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Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"


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Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:10AM (#32440904)
    Write, "Please stop sucking cock and do these blood tests, bitch!" :-) That includes the word please!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rusty KB ( 1778458 )
      Stop!? WHY?!?!
    • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:39AM (#32442298)

      The story is from The Sun []. It would be worth checking if the story was true before getting worked up about it...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tsalmark ( 1265778 )
        The sun is affiliated with Faux News?
        • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:45AM (#32442806)

          The sun is affiliated with Faux News?

          Yes. They are both owned by News Corporation [].

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Funny enough the Sun is horribly liberally biased (like CNN, you know, the TV station everyone says is "unbiased" after the ENTIRE news crew came in wearing all-black and speaking as if at a funeral... the day Bush was re-elected), while Fox is seen as highly conservative-biased. (Note: To me, Fox's political leanings seem clear; they have one highly liberal-biased anchor they use explicitly for political debates, and they have to bring in others to do debates. They do, however, give them a voice for con
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by jo_ham ( 604554 )

              They used to be, but before the announcement of the UK election they made a big show of "flipping to Tory" (they like to think they personally control the outcome of the election, and thus were giving their readers the OK to vote tory). Since that time they have been much more right wing.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

                Liberal != left wing.

                Before they flipped to supporting Tory, they were supporting Labour, and weren't liberal then either (e.g., they supported Labour's plans to extend detention without charge; they let ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett have a column, who was responsible for all sorts of authoritarian laws). I agree there's still no evidence of them being a liberal paper (though at the moment, the Tories appear to be behaving more liberally than Labour, e.g., scrapping ID cards and planning to restore vario

            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:57AM (#32443416)
              To say CNN is "horribly liberally biased" while Fox News is merely "seen as highly conservative-biased" is a little silly. CNN _and_ MSNBC have been far harder on Obama than Fox News was towards Bush.
              • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:06AM (#32443514)
                US News study found Fox as the most balanced in straight reporting, but that doesnt include the nutty far-right infomercial opinion/commentary stuff that (to me anyway) seems to be what takes most of the air time. In that same vein I think CNN/MSNBC do their straight reporting more center-left (well, CNN anyway) and rely less on commentary. My biggest objection to Fox isnt their political leaning, but that it's mostly theater.
                • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:08AM (#32444152) Homepage Journal

                  When I watch a news station, I expect to see news, not commentary. Now, I know that it's not going to be straight, hard-core news 24 hours a day, but still, you have to understand that when I do watch a news station, it's usually because I'm killing some down time and just flipping channels, or there's something going on that I want to know more about.

                  So if I have the choice between having a mainstream news station that may not do quite as good a job at reporting the news and that has bits of commentary (CNN) versus a "news" station that has craptons of commentary with a bit of really good news reporting mixed in (Fox), I'll pick the former almost every time. I don't have time to sift through the silliness to get to what I want to know.

                  But really, when I want news news, I usually just go somewhere like BBC or NPR on the Internet. In spite of claims to the contrary, I've personally found that Fox is anything but "fair and balanced" in their reporting. Let's be honest, sensationalism trumps any political leanings any of these stations have. Anyone who has been around as long as I have knows that it doesn't matter which side of the spectrum they fall on when it comes to getting the numbers.

                • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:30AM (#32444444) Homepage

                  "Most balanced" in the news industry is like "least retarded" in the special olympics. It's all relative...

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
                  Straight reporting? It must exist on Fox News, but I've never seen it. Every time I flip past, if I pause on Fox News for a moment to see what they're saying, it's ALWAYS commentary. Might have something to do with the timing (generally evenings or late nights), but I've never landed on that channel when they weren't in the middle of a rant about how liberals or Democrats are destroying the nation in one way or another.

                  I really like a good political discussion, and enjoy listening to rational opposing vie

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Chowderbags ( 847952 )
                  My biggest problem with Fox News is that they lie and edit their footage (like the most recent example, editing out the applause at Obama's West Point speech). Considering that they've argued in court that just because their the news doesn't mean they can't lie, I don't know why anyone trusts them.
                • by ccady ( 569355 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:13PM (#32445930) Journal

                  Do you read these things at all? This study does nothing to further your assertion that "Fox [is] the most balanced in straight reporting".

