Friday, January 26, 2007


Q. How do you hide a $100 dollar bill from a surgeon?
A. Put it in a book with no pictures.

Q. How do you hide a $100 dollar bill from an internist?
A. Put it under a dressing.

It's meant as a joke, of course, but there's a bit of truth to it still. And I'm ashamed to say, I lived out the second half of it today. Last night I did a post operative check on a patient who had spine surgery. And I'm getting into the swing of neurosurgery, so I check his reflexes, muscular strength, etc, which is all they really care about usually.

Except this patient was a bit different. Because of some special conditions with his surgery, he had a drain sewn into the wound, one which was important to check. So this morning, on rounds, my chief asked "how much did the drain put out?" My only answer could be "I don't know, but I'll check." So the intern and I dropped a few notches in the estimation of our team. The problem is, we hadn't known to look for a drain, because there had been no mention of it in the operative note. Not an excuse, but it showed how mistakes get propagated up the chain. Fortunately, the patient was fine.

So, this afternoon I was asked to do another pre-op check. And to ward off any reminding corrections, I said "sure, I'll do it. And this time, I'm stripping the patient naked before I write the note."

This guy didn't have a drain. But I won't make that mistake again.

I hope.


zhoen said...

Where do you hide $10 from an orthopod?
Stick it on a patient.

Where do you hide $10 from a general surgeon?
Put it in the chart.

Where do you hide $10 from a plastic surgeon?

Trick question, you can't hide money from a plastic surgeon.

(Heard this week at work.)

Jessica said...

Hi, I just found your blog recently and I am really enjoying it. I'm an M3.

Nathan said...

zhoen - I've heard the version "how do you hide $100 from a radiologist? Put it on a patient."

jessica - thanks for dropping by

zhoen said...

Yeah, but there is a radiographic strip on new bills, so that will need some ammendment.

medstudentitis said...

I'm enjoying everyone's jokes. It's better that one learns their weaknesses now than when there's nobody there to watch your back.

Matt said...

How do you hide $100 from an OB-GYN?
"Let her family hold it."

How do you hide $100 from a pediatrician?
"You don't have to, they won't recognize it."