Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Never Made That Mistake Again

An older gentlemen had an appointment to see the urologist who shared an office with several other doctors. The waiting room was filled with patients. As He approached the receptionist desk he noticed that the receptionist was a large unfriendly woman who looked like a Sumo wrestler.

He gave her his name.


All the patients in the waiting room snapped their heads around to look at the very embarrassed man. He recovered quickly, and in an equally loud voice replied, "NO, I'VE COME TO INQUIRE ABOUT A SEX CHANGE OPERATION, BUT I DON'T WANT THE SAME DOCTOR THAT DID YOURS."

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Unfortunately...I did that to a patient once. Although...really...I did know better, but I was rushing because we were so busy. It is second nature for me to be discreet and protective of a patient's privacy or anyone else for that matter, but the ER was busy and the out patients were coming in one after the other.

Anyway, this was before OSHA standards were implemented for patient specimens. In our hospital we had to take them directly from the patients. Also, the doctors or their staff would drop them off by us too. These things weren't encased or wrapped in anything and we didn't wear gloves. But I digress.

So this well dressed man comes up to me at the counter and gives me his lab order. It was for a 24 hour urine. The waiting room was packed (right behind him and same room as registration) and there were people near him at the counter waiting for their turn. (pre HIPPA days too) Without taking the crowded area into consideration...I blurted out, "DO YOU HAVE YOUR 24 HOUR URINE WITH YOU?"

That poor man! I swear he shrank before my eyes and I could see he was mortified with embarrassment. He leaned closer to me over the counter and said in a real hushed voice, "I was hoping to do this quietly so no one would notice." I was instantly sorry for being so insensitive and I apologized. He then handed me the big brown container. He must've felt like all eyes were on him and the container at that point. At least he got to leave right after that.

From the staff perspective...if you've seen one specimen ...you've seen a hundred. Still...to that one patient...it IS a big deal and sometimes they have to muster up the courage to come in to do these things in the first place. And so they don't need to be further embarrassed because of the staff's insensitivity.

It was a lesson I learned at his expense and I never made that mistake again.


Chrysalis Angel said...

Poor thing. It is easy to forget to be careful with conversations especially. Whether it's telling so and so they need to schedule such and such for Mr. so and so, or talking about the next set up that's coming in. It's the day to day place for those that work there. We forget that people that don't work there are listening and watching everything.

SeaSpray said...

It's true. But after that incident...I never again just blurted out anything about a specimen. I knew better but was caught in the momentum of trying to get everything done to keep things moving. To me it was a urine-schmurine sample -shop talk and I forgot all about his feelings.

But...at least I learned from it.

You are so right! Receptionists need to be more discreet about pt info. Not only the patients...they ALSO need to be careful what they say about the doctor and other staff when talking among themselves. I have seen this many times.

Supermodel MP said...

SeaSpray, you have done it again! My poor hubby, off with stress, is now bent double in stitches with your sumo wrestling sex change story! He has made a mental note to remember that (also noting the rest of the post) and we both say thank you for the light you have switched on again.

SeaSpray said...

You know it warms my heart to know I crack your hubby up with my stories, but of course the sex change joke wasn't mine. I didn't see an author for it.

I am glad to know you are both laughing. Laughter is healing and really does turn a light on in one's spirit.

Thank you for sharing that. :)

I do wonder if most people get my humor about the absurdity of kegel tug-of-wars with a speculum? I know some do which is a relief or else maybe I should be concerned about my mental health? ;) haha!

I have a post called Bajingo Olympics sitting in my drafts that ties into the kegels but not sure how far to go with it. :)

John McElveen said...


Go ALL the WAY of course. I know of your struggle with Bloggers remorse LOL- I can see and feel the wheels turning....should I or Shouldn't I.....hmmmmmm.

You'll do the right thing. Go with your Spirit!


SeaSpray said...

Alright John, I'll do the Bajingo Olympics. I have it saved and so when the mood strikes...I will post it. :)

John McElveen said...


Can't wait for the Freestyle Long Program!!!!!! LOL


SeaSpray said...

LOL! :)