As more and more state databases come on line, those “patients” who feign pain seeking narcotic pain medications are finding it more and more difficult to find prescribers willing to oblige them. As a result, the patients are adapting by suffering acute injuries for which they need immediate narcotic pain medications to relieve their suffering.

Reality check: One or two falls is one thing. When you call around to other hospitals and to the physicians listed on the state databases and find that the patient has “fallen” a half dozen times in the past 10 days, it is quite another.

One such unsteady patient was brought by ambulance after falling on the ice. His feet slipped out from under him and he fell flat on his back “like one of those Dudley Doo-Right cartoons.” At least his description was colorful.

When the paramedics arrived on the scene, he gave them a hard time. First mistake. Dropping F-bombs, yelling at them, telling them he was hurt all over and not to move him. Well, they decided to look for injuries in the field, and in doing so cut off his clothing – including his down coat.

When he arrived, it looked like the Incredible Hulk had been attacked by Angry Birds. There was a trail of goose down wafting to the floor as the stretcher was wheeled into a room.

Immediately, the patient began demanding pain medication for his 10 out of 10 pain all over. He stated that he could not move because the pain was so severe. We stated that we needed to assess him for injuries, first. He then threatened to leave the hospital. We told him that was his choice, but he would have to sign out against medical advice. Then he said that his pain was too severe for him to move. He settled on repeatedly demanding that we call the ambulance back to take him to the hospital across town. Sorry, sir, but that isn’t happening.

We dutifully began trying to undress him when then the emergency department tech came into the room and asked with a smirk …

“Who molted?”

That comment must have triggered a release of endorphins from the patient’s pituitary gland. Suddenly he sat up in bed with rage in his eyes.

“F–k YOU!” The patient yelled.

The tech then walked back out of the room and could be heard down the hall asking …

“Anyone got some hot tar?”

Yet another release of endorphins. The patient was suddenly able to get up off the cart and rip off his cervical collar. Seeing that he was able to spread goose down with each and every movement of his arms, the patient then stormed out of the emergency department cursing, shrugging his shoulders, and flapping his arms as if he were a reincarnation of some extinct dodo bird attempting his virgin flight. I have to admit that I was laughing while watching him walk out the door flapping his arms. You can’t appreciate it without seeing it.

The nursing supervisor happened to witness the patient’s display and his miraculous recovery from whole body pain so severe that he couldn’t move merely minutes before.

She casually turned to one of the nurses at the desk and asked …

“Jeez. What ruffled his feathers?”


  1. The first rule of EMS…even before ABCs (Ambulate Before Carry)…is NEVER cut a down coat! I believe that was taught on day one of my EMT class…

  2. Ah…the never ending imagination of the modern drug seeker. If they cut off his clothes what did he wear out of the ER? Its sweet justice that his down coat is history.

  3. I just spewed coffee onto the monitor. I can *just* picture the nurse trying not to laugh as she coined the line of the night!

  4. I experienced a slightly different situation. Not only had the guy’s down jacket been cut off, but he had also bitten his tongue and was spewing blood everywhere. Looked like the aftermath of a Voodoo ceremony in the trauma bay.

  5. I disagree about never cutting the down coat. It might be messy, but it sure is expensive. If you piss me off enough, my trauma scissors aren’t going to discriminate what they cut through.

    Never understood the fact that they want to berate their cab rides.

  6. I have a family member who is a drug addict and went through many years of seeking and ‘spontaniously’ having injuries that required calling the ambulance. The one time he ‘hurt’ his knee and the guys cut of his jeans to see. Well being a active drug addict and having only enough money to pay for said habit, they were his only jeans. The following phone call to my parents was priceless. No knee injury, didnt score any drugs but was now begging for money for a pair of jeans since those f-ing ambulance people cut of his pants for no reason. Being smart my parents bought him jeans and didnt give him money.
    Being a chronic pain patient on many medications, I admit I love these stories! I love reading about people getting caught trying to score the drugs that i have to take daily to function. Especially the ones with humourus (to me at least) endings.

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