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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Looking for Mr. Goodstein

It is an age-old question with which doctors have wrestled for generations. Perhaps as old as the practice of Medicine itself:

What to do if the patient you are visiting is not in his room? Does Muhammad go to the Mountain? Or does Muhammad wait for the Mountain to get wheeled back up from radiology?

Such was the dilemma that Doctor Bean and I faced when he somehow talked me into making rounds with him at General Hospital on Sunday.

Doctor Bean was a disciple of the school of thought that said, "Oh well. We'll come back later."

But me? I learned from the school of hard knocks. Knock hard on the door. No answer? Knock harder. We didn't 'come back later' in The South Bronx. No sir. Coming back later could get you killed! Would you cross town through a volley of gunfire just because a patient was off somewhere getting a barium enema? Of course not. So I was determined to show him how we did things where I came from.

"No, seriously PT, we'll come back later."

"What are you, a sissy, Doctor?"


"We're gonna find that patient, and we're gonna examine him, and then by golly we're gonna bill him! Is that clear?"

"It's really no big deal--"


"--I live 5 minutes from here..."

"Get to the nursing station and find out where that AWOL patient is!!"

We soon found out that Mr. Goodstein, 87 years old with a bad hip and a badder ticker, was down in XRAY getting his pelvis irradiated.

"OK Bean. Let's ride."

"But I don't know where Radiology is. I've never even been down there."

"You call yourself an Attending Physician? You're the sorriest excuse for a doctor I've ever seen. Now get to that stairwell and give me 20..steps!"

"Actually, it would be better if we took the elevator."

And so we did. As we rode down that metal chariot to the unknown hell that lay beneath us, Doctor Bean took those last few moments of sanctuary to go over information about the patient. Information, that might prove vital to the very survival of our missing man.

We exited the elevator and soon approached the gateway to the unknown.

"I really don't know where this goes."

"No time for cowardice now, Bean. There's no turning back."

"Why not? We can still come back lat--"

"NO GUTS NO GLORY, BEANHEAD!! Now get through those doors or I'll fill you with gastrograffin!"

Reluctantly, Doctor Bean pushed forwards. And then to the right. And then to the right again. And twice to the left. A door was open. We peered inside.

Nothing. Nothing but the empty shell of a once vital and operating CT scanner.

"I don't know what kind of Armageddon happened down here, Bean, but WE'LL FIND YOUR MAN!"

"Really, I don't know where they do the hip XRAYs."

"We'll search this labyrinth room by room if necessary!"

"But that could take hours!"

"Then we'd better get started."

"But our wives, they're waiting for us and they'll get mad if we're late!"


"Uhh...yeah....um...right. Good thinking.



MC Aryeh said...

Ha! Hysterical. And Dr. Bean bears a striking resemblence to Rowan Atkinson from the back of the head view. Can't wait to see his version of events,,,

cruisin-mom said...

Wow...is Dr. Bean wearing a "puffy" shirt? Wish my doctor was so stylish.

Anonymous said...

I have lurked here for months, and I finally have to write in and say that I love this blog for exactly the kind of screwball humor that I've come to expect from ol PT. Probably will never post again, but I do want you to know you're appreciated by more than you'll ever know. ;-)

PsychoToddler said...

Anonymous: You just made my day. :-D

Doctor Bean said...

MCAryeh: What do you mean, my version? That's exactly how it hapenned. We spent (wasted) 20 minutes searching with determination (wandering aimlessly) through parts of the hospital I never hope to see again. It was Sunday morning so the place was mostly deserted and there wasn't anyone to ask for help. We finally abandoned the search (wild goose chase). I came back that evening and saw my patient, just in time to turn over my old dented trash-filled Saturn to PT and his wife for their romantic dinner, which Mrs. Balabusta describes eloquently here.

Doctor Bean said...

Cruisin-mom: Eat your heart out.

Mirty said...

We're gonna find that patient, and we're gonna examine him, and then by golly we're gonna bill him!

Picturing patients fleeing their doctors, those sad hospital gowns flying open behind them as they run....

wanderer said...

One word. Hilarious. Who WAS that guy in the puffy shirt? (It's not Bean).

