The Dropped Call


My disdain for cell phones in the emergency department continues.

A gentleman came in looking for help with a “personal” problem. Read that as he had pain at the tip of his woo hoo and it hurt when he urinated. No, it wasn’t the same guy from this post.

I got the history and then the gentleman dropped trow so I could evaluate the problem.

I had the gloves on and was evaluating Mr. Happy when … Gentleman’s cell phone started blasting out some rap song lyrics. Whatevah.

Instead of letting the most important call go to voice mail, Gentleman flips the phone open and starts talking … while I’m sitting there holding his pecker in my gloved hand.

The phone’s speaker is on “I forgot my hearing aid” mode, so I can hear the whole conversation.

“Yo, homey, what up?”
Gentleman doesn’t say “I’ll call you back.” He says “Nuffin. I’m chillin’.”
“Oh really,” I think to myself.
“You goin’ clubbin’ tonight?” asks the voice.
“We goin’ to Danny Z’s first and pick up some bitches …” says Gentleman.

About this time I needed to obtain a culture specimen to test Gentleman for sexually transmitted diseases. Performing this test involves putting a sterile cotton swab inside the urethra to get the sample. Unfortunately, since Gentleman was in the midst of an important and scintillating cell phone conversation, I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt him. So I took the Q-Tip and inserted it into Gentleman’s urethra as he continued to converse on his cell phone.

[silence] Voice on other end says “DAAAAAMN! What UP wit choo, dog?”
Gentleman says “I gotta go” and hangs up the phone.

I see a “love dart” in your future, sir.

I guess I add urethral cultures to the ways in which I can get people to turn off their cell phones.

Quite effective.


  1. Just one of “the devil’s toys”. These are things the general public should just not be allowed to see or own, because they just cause grief in the ER…er..ED. Also included are home blood pressure machines, thermometers, the internet, pharmaceutical commercials and soap operas.

  2. Totally going to use “love dart” now.

    If I were doing the d/c teaching, I’d be like (in the most exaggerated white person voice imaginable), “Now, you can’t pick up any BITCHES at DA CLUB for at least a week until this done CLEARED UP.” Always good for a laugh and/or a complaint letter.

  3. I dunno, WC… This sounds like an admission to sexual assault/battery, depending on your state. It sounds as though, by the patient’s reaction that you most definitely did NOT receive informed consent.

    What would the Joint Commission say? What would an overzealous states attorney do? Is it difficult to find work as a physician who is also an admitted sex offender? =P

    Seriously, though. I laughed, and the dude deserved it. I’ve considered the use of hydraulic tools to remove cell phones from patients’ hands before. I’m told that it wouldn’t be “safe” and that we have to just be polite. Oddly, the voices that tell me these things are never actually taking care of these folks.

  4. Aahhhh….thanks for the therapeutic chuckle. I, too, abhor cell phones in the ED. Just the other day I told a guy who was in a hallway stretcher after a minor car crash (c/o knee pain) yapping away about how “no one has come to look at me yet even though I came in an ambulance” that his cell phone was interfering with the wireless feed from the cardiac monitor in the room to his right. It wasn’t, but it got him to shut up.

  5. Cell phones bother you? Oh gosh, you just HAVE to come to Poland (I’m doing MD3 here) — every single patient who can still hold one, has one in his hand and is jabbering away. Every patient, every room in every hospital — you do the math. Sheer bedlam sometimes. Would throttle them if I didn’t have to help heal them.

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