Doc Shazam has a New Site

…And she’s experiencing the pain of the newly graduated EM Physician. Her post that told me the story:

Mr. Hassle’s Long Underpants

Five words my on call surgeon said to me tonight

1) Don’t
2) F*cking
3) Call
4) Me
5) Again

I’ve had that night myself.

Welcome to the club.

Oh, and update your links to


  1. Did he at least take care of the patient? If not, here’s my range of responses to that:

    “OK… then the next call you’ll be getting will be either from your department chair, the chief of staff, the hospital administrator, or hospital legal counsel.”


    “Y’know bud, it’s a big shit sandwich and we all have to take a bite, so don’t shoot the messenger. I’ll keep the patient comfortable until you get here”


    “Wow… you must really make a lot more money than me if you’re willing to pay the big hospital EMTALA fine that this is going to generate. Suit yourself.”


    “OK. I’ll document that you’re refusing to see this patient, and make arrangements for transfer, but I’m going to have a tough time explaining this to the accepting surgeon. I’ll give him your number in case he has any questions.”

  2. I had a neurosurgeon say that to me when I was calling him about one of his patients when I worked in ICU…there was a medication question that had to be addressed, but I was able to wait until the end of my shift (0700) before making the call.

    God save me from old, cranky neurosurgeons. I’ve never met one who wasn’t a jerk, although I’ve read the younger ones are actually better. I haven’t met one of them yet…..

  3. Goat Whacker says:

    Speaking as one who has been on both sides of those calls, it would be nice to know some more context. I’m not saying the surgeon was justified, but I’ve rarely ran into that attitude.

  4. Our surgeon’s have first call and second call. The primary care docs generally consult the surgeon’s they know. SO for a patient who needs surgery, we first call their PCP, who says, “Call Dr. so and so.” ON this night, the surgeon in question WAS in fact on call, although second call. He was in the OR with the first emergency case and yelled the eloquent phrase through the OR loud enough that I heard it without the scrub nurse having repeated it to me. So, I was following the usual proceedure, calling the surgeon desired by the PCP ( who was on 2nd call), and got the lovely response.

  5. Goat Whacker says:

    Thanks, Dr. Shazam, sounds like he lost his cool.

  6. Goatwhacker: it was actually to report that the patient had received 10 mg of Prednisone at 0300 instead of 5 mg. He listened to me, said no alteration in the med schedule was needed. I said “Thank you” and just as I was ready to hang up he said, “Oh, by the way…” I said “Yes?” And he responded “dont you $#%#%^$^ EVER call me at seven o’clock again” and hung up.

    This happened many, many years ago and this guy was a KNOWN jerk, I just didn’t know it until then.

  7. What a jerk. I don’t care what pressure you think you’re under, swearing at your colleagues is just wrong. Which, by corollary, makes swearing at non-colleagues completely beyond the pale.

    There isn’t, for the record, enough disapprobation for this behavior in our profession.

  8. I guess that one guy has worked at many many hospitals all over the place, cause I got a similar response as well last month.

  9. Not to defend the guy, but is it possible that he was just Cranky because he was sleep deprived and just needed a cup of coffee? My wife knows not to talk to me in the morning till I’m caffeinated, and I often have to apologize for 7 am crankiness.

  10. I would defend the guy in the above case (10mg of prednisone vs 5mg). I mean, nursing makes the error. The error is completely unimportant. And then you wake the guy up at 7am in REM sleep after he has probably been interupted throughout the night. If you didn’t lose it you would be superhuman.