I have to admit I'm of the PT school of thought, and have travelled through the bowels of the hospital searching for patients. (I trained in the South Bronx as well...) I'll also admit that on occasion I've taken the Bean approach and come back later. Other times, and if the patient is doing well and also being seen by other docs who are "taking care of business," I might skip the whole visit and just call the patient later on their bedside phone and let 'em know I'm thinking about 'em. One of the perks of being a specialist...

PsychoToddler said...

That was Rowan Atkinson in one of his many incarnations, this time I think Blackadder the II.

Digitally replacing Doctor Bean using the most advanced computer magic available.

Wanderer, one day we'll have to write a little something about that South Bronx hospital where I'm sure we both did Surgery rotations.

Steg (dos iz nit der ลกteg) said...

MASH anyone?

torontopearl said...

Are you sure that you weren't reincarnated, along with Doctor Bean, Mrs. Balabusta and Ball-and- Chain? Weren't you folks a writing team for YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS?

Yeah, I really...DIDN'T THINK SO!

You four should've been on Bob Hope's "entertain the troops" junkets...! You're certainly entertaining us...

dilbert said...

How long has Dr. Bean been on staff at that hospital? and he doesn't know where radiology is? gevalt.

It is a tough dilemma. My solution usually depends on the acuity of the patient. If they aren't too acute, usually a chat with the nurse is sufficient. If not, I pursue them through the bowels of the hospital, no matter what the cost in time and treasure. Usually they are back in the room by the time I catch up with them.

Mrs. Balabusta said...

As for Anonymous---"They're comingt out ov da voodvork.."

As for Dr. Bean and the "Physician's Entrance Only" sign, I thought the caption should be - "But I wanted to get out!"

And as for Dilbert-- you should know better than to put "Acute" and "nurse" in the same sentence. Wars have started that way mister.

There are some hospitals that the PT goes to that have Large Screen TVs and mocha-chino makers just for physicians who are waiting for the patients to get out of x-ray. In fact, that is why he has priviliges at that hospital.

PsychoToddler said...

Mrs. Balabusta is acute nurse.

Doctor Bean said...

Dilbert: I know where radiology is. It's on 3 different floors depending on the specific test. Except for outpatient stuff which is in a seperate wing. We were definitely looking in radiology. We just didn't know where he was in radiology. We'll probably never know.

PsychoToddler said...

Wanderer and Dilbert: The admitting physician doesn't have the...luxury...of skipping a day. We need to leave a note EVERY SINGLE DAY.


wanderer said...

Actually not true. The patient just has to be seen by A physician, not necessarily the admitting physician. Its ok though, we like the admitting physician to THINK that they have to see the patient everyday, makes life easier for us rockstar specialists.

Ezzie said...

OMG - Hilaaaarious.... (what, trying to win that humor award?!)

Jack's Shack said...

Made me smile.

dilbert said...

better acute nurse than an obtuse one(poor math joke for Dr. Bean). Us sub-sub-sub-sub specialists sometimes can go months without leaving notes. :-)

Stacey said...

How cool that you were able to accompany Doc Bean on his rounds at the hospital, PT. Doc Bean, you look awesome in the white coat!

Toby Katz said...

You guys are hilarious but are doctors allowed to have a sense of humor while making rounds or only after hours? I've had more experience with hospitals than I ever wanted and they never have a sense of humor when they make rounds, they are always grumpy and rushed and if you don't waylay them and catch them on the run you can't get a single question in.

When my son was in the hospital for back surgery I didn't even dare leave his bedside to go to the bathroom from 7 AM until whenever in case I missed the surgeon on his flying run.

My rule for patients in the hospital, adults or kids, is: for every horizontal person there has to be a vertical person. I realize some people don't have moms or extended family to stay with them in the hospital 24/7 but that vertical person comes in handy for telling the doc where the patient has been abducted to if he is not in his bed and also for asking the doctor questions that the patient is too groggy to ask or to remember the answers to.

Essie said...

Absolutely hilarious!

Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

man you doctors have alot of fun
what about romance
is that goingon?

PsychoToddler said...

No, we're just friends.