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Friday, November 2, 2012

Old theories create awkward moments

So in line with a topic of discussion the other day, another thing I've decided to do is never tell a lie to my patients.  If you ever get into a spot where the truth cannot or should not be spoken, then the only alternative is to remain silence.  And here we go back to the old saying, "An awkward silence is better than saying something you'll regret."

So we have a couple physicians who order Albuterol every four hours based on a theory by one surgeon that Albuterol prevents post operative pneumonia.  It was never proven, and most physicians have abandoned this type of order.  However, out of old habit, our physicians still order it.  They probably don't even know what the order is for, nor why they order it.  But old habits they die hard.

So I'm giving such a treatment to one of my patients, and a family member says, "So, why are you giving this treatment to my mom.  She's not having trouble breathing."

Of course by this time its the end of my shift, so the old slippery tongue theory comes into play here.  I said, "It's because Dr. Slippery went to medical school in the 1950s, and he still orders based on 1950s medical theories."

Now, while truthful, it was something I never should have said.  I sort of backed myself into a corner of sorts.  I put myself on the defense.  Which goes to show that sometimes a lie is better.  Or, better yet, a line of BS or a moment of awkward silence.

To tell the family member the treatment was to help the patient breath better would have been the normal lie here.

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