Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Coulda" saved some time

A 66 y/o male came in for a new patient visit.

After taking his lengthy history, I stepped out while he undressed for the physical exam.

When I came back in the exam room I noticed he had a large tattoo on his chest.

On closer inspection it was a list.

On even closer inspection, I noticed it was his medical history.

Allergy: Penicillin

#1. Tonsils 1958

#2. Appendix 1967

#3. Heart bypass X 4: 1988

#4. Repeat bypass X 2: 1991

#5. Gallbladder 1998

Me: I've never seen such an informative tattoo before.

Patient: I just figured it would be helpful if I'm ever brought into an emergency room and can't speak.

Me: You got a point there.

I could have saved a lot of time taking his history, if I had only known. I can't help but smile thinking about the response I would get if I started all new patient visits by asking, "before we start, do you happen to have your medical history tattooed anywhere?"

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