Thursday, November 15, 2007


Why is it that ER goers these days have such an infatuation with illness and disease? I should count the number of people that present to the ED with complaints such as, "I've had a really bad cough for 6 years, but yesterday when I coughed, my elbow hurt. Am I dying?" When myriad of diagnostics are done, and all tests come back "within normal limits", the doctor returns to the room with seemingly great news, "So it looks like you're going to be ok!" One could be easily amazed by the crestfallen faces and dissappointed voices when patients reply, "So I'm not going to die?" Then they'll add some other, "Oh I forgot to tell you..." complaint, all done in futile hope of adding severity to their case. People just want to be told bad news! They want doctors to tell them they have some terrible disease, or an illness that in 3 months will cause them to expire. Why is it that people desire to hear bad news?

And this isn't just my opinion - News casts cater to that human desire on an hourly basis. The news is loaded with woe and the shame of the human race: stories about grandpas raping grandchildren, and gangsters slaying neighbors, and how this one poor lady got a rare african disease from eating canned peas. The majority of it is bad news. Yes, they have the birthday parade, and bits on celebs donating money to give poor children toys (that give kids lead poisoning), but the news about the news is that people want to hear bad news.

I wish I could be in the room to witness the horrific look of shock on the face of a patient when a doctor comes back, clipboard in hand, and says, "Sally, your stubbed toe has triggered prolific organ failure throughout your body. You should begin making arrangements now." Now Sally, is that really what you want to hear? Just say, "Thanks Doc for making sure I'm ok! Boy, am I relieved!"

*Disclaimer* This is a vast generalization, and does not in any way claim 100% infaliability. This simply stems from working a long night on little sleep and common observations. Every example above is from my head and as fictitious as Charles Dickens.