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Determining your own prognosis in the hospital

October 14, 2009
Non-Clinical Clinical Prognostic Indicators
Good Prognosis:
Your doctor hasn’t seen you yet, and you’ve been waiting for (insert average wait time) hours.
You’re in a bed in the hallway.
Your complaint consists of “months” or “years” of pain/nausea/headache/X Y Z.
You’ve come to the emergency department for a second opinion, despite multiple subspecialist evaluations.
You answer yes to every symptom the doctor asks you about.
You get a blood draw, but no IV.
The only medication you’re given is tylenol.
Your doctor says the words “probably” and “virus” in the same sentence.
You are talking on your cellphone, playing a game, or chit-chatting.
You are talking on your cellphone, playing a game, or chit-chatting and the doctor has to ask you to stop.
You “just wanted to get it checked out.”
Your primary care doctor sighs on the phone when the emergency physician calls him or her.
Bad Prognosis:
You get not one, but two IVs.
You remark, as my GI bleeder did last night, “Boy, I’ve never been to a hospital so attentive and efficient!”
You get your own personal doctor to take you to the CT scanner.
Multiple doctors, nurses, and staff greet you in your room.
The triage nurse walks you to your room and points at you while speaking to the doctor.
You get a room all to yourself.
You get a monitor.
Your monitor keeps beeping, even though you’re not doing anything.
Your doctor keeps checking on you.
Your doctor sticks a finger in your bottom.
You don’t argue with the doctor about getting this treatment or that one.
You are kind, good-natured, and have been a good person in this life.

“Non-Clinical Clinical Prognostic Indicators”

[from The Central Line; visit for the full lists]

Good Prognosis:

  • Your doctor hasn’t seen you yet, and you’ve been waiting for (insert average wait time) hours.
  • You’re in a bed in the hallway.
  • Your complaint consists of “months” or “years” of pain/nausea/headache/X Y Z.
  • You’ve come to the emergency department for a second opinion, despite multiple subspecialist evaluations.
  • You answer yes to every symptom the doctor asks you about.
  • You get a blood draw, but no IV.
  • The only medication you’re given is tylenol.

Bad Prognosis:

  • You get not one, but two IVs.
  • You remark, as my GI bleeder did last night, “Boy, I’ve never been to a hospital so attentive and efficient!”
  • You get your own personal doctor to take you to the CT scanner.
  • Multiple doctors, nurses, and staff greet you in your room.
  • The triage nurse walks you to your room and points at you while speaking to the doctor.
  • You get a room all to yourself.
  • You get a monitor.
  • Your monitor keeps beeping, even though you’re not doing anything.
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