Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cashing Out

The other I day I picked up a chart in which the chief complaint read: ANGRY. The whiteboard wasn't much help, where under chief complaint, there was the shorthand symbol for psychiatry-- it looks like a pitchfork... sometime I need to look this symbol up, to see whether it's a reference to being tortured by demons or more likely, something far less creative.

Anyway, I sighed and started the long walk towards Room 15, our designated psychiatric room. There's nothing much different about it, other than that it is a physical room with a locking door (as opposed to a curtained off area, like most of our other bed spaces), absolutely no equipment in it, and covered, locked electrical outlets.

I asked my patient why had come in and he said that he was angry because his personal things were stolen from the shelter he lived at. He had filed multiple complaints with the police department and was getting no results. He said that he was here for someone to "write me a check to pay for all of my missing things."

After running through a long, exhausting social history and review of systems to make sure there was nothing wrong with him, we finally returned to his missing stuff. No, he wasn't angry enough to be homicidal. No, he wasn't going to hurt himself. I told him I didn't think we could write him a check, because we don't do that, but perhaps the social worker could see him and see if there was anything else that could be done.

Then I found my attending and told him the story. He said something along the lines of, "What do you mean he wants a check?" So, we walked down to Room 15 again, where my attending proceeded to tell the guy that we don't write checks, we take care of sick people. I know that we see a lot of people for routine stuff that should be covered by their regular doctor, but most of them at least come in with a medical complaint!

After waiting for over an hour for the social worker to arrive, the gentleman walked out. I don't know where he is going to get that check, but when he does, I hope that he gets one for me, too.


~~Silk said...

Is it possible the symbol for psychiatry is the Greek letter "psi? (See )

Chris said...

You should have broken Bobby Orr on him and given him a hockey style check! (kidding of course)

Sad though, isn't it, that he really has no one and now nothing.