Telephone Advice


What the secretary is required to say: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We’re not allowed to give medical advice over the telephone. He’s welcome to come to the emergency department to be evaluated at any time, though.”

What the secretary wanted to say: “What’s the matter with his head?”

What the patient’s primary care physician wanted to recommend: “One quart of Bisquick batter by mouth STAT!”

What the person calling the emergency department was asking: “My teenage son just drank a quart bottle of maple syrup. What should I do?”


  1. I admit to chugging a bottle of pancake syrup in a race against my friend ala Super Troopers…he puked- I felt miserable and in a near stuperous coma for the rest of the night from all the sugar

  2. Obviously, the bottle should have a warning label on it that the contents are to be used as a condiment and not as a beverage. This is egregious misconduct on the part of the syrup company. A lawsuit should be filed (maybe class action) and the syrup manufacturer, tree tappers, bottlers, and grocery store should be named in the suit, not to mention whoever purchased the syrup and put it into the hands of this poor unsuspecting adolescent. There should also be a warning label that this substance can cause obesity and dental decay.

    On a more serious note, the parent calling should be grateful that her teenage son didn’t imbibe something more potent.

  3. What? Didn’t they call Poison Control???

    What is that Pediatric metabolic disease called? Maple syrup urine disease???

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