                  The study [] covered *only* 2008 Election stories during the prime time evening news shows for a period of 3 1/2 months in late 2007.

                  The methodology was to look for "positive" and "negative" comments about candidates. Suppose we had a story about a serial killer. By this methodology, if the news program called him a thug twice, and a blessing once, then we'd have an "unbalanced" news report which was 66% negative and 33% positive.

                  (Interesting to note that by these measures, the Fox news was close to 50+/50- for democratic candidates, but the others averaged 47+/53- for those democratic candidates.)

                  If you wish to learn more, go to ( and find out who funds the Center for Media and Public Affairs ( At the time of the report, the president of the CMPA, S. Robert Lichter, was a paid Fox News contributor.

                • by Onymous Coward ( 97719 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#32446026) Homepage

                  I thought Fox viewers had been shown to be substantially misinformed?

                  Yeah, here we are []:

                  • 67% of Fox viewers believed that the "U.S. has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization" (Compared with 56% for CBS, 49% for NBC, 48% for CNN, 45% for ABC, 16% for NPR/PBS).
                  • The belief that "The U.S. has found Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" was held by 33% of Fox viewers and only 23% of CBS viewers, 19% for ABC, 20% for NBC, 20% for CNN and 11% for NPR/PBS
                  • 35% of Fox viewers believed that "the majority of people [in the world] favor the U.S. having gone to war" with Iraq. (Compared with 28% for CBS, 27% for ABC, 24% for CNN, 20% for NBC, 5% for NPR/PBS)

                  The real thing to take away here is that you're a fool if you're not listening to NPR.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by TheLink ( 130905 )
                  Balanced like a good random number generator?

                  If something/someone is bad, say it's bad. Fuck "balance".

                  Us nerds should care about truth more than "balance".
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Fox's political leanings seem clear;

              Indeed [], they are very clear.

        • by tsalmark ( 1265778 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:20AM (#32443634) Homepage
          To the moderator: Given Fox News earned the moniker Faux News after going to court to defend it's right to literally lie in it's news casts, I fail to see how Troll is an appropriate moderation.
      • by openfrog ( 897716 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:44AM (#32442798)

        Excellent observation... If we checked sources more systematically, and early in a discussion, I guess we would leave perhaps one or two out of ten stories nearly comment-less. Perhaps this would get the message across to Slashdot editors?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Are you sure about that?

        The link is to the UPI site. UPI is a hard-news operation, and has been in the business for a very long time.

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by illumnatLA ( 820383 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:46AM (#32442328) Homepage
      You shouldn't have to say 'please' for someone to do the job they were hired to do... it's not a bloody favor you're asking them to do, it's what they're paid for.
      • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ritchie70 ( 860516 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:07AM (#32442980) Journal

        In general, I totally disagree.

        If I'm dining out and a waitress brings me a drink, I say "Thank you." If they ask if I'd like something, I say "yes, please" or "no, thank you." Maybe my mother just beat it into me (not literally) but I can't help myself and I think it's appropriate.

        If I were a doctor, I'd probably ask the techs to "get Mrs. Jones's blood to the lab ASAP please" unless I was distracted with trying to keep Mrs. Jones alive, and even then I might well out of habit.

        If you read the article, the goal of the "Please" isn't actually civility, it's to make the doctors think if the test is necessary. I assume there's some higher cost to weekend testing than week-day testing as it's a weekend policy.

        To require it in a medical concept is nuts. If a doctor orders a test, he should expect it to happen without having to write some "magic word" on the order.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AndersOSU ( 873247 )

          I agree with everything you said.

          I've just got to believe that there already is a medical word that doctors can apply to an urgent order, without co-opting please. How about NOW, or STAT, or URGENT, or ASAP. Please makes it sound like a request, which it really isn't - it's an order, and there should be a better way of indicating urgency than appending "please". What I suspect has happened is that doctors over-use the already existing words, so hospital administrators are playing a game of word-inflation

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Belial6 ( 794905 )
            I suspect that's not even it. I suspect it is because doctors tend to have an over inflated sense of importance, and enough of them had behaved badly enough that the techs started to throw a fit. Someone in the office politics sort of way decided that this was a way that they could 'force' the doctors to be nicer. This sort of thing rarely works, but people keep trying.
    • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:36AM (#32442746)

      I like this rule.
      You probably have never worked with MDs before. But let me tell you they are the worst people to deal with. Because they have a Dr. for a prefix and a MD for a suffix to their name they act like they are the smartest person in the world. So when they encounter something new to them, and out of their main scope they get very offensive, rude and makes everyones lives a little bit more stressful.

