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Murphy’s Law of the ER

Hey, it’s ERP from ERstories.net doing a guest post.

The other day during a shift I said to myself “Dang it, it’s Murphy’s Law again” when something went all FUBAR. That made me decide to compile a little list of how that law applies to my job.

1. The GYN cart will only be stocked with the extra large and “virgin” sized speculums when you have a normal-sized patient to examine.

2. The GYN speculum light will not work and you will need to have your chaperon use the odoscope.

3. You will have three or four pages out to various doctors for an hour and no one calls back. The moment one finally does, so do all the others. They get annoyed being on hold and hang up.

4. There is guaranteed to be an issue whenever a patient needs transcutaneous pacing. Of course everything worked fine on the practise, model patients, but the moment you need to use it, the thing does not sense or the wires are not compatible with the pads.

5. The IV is going to blow the moment you have to push Epi – even though it was working fine for an hour before hand.

6. The nurse you need for a patient is always on break.

7. The nurse tells you that the patient in room 15 is getting annoyed waiting for an hour with pelvic pain. When you finally go into the room, the patient is either in the bathroom, waiting room, or fully dressed in a wheelchair.

8 There is never a nursing home’s number on their transfer paperwork, making history taking on a demented, bedridden patient a true joy.

9.The SMA-7 on a critically ill patient is always haemolysed.

10. The rate of RN, tech, and unit secretary “sick” call-ins is directly related to the niceness of the weather outside.

I am sure there are many more. Feel free to submit your own!

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8 Responses to “Murphy’s Law of the ER”

  1. hashmd says:

    The most critical lab value is the one order overlooked by the Ward Clerk or lab tech on the orders.

    The vein blows just as you are switching from one tube to the critical lab tube while drawing blood…and you can’t find another vein.

    The box of your-sized gloves is empty just as you are going to see a leaking abscess or vag discharge. And the storage cabinet is also out of them.

  2. Antigonos says:

    The number of tests, observations, treatments, and medications the dorky doctor orders is inversely proportional to the number of nurses on staff, and directly proportional to the number of patients. In other words, when 1 nurse is taking care of 10 patients, the doctor orders far more on each patient than if there are 5 nurses taking care of 2 patients.

  3. hannah says:

    I’m currently working in heme/onc clinical trials lab.

    The one time that they don’t make two tumor blocks is also the one time that the mail office loses said tumor block. (These need to be analyzed before the pt can start the med trial.) “Sorry, we’re going to have to re-biopsy your prostate. Have fun with that.”

    Or you spend three hours drawing a dozen PK samples on a patient and half of them come back haemolysed.

  4. Ted says:

    the lab or x-ray that is most critical to your disposition is always the last to come back.

  5. ED RN says:

    “6. The nurse you need for a patient is always on break.”

    Break?!? Im not sure what that is. Explain.

  6. Gene says:

    When the Peds ER is slow and offers to take a few adults to alleviate pressure on the adult side, they inevitably send a 19 year old with chronic back pain, ovarian cysts, fibromylagia, “the worst headache of my life”, a positive UPT, and suicidal thoughts. And within 30min of her arrival, a whole busload of snotty kids arrive to be seen.

  7. CholeraJoe says:

    “3. You will have three or four pages out to various doctors for an hour and no one calls back. The moment one finally does, so do all the others. They get annoyed being on hold and hang up.”

    Probably all in the same poker game or watching the same porn DVD.

  8. John Smith says:

    I find that Murphy’s Law is most applicable when you finally begin to relax and think everything’s ok. THAT’S when you’ll have a pipe leak or a dead battery or the lab techs are too busy.

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