Get dressed

One of the first things the ED likes to do when it receives a reasonably legitimate patient is to strip all the clothes off and put the patient in a hospital gown. Families for some reason have a really hard time understanding this when ambulance crews explain this to them. Instead, often because they have this fear that the trip from the front door of their residence to the back door of the ambulance is via the South Pole, they insist on putting on the patient a hundred coats, a pair of socks and a pair of shoes.

“Err, we’re actually going to carry her instead of making her walk like the others who call for crap. You don’t need socks. Besides, the hospital is going to take them right off.”

“But it’s cold outside.”

“It’s August.”

And despite our reassurances that we have blankets with us as well as a heater in the ambulance powerful enough to warm an entire Mongolian village in a blizzard, everyone wants to put a jacket on the patient. So where exactly am I going to take that blood pressure? Should I put that IV in your down filling?

A woman in her 60s fell and is now complaining of hip pain. It doesn’t seem broken or dislocated, but it hurts for her to move her leg in any way. Before we leave – and we’re carrying her, stairs and everything – her daughter wants to put some socks on her. I don’t really care enough to stop her, because it’s not my leg, and I just don’t want to waste my breath saying anything when people are obsessed about such unimportant things. (Being agreeable to everything, even stupid things, which they usually are, is good customer service.) But it sure sounded painful when she put the sock on her mother’s injured leg.

“Ow! Ow! Ow!”

Ten minutes later at the ED, what is the first thing the nurse does? Socks off.

“Ow! Ow! Ow!”

I told you so. Well, maybe not.

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