03 August 2008

Best Chief Complaint

1AM, Friday.

"I need a refill on my Viagra."

No foolin'.

The subsequent conversation went something like this:

Me: (exasperated) You came to the EMERGENCY room at 1AM for a refill on your Viagra?!?

Patient: But it is an emergency.

Me: (incredulous) This is the most trivial, non-urgent thing I have ever seen in the ER. How on earth could it be an emergency?

Patient: (completely impassive) I've got a date tonight.

I didn't have the heart to ask whether his "date" was yet to begin (at 1AM) or whether the girl (?) was waiting in the car. And no, I did not refill his medication, either. I gave him a stern talk abou responsibility and planning ahead and proper use of the ER, scolded him for wasting $200 of the taxpayers' money with such foolishness, and sent him out to his now-joyless date and a follow-up appointment with his Primary Care Physician. Perhaps it was mean of me to deny him the refill, but I work on the same philosophy as the National Park Service: "Don't Feed the Bears."

The mind reels.


  1. Wow. How old was the guy, anyhow? And who starts a date at 1 am?! Great one.

  2. What kind of a provider are you?! I am personally happy and willing to pay for this guys ED visits AND Viagra with my hard earned tax dollars. If we're lucky, he'll knock his date up and create a mini idiot that we can support too!

  3. I've refilled viagra before for a patient from out of town. What the heck...it's a quick visit, he's happy, and the money's green.


  4. Least-favorite related patient statement:

    "But it's an emergency TO ME!"

  5. its a waste of time and as my mother would say "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine"

    done and done.

  6. Amen. Glad you didn't give him the prescription. I'd probably wimp out in this setting and give him what he wanted, pissing and moaning all the way. I need to learn from people like you!

  7. In case you were wondering what diagnosis to code for in this situation, it's the same one I use for patients who come to the ER for "emergency" contraception (Plan B)....anxiety.

    One is anxious because she got laid, the other is anxious because he might not be able to get laid. Neither are really emergencies, but whatever.

  8. Ah, what if he hadn't had a date in years?