Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gut-stabbed guy, a total jerk

One night while I was working at the hospital, a guy comes in by EMS with a stab wound to his gut. The medical staff is tending to him with care and haste, but he decides to be a dick. Every question is met with a smart-alek answer. Every attempt at treating his wound brings on loud and voluminous complaining. He even smacks a tech because "that hurt!"

I realize that he was in pain with a possibly serious wound and that requiring him to be a model of civility under these circumstance may seem out of line. I can only answer by saying that in my admittedly limited experience, people don't act much different when they're ill. If you are normally a strong, resolute person, in all likelihood you're not going to scream at a nurse drawing your blood when you're sick. Conversely, self-centered, whiny people are soooo ugly in the hospital.

Gut-stabbed guy is a picture of douchebaggery. He stubbornly refuses to answer the doctor when asked what he was stabbed with. This might be because a cop is right outside and something illicit preceeded the stabby-stab, but it's still important for the doctor to know if it was a clean, serrated knife or a rusty soda can. When told he needs to go to surgery, Paranoid Von Bitchy accuses the staff of trying to rip him off with unnecessary and expensive procedures. This despite the fact that he doesn't have insurance and, given what I later learned, isn't likely to pay his hospital bill anyway. Exasperated, one of the techs blurts out, "Dude. You got stabbed!" Since he's been whisked off to the operating room immediately, I don't have to interview him for registration. Whew.

The next day I was working the check-in desk when a woman comes in saying that there's a guy outside with no shirt on and an IV port still in his arm. She tried to convince him that he should go back inside, but he told her to mind her own business. A couple of off-duty police officers (they moonlight as security for the ER) go outside and manage to coax the guy inside. Lo and behold it's gut-stabbed guy. He still has a surgical dressing on his wound and, despite the painkillers, the same horrible attitude.

The officers are trying to explain that leaving the hospital the day after getting stabbed is a bad idea, but he's having none of it. "You can't keep me here!" and "I am leaving!" are his responses. Technically, he's right but dude, you got staaaabbed. One of my favorite nurses enters the fray giving her best medical opinion on what will happen if he leaves, to no avail. He demands that she remove his IV port. She explains that he's going to bleed if she doesn't get some gauze and tape on it.

Under cover of getting the supplies, she calls upstairs to check out what the hell is going on. While he's being being escorted outside, I quietly explain how he came to be our patient. The nurse confirms that he left the hospital AMA (against medical advice) and then goes outside to take out the port. Afterwards, practically everyone in the waiting room - medical staff, officers, and patients - is shaking their head in annoyed bewilderment.

Four hours later, he's back. Seems the pain meds wore off and it started to hurt. Really? Funny how that happens. He didn't even have the decency to act contrite. What an asshole. Worst. Patient. Ever.

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