Speaking of ulterior motives for heading to the ER, we once had a patient come in for something pain-related, and we hooked him up with an IV. The nurse set the needle into the vein, set up the drip, and stepped out of the room to attend to other things. This was what the patient had been waiting for. I saw him leave through our lobby entrance, not noticing that he had the needle still in. The guy got away, not just with pain meds like so many drug seekers but with a free port straight into his veins for whatever chemical he had in mind. Letting him run off with hospital equipment was majorly illegal on our part, and this living liability on the streets could be a big-time issue if something happened and it was tied to us. And if he did score himself the easiest fatal overdose ever, it would hardly be the first death to come out of our ER ...
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You've just arrived at the ER after hearing a loved one has come in. You rush to the front desk, I glance at my computer screen, and I make a phone call. "OK," I say. "Come with me." I walk you all of 10 steps to the "family room," a small waiting area measuring maybe 8 by 10 feet. The doctor enters, tells you your loved one has passed, and leads you to the next room to see his body on a slab.
I knew your loved one was dead from the moment you came to my desk -- my computer listed him as "expired" -- but, I couldn't say anything. I could only follow protocol. And back at my desk, I know the exact moment you hear the news. The family room wall is thick, to block the sound of your crying, but I'm super close on the other side, and I hear every sob.
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It's not like I can pop these in, and cue a "Don't Cry At Work" playlist.
To some people, the hospital is a magical place. If you survive your issue long enough to get there, you're good -- down a few potions and get those HP back up. But, no. Sometimes, you're just fucked. We had one patient who strolled in, presumably heaved a sigh of relief, and then died before making it to the front desk. Steps away from checking in, he just fell down dead in the lobby. The family was furious that we didn't give him faster treatment, but how could we have? He died literally moments after arriving. When you get sick or injured, you're gambling with cards no one can see. If Death wants dat ass, he'll get it.
Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for stuff cut from articles and other things no one should see.
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