Makomed's Weblog

Sugar Not So Sweet

Posted on: May 30, 2005

I work as a nurse at the clinic and one of my ongoing tasks is to educate the patient over the phone over lab results ordered by the doctor. I’m weary of this because of Privacy Act reasons–I cannot tell if the patient is actually who they say they are over the phone. I’m also afraid that the patient will “freak out” since oftentimes many do when I tell them that their results are abnormal, albeit not fatally so.

Today my doctor asked me to call a patient over the phone and tell him that the amount of damaged liver cells in his body had increased and so he must see the Liver Doctor. I was weary of this patient because he had a very anxious personality and I did not want him to become more aggravated. He answered the phone and asked me what was wrong.

“Well, nothing is that wrong,” I said. “I just wanted to tell you that your hepatic cell count has increased just a little bit.”

“…So you’re telling me that my liver has gotten worse?!?”

“Um, not necessarily. You should just go see the Liver Doctor. Hmm, maybe sometime soon? Not too long, though. I mean, don’t wait too long.”

“Oh, my God. Is this bad?”

“Well, kinda…?”

“Alright, just TELL me if it is or not. Obviously if you want me to see the specialist something is going WRONG with my liver, right?”

“Yes, but I just didn’t want you to worry that much.”

“STOP IT. Just be straight with me, okay? Is there something wrong with my liver or not?”

“Yes, sir. There is something wrong. You need to see the Liver specialist.”

“Thank you. I will. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, sir.”

–I should have been more candid.


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