Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cheapskates and Freeloaders

Lately it seems that each shift features several patients who want me to provide them with amenities on top of their ‘emergency’ care. I’m not talking about the homeless/otherwise disenfranchised population, but regular joe-schmoes trying to scam me out of something or the other. For example, I was in the middle of taking out a saline lock from a 20-something year old guy when he demands a sandwich and juice. He was holding a Starbucks coffee cup in the other hand and was sitting beside a half eaten subway sandwich next to him. Sandwich and juice denied.

The next set of offenders was a middle aged couple who kept asking for juice and jello every 20 minutes. They had to be not so politely reminded that we have a limited supply of food in the middle of the night and they’re clearly not the only patients in the department. On top of that the husband was NPO because he's waiting for the OR so there is no way in hell he'd be getting something to eat on my watch.

However, my all time favourites are the ones who ask for public transit or taxi vouchers when they have their wallets with them. I had one patient from a very well to do part of town ask me for a taxi voucher because he didn’t want to call his wife in the middle of the night to pick him up. He also did not want to use his credit card or an ATM not belonging to his bank because he did not trust cabbies and did not want to pay the $1.50 fee to get home at 0330. Again, I had to not so gently remind him that since he took the taxi to the hospital, he can use our taxi phone and take the taxi back home and stop near his bank. He of course threatened to sue me (maybe the taxi voucher savings could have been set aside for his future legal endeavours?) before storming out dramatically.

I want to put up another sign saying something along the lines of the ER not being a pediatrician’s office in which one will get a proverbial lollipop during or after your visit if it’s not deemed necessary. Courtesy people, courtesy!


sara said...

I used to get the patients asking for taxi vouchers while they had their starbucks in hand.....ick!

Mar's Bar said...

People are so cheap, but to be fair, it is a recession :P
I'm just kidding. Honestly, go to the ATM you cheapo.
(ps, I am no one to speak, I make my sister buy me coffee everyday because I'm "broke")

Chris said...

I see this on lots of ER blogs (I love to read them - I'm not in the medical field, just find them fascinating!) and when I have had to use the ER, I would NEVER think to ask for food or drink. You're in the EMERGENCY room - you're not there to have a sandwich. Aren't you supposed to be really sick (ha ha)?? I've asked for a drink of water, sure, and I've been offered a can of pop to wash some meds down, but ask for a MEAL? Wow.