my issue (I’m on hydrocodone right now and hating it.) and one of the corpsmen was telling me about how irritating it is to get people coming in for imaginary sniffles and stubbed toes, which only serves to waste time that could be used for legitimate complaints.

    Hence why it took me five days of showing up at opening every morning to get my issue taken care of. I made sure to thank the corpsmen, who were very helpful through the whole process, despite the rigmarole.

  4. Gotta love the hypochondriacs who take up space & time that could better be spent addressing legitimate problems.

    Although given that patients are often checked on multiple times throughout the night, Schrodinger’s patient may be awfully busy popping from one state to the other.

    Who knows, he may be sleep-deprived, poor darling.

  5. I made sure to thank the corpsmen, who were very helpful through the whole process, despite the rigmarole.?

    • Yep. It wasn’t their fault that the docs couldn’t get their acts together.

      The corpsmen take the place of physician assistants, more or less. They’re the ones who do the vitals and take down your symptoms and make you comfortable, but they cannot prescribe medication or make diagnoses.

  6. Am I the only one horrified at the possibility of leaving the hospital at 19:00? It’s horrible!

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