Welcome to the Hotel

There are nights when being a physician in the emergency department is like working as a hotel manager on an event weekend. Tonight was one of those nights. Rather than saying, “My name is Dr. ___, and I will be taking care of you. What brings you into the emergency department today?” A much more fitting opening for most of last night’s shenanigans would have been, “Welcome to Motel 9. We have a beautiful ground-floor view of a drunk man stripping his clothes off just beyond that half-opened curtain. On the other side of the building, we have a free live music performance – a patient clucking continuously for all to appreciate. In the corner we have a young woman and an elderly man arguing over who will get to have their c-collar taken off first – that is, which one of them will be sober first. Pick your poison. This is a full-service operation, 24-7. The customer is always right!”

We aim to please.
“Doctor, I need a sandwich.”
“Doctor, I’m cold right now. I need more blankets.”
“Doctor, I really need to go to the bathroom. Now.”
“Doctor, you can’t let me go home. I’m not sure if I can get into my house.”
Yes, right after I take care of one or two dying people, I’ll get right on it. Full-service motel. We wouldn’t want any of you to go without a sandwich for more than two hours in the emergency department. That would be pure sacrilege.

And so I am drained. Ready for a reprieve from constant service, constant sacrifice, constant work. In time.

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3 Responses to Welcome to the Hotel

  1. Ginger says:

    Frankly, MEDICAL RESIDENT, you’ve got it right! LoL (Sad, very sad, but very true.)
    With such a wealth of material, it’s no wonder you found the healthy way out of a mind blowing situation. Laugh, (but, not where the patients or their families are liable to hear!).
    In these kinds of situations laughter is the only cure that’s going to do the doctor any good.

  2. I see that you are hosting grand rounds next week. Any particular subject in mind? Where do we send submissions?

  3. John M says:

    Hospital ERs offering room service? It sounds like a great concept but it’s not a service model that can be sustained unless the patients who actually need medical help can help themselves. Here’s an idea, why doesn’t the ER set out sandwiches, drinks, and blankets in the waiting room? Then the patients will be happy and the doctors can practice medicine!

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