"I Don't Know My Body" Patient Creates Havoc In Local ER.

Fort Collins, CO --  Doctors and nurses at St. Mary's Hospital were on edge yesterday after 27 year-old teenager Jenny Franklin ran straight through ER triage repeatedly yelling "I don't know my body!" as her mother smother, with two suitcases in tow, hovered over her every word.

"In my 27 years of nursing, I've never had an anxious young female  tell me they didn't know their body.  Quite frankly, I was scared for her," said Janice Jurgensen, the ER nurse assigned to stabilize Jenny and her mother as payback for calling in sick three Friday nights in a row.  "We've had drills to prepare us for this day, but I never thought we'd see it in our ER."

After everything comes back normal, young females are known, on occasion, to get angry at ER doctors and nurses when they are told nothing is wrong with them.

"Most of the time it's just anxiety, but Press Ganey prevents me from diagnosing that in the ER.  So I'm forced to look really baffled when I tell patients I have no idea what's going on," said Dr. Bill Heraton, the ER doctor with expertise in keeping a straight face while laughing deep inside.  "After I tell them their primary care doctor has lots of time to continue the work up in their office, they usually leave with a smile."

Emergency physicians are trained to identify red flags, findings that always require further workup, including Jenny's case, which had three obvious red flags.  "When a young woman walks in saying, 'I don't know my body!' with a frantic mother carrying two check-in sized suitcases, you must respect that," said Dr. Heraton, who recommended moving the patient immediately out of his emergency room to be stabilized in the ICU because a similar woman he discharged to home during residency ended up being literally smothered to death by her mother's hovering.

Doctors worried as female claims, "I don't know my body."
Shortly after informing Jenny of her ICU admission, Dr. Heraton was forced to intubate after nurses couldn't get her to stop breathing slower than 70 times a minute, despite music therapy, pet therapy,  a lavender plant and the comforting shoulder touch of a compassionate ER nurse.  "I knew she needed tubed the moment I lay my eyes on her," said Dr. Heraton, who got perfect satisfaction scores for his great call that day.  "The ICU is the only place they can monitor the mother 24 hours a day."

Jenny's mother was thankful for her transfer to the ICU even though all ER studies came back normal and no further work up was planned by the hospitalist.   "I know Jenny's body better than anyone and we're not leaving the ICU until somebody gives me an answer about why she doesn't know her body," said Jenny's mother, who also requested a king sized cot, a full size dresser and a Keurig be provided for her own stay in the ICU.



Print Friendly and PDF