Dear potential Emergency Department patients, just so you know, at 0241 in the morning, these are not emergencies:

Diaper rash times 1 day.

Sore finger. No decreased range of motion, no erythema, no apparent injury.

Drank too much, feel nauseated. (cf. “I think someone put something in my drink because I feel sick.”)

Smoked marijuana, feeling “weird”.

Can’t sleep.

For pelvic ultrasound, requested by GP three days ago. Pain resolved.

Gout, script refill for allopurinol.

Menstrual cramping.

Indwelling catheter replacement.

Abdominal pain times three months. Wanted to get it “checked out”. No other symptoms.

Vomiting times two, one hour ago.

Bladder infection, had one dose of antibiotics from GP, not better.

2 years old, had fever of 37.9, given Motrin, no fever at present, no other symptoms.

Chronic back pain, script ran out.


Migraine headache times 5 days, “only Demerol works!”

Pregnancy test requests, aka “missed period and have pain.”

RLQ pain times 2 hours. “Telehealth told me to come in, it might be appendicitis.” Then texting and laughing while getting vitals.

Please tape on your fridge for future reference.

Thank you.


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  1. #1 by mog on Sunday 31 January 2010 - 1053

    I think they come in in the small hours as they think they won’t have to wait as long. I know those patients only too well, and they even wonder why they have to come back the next day for their x-rays.

  2. #2 by Art Doctor on Sunday 31 January 2010 - 1743


    What about this one:

    P- I think I broke my shin-bone.

    N- Can you walk?

    P- Yes.

  3. #3 by torontoemerg on Sunday 31 January 2010 - 2214

    Art Doc: I think I have heard that one too or variations… I’ll need to add it to my list.

  4. #4 by A Nurse on Sunday 09 May 2010 - 1118

    re: “Telehealth told me to come in”
    Just to clarify, as a “telehealth RN”…..
    1. More than likely he was probably told to treat himself at home or to wait and see his own MD the next day.
    2. He lied to the Telehealth RN about his symptoms and played the histrionics card to get the “OK” to go to ER. In other words, he would have gone in to ER with or without the “permission” of the “telehealth” RN.
    3. He was probably one of 1000 clients phoning the “telehealth” line with the same symptoms – all with the intention to go to ER, was told to stay home and was the only one that went in anyway.

    Just to let ER nurses know…..out of all the people you see us send in…. there are a lot more that we keep from going to ER…..you just don’t see those ones… ;)

  5. #5 by A Nurse on Sunday 09 May 2010 - 1122

    oh….and by the way….I could make up another whole list of “unemergencies” that WOULD HAVE brought people to ER ….having “heard it all” over the phone….. :) It just makes you want to shake your head……

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