Posted by: medicblog999 | August 23, 2009

A real school boy mistake!

dunceIve been in the service nearly 9 years now. I have looked after thousands of patients and cared for their families and loved ones. You would think by now that I wouldnt fall in to this particular trap.

M999: “Right then, we will be taking you to hospital now okay?”

Pt : “Okay”

Then, looking to the family member in the house…

M999: “Are you coming with your mother up to the hospital?”

Pt : “Mother!!….Im his wife !”

Doh!

So I  hereby give myself the punishment of ten lines:

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

I must always ask – “and what relation are you please?”

There, that’s better.

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Responses

  1. Good Skills

  2. Great Job Medic999! Excellent situational awareness and observational skills!

    I just wonder what the next comment out of your mouth was?

  3. Don’t know about next comment, but I bet next thought was along the lines of “Oh sh1t”

  4. Made exactly the same error with a patient in his 80s and the young lady in her 20s who I said was his grand-daughter, but turned out to be his wife. The ambulance became very warm after that, and I could barely get a word out for the rest of the journey……

  5. Or you could just say, “Will anyone be coming to the hospital with the patient?” Then in casual conversation you can ask what the relationship is. If you’re that interested.

  6. I usually go for the youngest possible relation. Then if I’m right, no-ones offended. If I’m wrong, then they feel flattered (albeit in a typical, overly cheesy way).

  7. In our NICU, we frequently have very young mothers and, consequently, grandparents in their 30’s and 40’s. Under that frame of reference, we sometimes think that anyone who looks older MUST be a grandparent.

    After a similar experience to yours (mistook an aunt for a grandmother), I was looking for the smoothest way to handle the issue. I take a similar approach to Nickopotamus.

    *Elderly female approaches in a stooped posture, taking deliberate and shaky steps with the assistance of a cane, a companion helping to push her tank of supplemental oxygen as she gasps for each labored breath*

    Me: “Oh, hi! You must be the baby’s aunt.”


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