Originally Published: Common Sense, November/December 2008
Original Author: Greg Casey,
AAEM/RSA Medical Student Council President
An elderly man sat on the edge of his stretcher, attempting to describe his abdominal pain. He did not even need to speak. Vomiting after a few minutes, I realized that this stoic individual was truly sick. As I thought through a differential, I continued to ask questions. His answers were short, but his wife helped him. When I asked about medications, he was unable to recall any of the therapies his physicians had prescribed. His wife dug through her super-sized pocketbook but was unable to help. When we decided to admit the patient with the working diagnosis of intussusception, I talked to the patient and his wife about the importance of maintaining a list of their medications.