Medical humor: Hospital chart bloopers
by Lorien E. Menhennett
One day many years ago I was talking with my dad about his job as a family practice physician.
“Do you know what my most important tool is?” he asked.
I thought for a minute. “Your stethoscope?” It seemed a logical answer.
“No, my pen,” he responded.
Insurance paperwork to fill out, prescriptions to write, and probably most of all, the infamous charting. Everything you do and observe as a physician is supposed to go in a patient’s chart. As I have seen at the free clinic where I work, this can take quite a while and be a very detail-oriented task, especially if there are multiple issues going on with the patient.
Here I present some examples of medical charting gone wrong, courtesy of an e-mail from my mom. I hope to post more humorous pieces like this in the future, because as the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Enjoy!
Hospital Chart Bloopers
- The patient refused autopsy.
- The patient has no previous history of suicides.
- Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.
- Note: patient here — recovering from forehead cut. Patient became very angry when given an enema by mistake.
- Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
- On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.
- The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
- The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
- Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
- Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
- Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
- She is numb from her toes down.
- While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.
- The skin was moist and dry.
- Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.
- Patient was alert and unresponsive.
- Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.
- She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.
- I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.
- Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.
- The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
- Skin: somewhat pale but present.
- Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.