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.
#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?"