Friday, 3 June 2011

Sppel Chekking

I admit, I'm a pedant. I don't claim to be perfect at it, but to me, spelling matters. 

I have an editor and a sub-editor for this blog who regularly pick up on mistakes I make, as well as using the sppel chekking fasility, because grammatical errors aren't picked up. 

So, in a begging open letter to our call takers, I ask you to please check your spelling. 

I know that if the message on the screen tells me the patient has "palpertayshuns", I can understand what it means. 

I know that if the patient apparently has narrowed "artoreys", he's at risk of heart problems, and not, as would seem at first glance, that he's a high-risk attorney. 

Vomiting. It has one 'T'. Lots of carrots and a dreadful smell, but - Only. One. T. 

Assmah. Really? Or are you just sending coded messages as to what you think of me? 

Stares. As in "The patient fell down the stares." Into my deep, dark, bloodshot eyes? 

And many, many others. Some amusing, some confusing. 

So please, dear call takers. I know it all happens in a hurry, I know the callers aren't always calm, clear and concise. And believe me, I know, that for all the tea in China, I couldn't do your job. But I beg of you; please, please, check your spelling before sending it down the computer to the often baffled crew... 

Anyone else out there got some good ones to share? Feel free to add your comments!

29 comments:

Lauren said...

The spelling mistakes can be excellent fun. Recent examples include "virginal pain" which was made all the funnier by the fact that the patient in question had pain after intercourse and of course the multiple (incorrect) ways in which to spell diarrhoea.

Emma said...

Well, this raises an interesting question - how much medical training do the phone operators get? I would assume they don't go through the pricey university education required for most practitioners, but similarly they must have some degree of training so that they can understand the information coming in over the phone, decide what to relay to the paramedics, and prioritise calls appropriately.

...in other words, just how excusable is it? :P

Lee said...

I think I have had the same call taker as Lauren.... I went to a pain in the virginia!

Anonymous said...

I've also been to a virginal pain, among other humorous spellings.

Something that confused me when I first started on the road was some of the abbreviations. They make perfect sense if you know what they mean, but are otherwise plain confusing. An example would be NSY on scene, which turns out to mean New Scotland Yard (i.e. the Police are on scene) but I had to ask before it twigged.

Perhaps what we need is an insomniac's guide to call takers!

Anonymous said...

One of my new colleagues was very confused about the number of people called Pat who were calling for an ambulance before realising that it meant the patient was calling...

Stuart said...

I did a spot of non-emergency call handling and accidentally sent a crew to an "infart" instead of "infarct"

But at least I had the decency to be embarrassed about it!

Anonymous said...

Paramedics arent so good! D&V but without the V has been seen on a few PRF's

Anonymous said...

We were called to one which simply said'boat on the water'. Stupid me, I thought that was where boats normally are. Not to mention the fact that we tend to treat people not boats. We were stood down so never did find out what it meant.

Anonymous said...

I have seen lots of text talk, Odd spellings of medical terminology.

I used to keep either a nursing dictionary or the IHCD basic training manual when call taking. Sometimes you don't have time to check you have to get the details on the screen and sent to the crew asap...

Anonymous said...

"Aknee" written on a form submitted by a prisoner (I used to be a prison nurse)on a request to see the nurse. I asked him what was wrong with his knee. He looked at me like I had too heads and said nothing. I asked him why he wanted to see me. "Acne" he replied.....

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say working on dispatch we often cringe at some of the spellings we have to send down to crews... We used to have to pass a spelling test of medical terminology but they seem to have given up on that.

Anonymous said...

I've been to a few "Cute asthma attacks" they're always a laugh

Ninja Pharmer said...

"Sinkable episode" was one that had me giggling.

Anonymous said...

Our handover sheets have frequent spelling mistakes and errors, both annoying and yet amusing at times!

Highlights this week were 'blooood' - as in lots perhaps?

But the winner on prior medical history was 'chronic Disney disease'. We are still guessing as to what body part it related to!

Anonymous said...

Best one I had was "pain in left lion" after calling up for zoo keeper backup I was informed that it should have read left loin, I think they were a butcher in a previous life!

Anonymous said...

One that I'll always remember;

Patent is a parapledgedick

SP said...

I have been sent to extubations and associations of COPD, but never a cute asthma attack.

Mrs Moonman said...

very funny , your blogs either send me into floods of tears or lots of laughter , this one did the latter :) :)

manchesteregg said...

Love it, how about patient not had in Nuff flooidz. Or queeree fractred cocksic these are but a couple how I have managed to drive to the jobs between the tears if laughter is beeyond mee....

How ironic the security code to register this comment is dictation ha ha

Josh Minor said...

The problem is our system doesn't allow us to correct our spelling, once you hit the return key (which is often instinctive) what went before is preserved for prosperity. It's really easy to hit the wrong key and create a completely new word, or hit return mid sentence! Particularly if some one is shouting in your ear.

On top of that, my training lasted a month, most of which is system training. Whilst I'm not a phone monkey, nor am I anywhere near as clinically qualified as road staff. Nor do I have the luxury of pausing mid call to check the spelling of an obscure condition or drug (drugs in particular; people chose strange stuff to O/D on sometimes)

So on behalf of call takers every where I'm sorry. I promise we don't do it on purpose, and would correct our mistakes if we could.

NHS Superhero said...

I got a job on the screen that simply said;

"Child can't pass pooh."

All the way to the (category A?!?!) job I smiled to myself with the mental image of a child trying to squeeze out that loveable bear with a soft spot for honey.

Afterwards I thought that maybe we could get the call takers some pocket sized flip pads printed with pictures. Then maybe they could fathom out the difference between Piglet's best friend and a turd?

Anonymous said...

I must admit that I too am a pedant, I berate the call handlers on my shift for appearing to have no concept of medical terms, I often wonder whether they should be allowed out unsupervised. Some of the mistakes have been priceless, but also the callers do not seem to understand the simplest of questions, the best being one I asked a very helpful shopkeeper. I asked if the patient was sweating or changing colour , to which he answered , gods truth on my dogs life....."she is from Croyden"
Nuff said

Anonymous said...

My personal favourite isnt spelling related but it makes me laugh when a pt is listed as consious but not breathing.

InsomniacMedic said...

Ladies and gentlemen, you're all brilliant. Especially those of you who've commented with (obviously intentional) spelling mistakes... :D
Thank you, you've made me smile!!

TopCat said...

my personal fave was 'pt has factured neckofima'

my colleague and i cried all the way to scene.

Katie said...

Oh my! I don't think that I've laughed so much! These are all so hilarious. I'm 16 and hoping to become a Paramedic as a career. I found your blog today and I have to say, I think it is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

My favourite came about a few years ago when we had pagers with 2 lines of text (this is back in the old days before the tetra/airwaves sets):

- 78yo m cant wank

V-Tach said...

Dispatcher once tried to explain how the patient had "chicken-breath".

It was only later after making contact with the RP, that it made sense.

"she-can't-breath"

Anonymous said...

Laughing so hard i can't breathe! Might have to call an ambulance!

E

(Also note my word verification for those comment is "unginger" !!!)