In any Emergency Department there are a couple of words whose utterance will immediately earn the speaker social disapprobation at minimum, and quite frequently half-joking threats of physical violence.
These are not your average, run of the mill profanities, though one is a four-letter word. No, we’re quite immune to ‘Sailor speech’, and most of us don’t even bat an eye when those pedestrian words are spoken. No, not those words.
The power of the words is inextricably linked to most ED workers’ innate superstition, else these words wouldn’t have the impact, and engender the cold sweat and dread way out of proportion to their intended meanings.
Brace yourselves. The words are “Quiet” and “Slow”. Don’t look very fearsome, do they? Right now you’re saying ‘this is just silly’, and you’d be right, unless you uttered them in a slow or quiet ED, then you’d be a pariah, for the next happening will be the blare of the ambulance radios and a bus-station line at the triage desk.
So, you’ve been warned. Ban them from your vocabulary. Then start on the sailor talk, too.