What NOT to Yell Over The Intercom


One of the security guards in the hospital is named Dick.

Good guy. Funny. Always comes running when there’s an unruly patient.

The security system has its own set of radios. When someone needs security, they call the switchboard and the switchboard sends out a call over the radios. Everyone who has a radio can hear the radio traffic. We have a radio in the ED in case we need the security guard quickly.

So one of the nurses gets into it with a patient and the patient starts threatening the nurse, trying to knock the bed over, and trying to rip the IV out.

The nurse runs out of the room, runs over to the intercom and blurts out.

“This is Diane in the emergency room! Dick! I need Dick now!”

She got Dick.

Oh, and the patient calmed down, too.


  1. Oh. My. God. ROFLMAO!!

    We used to page Billy Reuben to the nursery a lot. The night shift operator fell for it EVERY time.

    There’s also Dr. Meoff. Dr. Jack Meoff.

    It’s a million wonders we haven’t been fired.

  2. OMGosh! H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!!! Did she turn MAGENTA after that? 🙂 What DID Dick do? Was he Magenta too or was his chest all swelled out with pride? 🙂

    We also had radios in all the departments that would need them The ADN walked around with one. I am guessing administration would have something too.

    Each deptartment was assigned an identifying number and so you would get on the radio and say…”Unit 14 to unit 6″, etc.. So you could contact maintenance, security nursing admitting and emergency. I don’t know who else… but we were unit 14 and so I assume a lot more people were privy to the transmissions.

    Of course having such a toy at my disposal was a little tempting at times. Thank God I didn’t have to shout for Dick, God bless him… nor was I clever enough to think of those funny plays on words.

    But I did transmit in a really loud… yet secretive whisper, “Pssst…Pssst! Double 0 14 to 006..come in. PSSST… PSSST! 0014 to 006…come in!”!

    I wish I could’ve had the Pink Panther music playing in the background. It is on my cell phone and always makes me feel like I want to start slinking around corners instead of answering my call. 🙂

    Anyway, I worked the 3-11 shifts and didn’t do that until LATER in the shift and I only did it a few times. We also had the PA at our disposal because we called the codes, and drills, etc. Oh…I would’ve LOVED to have done something with that.. but never did. There is that lure of being over the airwaves… 😉

  3. They recently installed a red phone in our ER, and labeled it “War Room” (wtf????). It actually goes to the new telemetry room, so you have instant access to a report of your tele pt’s onscreen activity. But we don’t do teles in the ER! We watch our own monitors…..so anyhow…….. A night nurse picked it up recently and said “This is the ER, we are going to Deathcon 3 Status”, and hung up. The tele tech (on the job less than a month), called the House Supervisor in a panic, “ER has gone to Deathcon 3 Status! What do I do?” Luckily, the HS was a seasoned night shift veteran, and laughed along with us. The tech quit a week later………..If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the War Room…….. 😀

  4. Nurse Beth – THAT is one of the FUNNIEST things I have ever heard! I would have fallen for that (when I was new)…but certainly never quit and the ED staff did get me with some things. 🙂

    One day…when I just started working solo and so was still learning the ropes…I walked into the back stating that family was wondering how their relative was doing. He had come in before my shift started and so I didn’t know anything about his reason for being there.

    There I was all innocent and looking to be helpful and I stared up into the face of this very tall male aide.

    With a very straight and solemn face he looked down at me and said…

    “He died.”

    “Oh I’m sorry.”

    “You have to tell them he died.”

    My jaw dropped open and in absolute PANIC and FEAR racing through my newbie brain… I blurted out “I-I-I-I have to tell them???”

    Then he got a big grin and said he was only kidding and with that was the collective laughter of him and the nurses. Geez! Got me good! 🙂

  5. I can’t help it. I reread Nurse Beth’s comment AGAIN.

    As soon as I get to: ““ER has gone to Deathcon 3 Status!”, I crack up..out loud!!! 🙂

    I really needed these laughs. Thanks for this post WC. 🙂

    Moving far away from the computer…now…

  6. mottsapplesauce on

    Thanks for my laugh of the day WhiteCoat. At least the nurse was able to calm the client down…. This is a little off subject but, when we have newbies on the job in customer service, we always like to ‘fake’ a call for an Erect-Aid vacuum device. We can’t help but ask the rookie, “can you explain how it works?”
    You can almost hear their jaw drop on the other end of the line…
    Hey, maybe fodder for another challenge? What’s the worst thing you ever said (or most embarassing) over the intercom?

  7. William the Coroner on

    DEFcon 3 is a heightened alert status for SAC during the cold war. After JFK’s assassination, they went to defcon 3. DeathCon 3 means nothing, medical or otherwise. It is the equivalent of sending someone for a bucket of rotor wash, or going to clinical engineering to pick up a sodium-potassium pump. It’s hazing.

  8. She got Dick.

    Oh, and the patient calmed down, too.

    Diane light up a smoke after the whole incident too? “Was this takedown as good for you as it was for me?”

  9. This is it. Right here. This is why I was drawn to the med blogs. Oh sure…the educational posts/comments are interesting, the compassionate posts are heartwarming, but the humor… well…the humorous posts/comments such as this post and comment thread…are EXQUISITELY

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  12. Well, I come from the education world. However, when we still used intercoms (30 years ago)the secretary called a second grade room and told the teacher to tell the student that mom would be late picking her up, because she was “tied up” at the police station. The class simultaneously dropped their jaws and stared at the poor child.
    Another time, I’d borrowed the school dolly to help with my move into a new house. The principal called on the intercom and asked if I ‘had brought back his dolly’. After all the giggles, I had to explain. Multiple meaning words can be lots of fun!

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