The medicine clinic finished up at about 3 this afternoon; and my father was just giving me a lecture on not wasting time doing nothing; so I called the ER, waved my father’s name around vigorously, and got connected to one of the ER physicians, who agreed to let me tag after him for a few hours. So I walked across the street to the hospital (white coat plus overcoat is definitely warmer in this cold spell!), got lost in my little hometown community hospital, and eventually arrived at the ER.

The two downsides: the ER doctor I was with introduced me to everyone, including patients, as my father’s daughter; which is certainly better than not being introduced at all, but still! Then, after an hour, my real preceptor walked through the ER to admit a patient. He gave me a raised eyebrow, and “what are you doing here?” but walked on before I had to think of a good answer. So we’ll see tomorrow whether I got myself in trouble. Anyhow, I made arrangements to come again tomorrow afternoon and follow a doctor on the ER side (this afternoon I was on the urgent care side, which is no better than a medicine clinic with no followup and even more drugseekers than usual).

I was impressed by how carefree the doctor was about the irresponsible/drugseeking/lying nature of several of his clientele, and also how easy it was to admit patients – again, people the residents would have scoffed at the notion of admitting. Perhaps this cheerfulness results from being paid a very decent salary to treat such patients? I would estimate the ER doctors I saw make at least three times what even well-paid residents make.

Hopefully (there I go being morbid again) with the winter storm sweeping through, there will be some action in the ER tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here’s a link to a study done at a pediatric hospital in PA about the effect of computerized ordering systems on patient care. The frightening result: more patients died with the computer system in place. Read the post and comments for speculation on causes and remedies.

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