8 ways your patients can fool you


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Patients can pull the wool over your eyes over and over again, and you’ll never even know it…or so they hope. Cue the Bassoons of Doom, people: Here are some ways your patients will try to fool you, thinking you’ll fall for it.


8 ways your patients can fool you

1. “I’m not a junkie!”
This is number one for a reason. If you have a patient who is allergic to NSAIDs and morphine, who can sing and dance through a 10 out of 10 pain level, and who asks that you put that hydromorphone down at the lowest point in their IV, chances are they’ll tell you that they could take or leave that pain medicine (and the Phenergan that goes with it) any old time.

2. “I swear I didn’t get up on my own!”
Usually said from the floor, where the patient is lying in a heap, with the bed alarm screaming.

3. “I have no idea how that bag of donuts got in there.”
That one I heard once (though it was a half a bag of donuts by that point) from a guy who was hooked up to an insulin drip with q 30-minute blood sugar checks.

4. “That’s my cousin.”
This one usually comes out when the third of three attractive young women has shown up at the bedside, each demanding some say in the patient’s care. Bigamy is more common than the general public thinks.

5. “I have restless-leg syndrome.”
This one came right before I twitched the blankets back to reveal a sad-eyed, absolutely adorable long-haired Dachshund at the patient’s feet. No matter how cute your dog is, she cannot spend the night with you in the hospital.

6. “I faint at the sight of blood/I punch when people stick me/I vomit when confronted with syringes.”
Usually said by really big, tough military guys or people of either sex with gauged-out earlobes and multiple tattoos. It doesn’t matter; you’re gonna get stuck.

7. “I’m a doctor/nurse.”
“I took six weeks of online classes in homeopathy from Fred Friendly University back in 1979.”

8. “I just love all you guys.”
Translated, this means “Get the discharge paperwork ready before I lower myself from the window on a rope made of sheets.” (Note: This might also come from the mouth of a colleague who’s hospitalized, in which case you should get the discharge paperwork ready that much faster.)

Agatha Lellis
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

    Nurse cartoons – Gown

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