Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

July 2, 2003 | Volume 4, Issue 2

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Phone Should Not Have Been Answered

Instinct was “just too strong to stifle,” says intern

DENVER, CO–Dr. Frankie Farlow, a surgical intern at Denver’s Olive View Hospital, should not have answered the 5 West nurse’s station phone just now, said Farlow in a brief statement to himself.

Dr. Frankie Farlow

Farlow, who had just paged his resident, says he had initially attempted to stifle his phone-answering instinct, as “there really wasn’t enough time for [resident Jessica Sharkey, MD] to get the page and call me back.” However, when he realized that no one on the floor was going to answer the phone, he “finally picked it up” after the fourth ring.

“As soon as I answered and said ‘Hello, 5 West,’ and I heard the guy say ‘This is Steve, can I talk to Valerie,’ I was like, DAMN! I knew I shouldn’t have answered it! So I’m like, ‘OK, hold on,’ and then what am I supposed to do? I mean, who the hell is Valerie? Is that one of the nurses? One of the patients?”

“So I look around for the clerk, and of course there’s no clerk. And I’m looking around for someone who might be named Valerie ... what, do I go up and down the hall looking for this person?”

Witnesses say Farlow yelled out “Um, there’s a Steve on the phone, for Valerie?,” eliciting no response; moments later, he was heard to holler “Steve, for Valerie?,” followed by “Is there a Valerie on the floor?” and “Valerie, anybody?”, by this time drawing bemused smirks from onlookers.

Finally, according to observers, Farlow informed the caller “Hold on, I’m gonna transfer you,” placed the handset back down on the receiver, and returned to his paperwork.

“That is so the last time I’m going to be doing that,” said Farlow. “I mean, I feel a little guilty I left that guy on hold, but ...” Interrupted by the ringing phone, he quickly answered it.

“Dammit!” he was visibly noted to mumble.

“Steve again, for Valerie!” he called out. “Steve, for Valerie!”

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