The Laws of Emergency Medicine
There are a number of indisputable tenets of Life in the ED. Some are inherently obvious, such as "Unspeakable evil will befall us should anyone utter the "Q" word." (That would be "Quiet" for the non-medical folks.) There are, however, a number of other fundamental principles which any experienced emergency provider can attest to. I have assembled some here for your education and edification.
- The Patient will always lie.
- (Corollary to #1) If the Patient is unable to lie, the family will do so for them.
- If you allow them to, the Patient will likely hurt you.
- Never, ever, under any circumstances, take off the shoes.
- Never start a shift with an empty stomach or a procedure with a full bladder.
- Multiply the stated amount of alcohol consumed by two (by three on weekends).
- The room where you perform a rectal exam will never have hemoccult developer.
- The word "stool sample" cure diarrhea.
- Never stand when you can sit.
- If it looks like a donut, eat it.
- Don't fuck with the pancreas.
- The likelihood the pregnancy test will be positive is directly proportionate to the intensity of the patient's protestation that she cannot possibly be pregnant.
- The probability of *any* patient having an acute medical problem varies inversely with the number of patients checking in together.
- The most dangerous diagnosis an ED patient can have is "Just Drunk."
- Every patient who comes to the ED has this common goal: to find a way to die on you and make you look bad.
Feel free to propose additional Laws in the comments.
Originally posted 14 Feb 2006