I was in the Emergency department of Yodelville Memorial Hospital the other day. I had a spill on some very unfriendly ice and badly twisted my ankle, and though I was pretty sure I didn’t have a tib-fib fracture, I wasn’t completely sure. (It wasn’t and the care in the Yodelville emerg was good.)

In the waiting room was this sign, at least 4′ by 5′, black on white:

I need this sign. I want to point it out to patients. It tells you, unless you are actually dying, to shut up. And the italics provide just the right soupçon of sarcasm, don’t you think?


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  1. #1 by mog on Friday 19 February 2010 - 1015

    Er, were you in my hospital?? We have that sign or something very similar!

  2. #2 by JennJilks on Friday 19 February 2010 - 1553

    Enquiring minds want to know!
    Were you in Mog’s ED?!

    It’s bizarre, everyone does believe THEY are the most important one there.
    Our tourists are the same.
    I’d like the same type of sign in the grocery store.
    I told about the story where someone in line demanded that all ‘locals’ should go shopping during the week, not weekends when tourists were in town.
    Someone went over and decked him. Everyone cheered!

    You keep on keeping on, we need Primary Care Staff. You do a wonderful job.

    • #3 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 24 February 2010 - 2114

      If it was somewhere in rural Ontario, it was me. :)

  3. #4 by Mog on Friday 19 February 2010 - 2030

    I’ve just checked, we have that sign, except that it says EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT in bold letters not italics.

    Many years ago I worked in an Accident and Emergency department in London UK. The trauma stuff came in the side doors and was never seen by the walking wounded. One evening it was as city Emerges often are with resus stuffed full of majorly bleeding and gruesomes. The only staff seen in the main waiting room was the admiting clerk. When one of the nurses came out and was met with rude complaints from one of the waiting patients she grabbed him by the collar, dragged him to resus, opened the door and said “that’s why you are waiting”

    He spent the rest of the evening telling everyone in the waiting room to be patient as ‘they’ were very busy, very busy indeed.

    • #5 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 24 February 2010 - 2115

      Hmmmm… well the care was great, anyway…I may have met you, and you never knew it!

  4. #6 by Maha on Friday 19 February 2010 - 2227

    I need that sign in my department yesterday but my boss would have a shit fit about it not being ‘patient friendly’. I’m so tired of telling the same spiel to everyone about having to wait their turn. I had a lady today with a little bump on her head thinking she was about to die and she would not stop bitching at me about how the department was empty and no one was seeing her so I did what the commenter above described – violated patient confidentiality and we strolled along to resus where a young guy with a horrific tib-fib fracture and chest trauma was being intubated… awake. She felt ‘queasy’ and then sat back down in her stretcher and took out her roasry beads.

    • #7 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 24 February 2010 - 2116

      Heh, I like that approach! And the rosary beads!

  5. #8 by Zoe on Saturday 20 February 2010 - 1410

    A colleague of mine, after dealing with this jerk at triage, took him on a tour of the department, and told him if he could find an empty stretcher, he could have it. She showed him the ongoing code in resus, the patients laying on stretchers in the hallway and in the supply room, the old grannies lying on stretchers in the back hallway waiting to be seen. She showed him the vomiting GI bleed that looked like he had exploded everywhere, the gory fractures sucking on entanox, and then escorted him back to the waiting room….where he sat down and waited patiently for his turn.

    Sometimes, they just need a little dose of reality

  6. #9 by Lindsay on Monday 26 July 2010 - 2033

    I have also seen a similar sign in the emergency room at one of the hospitals in northern ontario! Smart :)

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