Clear Communication

I saw him in the emergency room.  A relative had called and received no answer.  Fearing the worst 911 was next to be dialed.  What had happened?

“The doctor said not to have any solids before my test”

That may seem like a clear instruction to avoid solid foods.  This patient was on over a dozen medications.  They are solid pills.  Believing he was following doctor’s orders he had discontinued all of them the last 2 days.  This may seem humorous, but it nearly cost this person their life.

One of the ways we are taught to avoid such issues is to have the patient repeat back the instructions in their own words and give time for them to ask questions to clarify what they are to do.  Thus, not just giving instructions or handing the patient an information pamphlet, but making sure they understand.

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