Last night was interesting. These types of patient interactions are why I love medicine so much.
A young lady was brought in by intoxicated family members after being unable to tolerate quite as high of a blood alcohol content as her present company. She had vomit all over her and was in need of a good night’s sleep.
We gave her some medication for her vomiting and watched her for several hours. She finally sobered up enough to go home.
I was discussing the discharge instructions with a sober family member who had come to get her. One of the less than sober family members apparently wanted us to watch the patient longer.
“What if she goes home and drinks more?”
“I’m sending her home with someone responsible so she won’t do that.”
“What if she doesn’t listen?”
“I can’t force her not to drink even if I send her home with no alcohol in her system.”
Getting visibly irritated, she snapped back “Well what’s going to happen if she wakes up DEAD?!?”
Several comebacks to that one were running through my mind at that moment. I chose the most politically correct one and told her
“Ma’am, I can assure you … that won’t happen.”