May 15th, 2006

Whale fluke

Anatomy of a false alarm

- Get my first batch of jobs to correct this morning at work.

- Read the name of one ER patient, which is EXACTLY the name (and a distinctive one, at that) of a college friend.

- Notice that said patient is in for depression and serious drug withdrawal right before the name really registers, because recognizing the name then triggers the rule that if by any chance I know the patient, I can't look at or correct the report. (Confidentiality. It's not just a good idea, it's the law.)

- Feel an empty feeling in my stomach because, if I do know this person...

- Feel relief when I see the patient's age, which is 8 years too young to be my college friend, who presumably is not having problems with depression or drugs, combined with worry over the person who is having these problems.