SALT LAKE CITY — Anyone who has ever worked in an emergency room will know exactly whom I'm referring to when I say "some people."
When I first started working in an ER, I was sure I would be able to help anyone who walked in the door. After a few months, however, I realized "some people" have issues neither I nor anyone else can ever fix.
I have seen normal people become abnormal very quickly when they begin to tell me the reason for their visit to the ER. Because the many weird illnesses and injuries I've encountered over the years could be seen in any hospital, I will not give names or dates — just stories.
- "Some people" bring in the cap that fell off their tooth in a cup of milk — something they heard you were supposed to do if your teeth fall out.
- "Some people" swallow keys, razors, open safety pins, toy cars and trucks, metal spoons, etc.
- "Some people" find a cut on their hand — which will not even need 1 stitch — to be a life-threatening condition.
"Some people," like a farmer I worked with, come to the ER and say, "I cut my finger." ... upon examination we find out that by "cut" he meant "cut off his middle and ring finger."
- "Some people," like a farmer I worked with, come to the ER and say, "I cut my finger. Could a doctor come put a few stitches in so I can get back to the field?" Then upon examination we find out that by "cut" he meant "cut off his middle and ring finger." Needless to say, that took a little more than a couple of stitches.
- "Some people" store their kitchen utensils inside their body instead of in the kitchen.
- "Some people" have overdosed on things like dexitrim, laxatives, peppermint oil, multi-vitamins, caffeine, etc., only to find out the charcoal and ipicac we give them to drink is more of a deterrent than the effects of overdose itself.
- "Some people," along with their relatives, deny pregnancy is to blame for their illness — to the point that family members threaten to sue the hospital for false testing — only to find out a due date for baby via ultrasound a few weeks later.
- "Some people" show up with self-inflicted wounds they claim resulted from a stranger's attack. Their real goal: obtaining prescription pain medication.
- "Some people" bring their children to the ER with a massive head bruise and claim the child ran into the door several times, then demand the bruise be "fixed."
- "Some people," due to mental illness, remove their eyeballs from the sockets and say the little people in their head told them to do so, so they could get out. All the while, their family members are claiming the incident is only a result of post-partum depression.
- "Some people" come in with 6-inch straight nails they drove through their own head. I could go on and on, but this is just a sampling of why you should not be surprised when a medical professional shows little to no reaction to these types of ER patients. We are sometimes referred to as non-caring or rude, but we have been trained to withhold judgment, give great care, and support "some people" to wellness.
After all, "some people" are people too.
Suzanne Carlile, "Nurse Suzy," has been a nurse since 1982. Her main focus is critical care and nursing education. She holds a master's degree in nursing, is a Certified Emergency Nurse, and a member of NNSDO Intermountain West Chapter.