Right ear or Rear!!

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Sloppy handwriting from coworkers, never fails to drive my stress level through the roof. It is the most negligent activity in any practice. Is it really that hard to just take a single second out of your time to carefully illustrate the letters and symbols? I get it, okay? I understand how nerve wracking having a ton of patients to see can be, and matters are only made worse when you’re behind schedule, but that is not an excuse for poor practice.

While many of the problems that arise simply due to illegible handwriting are heartbreaking, some even leading to critical errors such as death, others can be quite humorous. Although, I’m probably not supposed to laugh at these kind of inconveniences, but when you’re a doctor, you’re scrambling for any humor to provide a shred of relief during a stressful day. One day, a mother brought her baby, complaining that she had been experiencing ear pain. It was quite obviously an ear ache, so the doctor prescribed an antibiotic delivered via ear drops. He wrote: “put two drops in right ear every four hours”, with the word “right” being shortened to a mere “R” with a circle drawn around it.

After a few weeks, the mother returned to the clinic, arguing that the drops had no effect. Her frustration and concern for her baby led her to refuse to see the doctor who prescribed the original medication, so I handled her instead. Just to make sure, I asked her how she was applying the medication. She told me she inserted the drops into the baby’s rectum every four hours. The rectum? I asked her why not the ear. She handed me over her prescription, and the pharmacist had transcribed:

“Put two drops in R ear every four hours”

Rear.

 

Moral of the story? WRITE LIKE A FREAKING NORMAL PERSON.

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