Posted by: medicblog999 | August 22, 2009


22130-Royalty-Free-Clipart-Illustration-Of-Yellow-Emoticon-Face-With-A-Bashful-Expression-And-Blushing-Red-CheeksNo matter what anyone calls 999 for, we wont be shocked or surprised about it (at least not that the patient will be aware of)

I bet there are so many stories that could be told about this patient that had…. or that patient who did….. or even, can you remember that patient who was…….

When we are with patients, we always tend to reassure them and tell them “its nothing that we haven’t seen before”

We do our best to put patients at ease. There can be nothing more mortifying for some patients than a ‘stranger’ seeing them when they are not ‘appropriately dressed’ or are in a state which they normally wouldn’t let their husband or wife see them in.

There is obviously a generational slant to this too though. The elderly population are usually much more reserved than the younger adults these days. We need to remember that some of the patients we deal with hold their privacy, and more importantly their dignity in the highest regards.

I hear the same thing each day when I am at work

“Oh, son, I’m sorry I’m in such a state”

“I haven’t even had time to do my hair”

“I cant go out of my house looking like this!”

But what I find worse than any of this is the elderly man or woman who says nothing, but you can see the look in their eyes which just shows that they are having trouble realising that they have come to a point in their life when they need the help of a couple of ‘strapping lads’ to help them get changed or cleaned after they have soiled themselves.

The best we can do is to try and keep them covered as much as possible and reassure them that ‘ it is no big deal to us’.

Depending on the circumstance and the type of patient I am dealing with, humour can also have a great effect on putting the patient at ease too, but this obviously can go one way or the other, so you have to be really quite sure that the patient isn’t going to take offence!

Then there are the other types. The elderly ladies who end up making me blush more than them!

I recall one lady who I had gone to, who was having chest pain. She was in the front room of her house with her daughter and son – in – law. She was a widower, and was a sprightly 69 yr old who still looked very fit and active. After finding out her history and presenting symptoms, I asked her if it would be alright if I undid her top so that I could get to her chest to do a 12 lead ECG?

Pt:  “Ooohh.. theres an offer I haven’t had in a while!!”

We all smiled and made some passing comments about how she didnt expect this today etc etc, then as I was placing the chest leads, she looked at me with a cheeky grin on her face and said

“How about them then? I bet you dont see a good pair like that in someone my age!”

I could feel my cheeks starting to redden…

M999: “Err…Ummm….right then…..err (frantically thinking of something appropriate to say other than, yeah…they arent bad!!”

Luckily the daughter steps in

“Eeee Mum, you shouldn’t say things like that, look at the poor lad, hes all embarrassed!!”

However, it certainly lifted the mood a bit and we all had a good laugh and a good flirt on after that, with the conclusion that I wouldn’t  be her toy boy as she didnt have enough inheritance to offer me!


  1. Ha ha that tickled me! Reminds me of something I was sent in an e-mail a while ago;

    ‘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’, replied the patient.’

    Not quite as embarrassing as yours though!

  2. When I teach newbies how to properly apply a 12-lead EKG I have to deal with the subect of how males should do it for, um, “gifted” females.

    I never teach them that I ask them if they “could please lift up lefty” for me

  3. Not long after I started as a CFR, I went to house where there was a 70-something lady with chest pains. Her husband looked more worried than she was, and all I could do was wait for a couple of minutes for the crew to arrive – though I’d found out that the pain increased with a deep breath and that some bits of her chest were tender to touch. (In those days I wouldn’t have had the nerve to touch he myself; I let her tell me.)

    When the crew arrived, they told the patient that they’d need to undo her top to do a 12-lead. He asked her if some of us males should go into the next room, but she said she wasn’t bothered.

    She whipped off her blouse and was wearing a fairly large bra – function rather than fashion. SHE then decided that it would probably get in the way (she’d had an ECG some time in the past) and proceeded to take that off too!

    It was a good job that the Tech on the crew realised that it was night and the lights were on, and the blinds were open. He closed them but the patient couldn’t give a damn!

    Now I described this patient as a “lady”. She was impeccably polite, as was her husband. You’d have thought that she was the most “proper” kind of person. However, she obviously had not qualms about showing of her ageing charms to three blokes she’d never met before.

  4. Hi
    Some of my friends and myself are interested in studying in Phlebotomy and Lab Technician study.
    But they want as much as possible information about basic to mid level coursed in UK (not more than one year)

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