We are doing just fine aaaand… We’re Doomed

It comes as a shock to nobody that in the ER some patients come in after doing “research.”

Now, I fully support understanding disease and independent research.

However, when “research” equates to a four-minute google/WebMD search, I have issues.  Often patients convince themselves that they have some extremely rare disease.


“I READ IT! It causes permanent impotence and swarms of locusts to burst from eye sockets!”

I have had a patient come BACK to the ER after she read something in the comment section of Yahoo! answers.  I am not making this up.

I really feel like the next time a patient says:

“Well, I looked it up on google and it said that I have either constipation or leprosy,”

I should just stop, pull out my phone, and click it a few times.  Then I’ll stop, slowly look up, and say “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, your right, you have 9 minutes to live, I’m so sorry.”

Though, as a healthcare provider I must strive not to add to murkiness.  Just today I was talking with someone outside of the ER who asked me why they kept yawning.  I responded by saying “very likely it’s hypo-caffenemia, you need to get a coffee stat!”

They became nervous and asked me if that was real.

Then I have to explain that I just made it up.  I hate explaining jokes.

Me: “Sorry, I was just making that up.”

Them: “Oh, so hypocafeinemia is not real?  It’s like Tinkerbell, or Leprechauns, or the Titanic…”

Me: “Um, I think the Titanic…”

Them: “That’s good, because I think that might mess with my Hansen’s disease, I just learned from a Facebook quiz that I have it,”

Me: “That’s just another name for Leprosy,”

Them: “Whatever, jokie-McJokerton, fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, my fingers fall off,”

Me:  “You got me.”


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