A friend of mine recently directed my attention to a blog written by a third-year  internal medicine resident at a hospital "somewhere in a big city" (he's successfully managed to keep both his personal information and location anonymous). Reading through his stories has the remarkable ability to both boil my blood and make me laugh uproariously; as you can expect, his frustration and incredulity with some of his patients is right on par with my particular "clientele."

I'd recommend taking a look, as it's a good read for anyone interested in snippets of ridiculousness (especially if you've ever acted in some capacity of healthcare). One of my favorites: The Sandwich Problem.


It was a sunny day, chipper and bright in every aspect. Breakfast was good, drilltime was hilarious-but-educational, and it was just… too damn happy. I knew something had to ruin the mood.

We're called for some kind of OB problem. As usual, I didn't have time to look at any of the dispatch notes on the way out the door; I hopped in and we took off, fully expecting the typical "I'm six months pregnant and I have a stomachache" sort of call.

Well, I was kind of right.

Outside the door of a small garden apartment complex stood the youngest, smallest pregnant girl I'd ever seen. Perhaps it was due to the relationship of her small stature to her huge belly, but I remember thinking that she was very pregnant, and wondering how it was even possible.

I was so taken aback by this elfen creature who appeared to be in the throes of digesting a medicine ball, and was having difficulty with my usual pointed questions about due date, medicines, prenatal care, etc.

"Uh, I guess we're here for you? Is… is everything… um, so what's wrong?"

"I got in a fight with my sister and she got mad and she threw a big glass thing at me and it hit me in the stomach and my stomach hurt but now it stopped but I called you anyways."

Her words rushed out with the innocently poor sentence structure of a tween who barely reads two grades below her level. Wow. She can't be more than—

"Fourteen," she blurted out, as if reading my face. "Well, I just turned fourteen last week. But now I'm fourteen."

There was almost a proud tone in her squeaky voice, as she rubbed her swollen stomach and clutched a cell phone to her chest.

Waitaminnit. Fourteen now, and she's—

"Almost nine months, thirty-eight weeks, something like that" chirped out of her mouth as she tapped out another text message.

Holy shit.

I shuddered. "So, okay. We're going to take your vital signs while we wait for an ambulance. Is one of your parents home?"

"My dad is on his way back from the store. He wasn't here when it happened, I called you all because I figured I should get checked out. Because, it hit my stomach, something might happen, I don't know."

No, you don't know. You have no fucking idea about what any of this means, do you.

Dad showed up eventually. The profanity he expressed at seeing a bunch of uniformed people standing around outside his apartment with his daughter was drowned out only by the clinking of all the glass inside the bags from the corner store.

Her father pushed right through us, and and we followed him up the stairs slowly. We listened as he bellowed upwards and downwards with his two daughters, who were now standing at the top and bottom of the three-story stairwell.

"Are you serious? You and your sister, again? Well your dumb ass shouldn'ta got into it with her in the first place. She all pregnant and shit. Good job. Well now if you want to go to the hospital, you should get your ass there. See you when you get back. And as for you, get your ass back in the house."

Now or never; I jumped in. "Uh, sir, it doesn't really work like that. You have to go with her, because she's only fourt—"

The old steel door rattled and slammed in my face, mocking my attempt at reasoning.

I brought a gloved hand up to the door, listening to his muffled voice yelling at the older daughter for starting trouble. I sighed and waited for a quiet period so I could knock, again and again.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

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As I read all the above I wondered "How does it work?" Are fire personnel asking for pledges from the public to be paid to this charity when the personnel have their heads shaved? The ad above was not clear to me. I will read it again. The charity is certainly a very worthwhile cause.…
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"For anyone who ever wanted to grow up and become a firefighter... from someone who did just that."
September 2011
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