Looking for the wisdom of the crowd for the best one-liners that convince your patients of things. I’ve heard a couple recently that I like:
- From Keeping Up in EM, on antibiotics for URIs for kids: “I don’t think we’re going to need antibiotics this time, we need to save them so when we need them they’re really going to work.”
- From a Peds EM attending on cough medicines for kids: “Oh, those haven’t been tested in children–and I don’t want your child to be the test!”
- On teenagers having unprotected sex/without birth control or use it “not always”: “Oh wow, so you’re already looking to have children! Do you want a boy or a girl?” This is usually followed by a blank stare from said teen, who thinks I’m insane. “I just figured you must want kids, since it only takes one time to get pregnant.” (Teenagers require a special kind of approach, I think. Their brains don’t work right.)
- On undifferentiated abdominal pain: “I don’t know what you had, but I’m glad I was able to make you feel better. About a third of the time we don’t know what caused people’s pain in the Emergency Department, but it’s not life-threatening and people get better. I could lie and make up a diagnosis, but I don’t think that’d help you or me.”
- On convincing someone to get necessary testing or doing a pelvic/genital/rectal exam they don’t want or think necessary: “I know it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient, but I would be a bad doctor if I missed this or didn’t try to make sure it’s not X.”
Would love to hear people’s other tidbits. I still have a difficult time with some of these conversations, especially “I need a CAT scan of my head.” These obviously don’t always work, but they help translate the medicalese into words patients can understand and relate to–and show that you’re on their side.