Sunday, April 25, 2010

Speechless: Two Quick Tales

Two quick tales from last night's shift that truly left me at a loss for words.

Here’s what I said into the voice recognition software at 4 AM last night:

“The patient calmed considerably after administration of Dilaudid, Ativan, and Zofran. She is subsequently discharged home in stable condition.”

Here’s what it heard:

“The patient came considerably after menstruation of Diludid, Ativan, and Zofran. She is sexually discharged home in stable condition.”

No comment required.


Our ED is a big place, and its often hard to find someone when you need them. So in order to communicate across time and space, we use a device called a Vocera. Essentially it’s a voice messaging system. At the start of your shift, you log in to the system with your name; in order to contact someone else, you ask the system to find them by name and when the connection is made, you talk to them over the air in real time.

The Vocera device is worn around the neck off a lanyard. Last night our loyal and faithful unit secretary was talking to someone and needed me to participate in the conversation. So she leaned over and dangled the Vocera device towards me. The only way to talk into this thing is to face it head on and shout as loudly as possible. This meant that not only was I staring at her chest, but I was also yelling at it. As a member of the testosterone-fueled branch of the species, I was used to doing the former from time to time over the years, but the latter was an entirely new experience.

After the conversation was over, I felt like I needed to say something to her. (I have to say her because she doesn’t want to be named, even though her name rhymes with both Channukah and Santa Monica.) “Hey, I just got to tell you. That was weird, just talking to your chest like that. I feel like I should get reported to Human Resources or something.”

“Don’t worry about it,” she laughed. “Most men do that all the time. Besides, it’s not like there’s that much to look at anyway.”

Again, I’m speechless.

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