Confessions of a Trauma Junkie

 

Confessions of a Trauma Junkie

My Life As A Nurse Paramedic

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Confessions of a Trauma Junkie — Book Excerpt

Part III—ER Short Stuff…: The Day to Day Happenings of Emergency Room Personnel

When a patient presents to the Emergency Room’s triage desk, one of the first things you ask is their name. The responses can be quite comical, especially when the patient doesn’t know the family member’s name, can’t spell it, or has designed a creative pronunciation that often has nothing to do with the letters designated to express that name.

ER Triage: What’s in a Name?

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Parent: (to patient’s older sibling) “Boo, what’s your brother’s name?”

Parent: “I got it here; it’s on this Medicaid card (parent hands triage nurse two pages of names). It’s either this one or this one. Boo, what’s your birthday so I can figure out which one is you?”

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Parent: “They twins. One is Sean (pronounced “Shawn”) and the other is Sean (pronounced “See-Ann”). Their mama named them. Same middle and last name.”

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Parent: “My baby’s name is pronounced, “Fa `Ma Lee.” Spell it F-e-m-a-l-e.” (A quick check of patients in the hospital, back when it was not thought to be a breach of patient confidentiality or breaking HIPAA rules, showed that this was not the only “Female” who had been a patient at that particular hospital as there were four others on record.)

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Patient: “I’m too sick to talk. Ask my husband what my name is… can’t you see I’m sick? What’s wrong with you people, asking me questions when it’s obvious I can’t breathe? You want to know anything, you ask my husband. I don’t have enough breath to answer your questions. You supposed to be a NURSE, you should know that.”

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Patient’s Husband: “Her name is Lynette*. Lynette, how you spell your name? And you got it under your last name or my last name or both? Aw, Hell, I don’t know, you gotta ask her.”

RN: May I have the patient’s name please?

Patient’s Mother: “Last name is Smith; first name is here (on the Medicaid card).” The triage nurse took the card from the mother, put it on her keyboard to enter the information into the computer, and then bit down hard on her lip. The child’s name was spelled, “Chlamydia.” The nurse, Julia, tells me, “I almost peed myself when I saw the name. I had to make an excuse to leave triage before I burst out laughing or wet my pants.”

~~~

Creativity is a good thing, but confusion about the proper names for English grammar symbols makes for displaced dashes, haphazard hyphens, abused apostrophes, terminal tildes and sloppy stroke/slashes. When creating the name for a newborn, it is suggested that the parents each have the placement of the symbols indelibly marked on their person or engraved into something they wear or carry with them (and then, of course, remember what the symbol is called). I wish I had a dime for every time a mom or dad said, “I know it got some kind of mark in there, but I don’t remember where or what it was,” which causes multiple registrations for each child. Latoya. Tom. Apple. They’re good names and easy to  remember. I’m all for monikers that pay tribute to one’s heritage; my uncle’s middle name was Biaggio, great ethnic name, always caused my spell-check to alert that it may be a misspelling… good thing it wasn’t `Bi’Ag-gio~.

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