      They will often treat non-MDs who work with them as underlings, who job is purely to aid the doctor from doing those little jobs that they don't like to do. They often hide the fact that they are jerks under the catch phrase "lives are at stake". Which is a medical term for "Think of the children" which also means "I want to do it the way I want to".

      Forcing them to be polite while seems like just a silly step is actually quite powerful. Saying please before hand means that the work being done is done for the doctors benefit at the expense of someone elses time. Vs. Just shooting out orders that says you are here for me and just me.

      At work we have a policy if a doctor is calling and is cursing and yelling at us without giving us any useful information we can tell them to call back after they have calmed down then we can help you. It isn't about restricting free speech is is about keeping things professional and trying to keep things running orderly.

      Yes there is a cost savings by making the Dr. think twice, as well it can help keep the load down for the labs for a while.

      • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:53AM (#32443370) Journal

        Because they have a Dr. for a prefix and a MD for a suffix to their name they act like they are the smartest person in the world.

        They've been through medical school, so yeah, I'd say they are some of the smartest people in the world. I'm not saying they have the right to be assholes, but it seems like elitism is justified here.

        They often hide the fact that they are jerks under the catch phrase "lives are at stake". Which is a medical term for "Think of the children" which also means "I want to do it the way I want to".

        Except that "lives are at stake" is likely to actually be true. Do you have a specific example of where "the way I want to" is actually arbitrary?

        Forcing them to be polite while seems like just a silly step is actually quite powerful.

        I don't think it's likely to accomplish what you're suggesting. At best, it'd get them to grudgingly start saying please and thank you -- and would you really rather have a sarcastic "please" than none at all?

        the work being done is done for the doctors benefit at the expense of someone elses time. Vs. Just shooting out orders that says you are here for me and just me.

        Versus, say, you're all there for me, the patient.

        At work we have a policy if a doctor is calling and is cursing and yelling at us without giving us any useful information we can tell them to call back after they have calmed down then we can help you.

        That part is key. Also, "cursing and yelling" is something you might actually complain about, compared to "not saying please."

        • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:53AM (#32443964) Journal

          Just because someone hasn't been through medical school doesn't mean that they couldn't have gone to medical school. Am I automatically less intelligent because I chose a career that isn't in the field of medicine, or that doesn't require a few extra years of school? It's not like the day I got my bachelor's degree I stopped learning new things. I learn more every day while working.

          I'm sure there are plenty of doctors out there that are smarter than me. I'm also sure there are plenty of doctors out there that are dumber than me. I hope that all doctors out there know more about medicine than me, but I'm willing to bet that very few of them know more about my profession than I do.

          The fact that someone spent more time in school than someone else doesn't automatically means that they're smarter than them, it probably just means that their priorities were different. And it certainly doesn't give them the right to be an elitist asshole. Cure cancer, and then you've earned the right to be an elitist asshole. But even then, you're still an asshole, and you should expect people to respond accordingly.

      • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:55AM (#32443392) Journal

        Given the source of this story, I doubt it's true or complete, but assuming it is...

        I like this rule, except that the failure to write "please" should not prevent the actual test from being performed when the doctor orders it to be done.

        Maybe fine the doctor $10 every time they fail to say "please" on a form, put the doctor's names up on a wall of shame, or make them buy the next round of flowers for the office.

        But anyone in the medical field should know that you do not withhold medical information that is possibly vital to a patient's health because the doc forgot to say "pweddy pweaze wiff sugar on top" on the form. Ever.

        I'm not saying courtesy is unimportant, or that doctors have the right to be rude, only that the patient shouldn't suffer because their doctor is a dickhead to the support staff.

      • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:11AM (#32443554)

        They will often treat non-MDs who work with them as underlings, who job is purely to aid the doctor from doing those little jobs that they don't like to do.

        While it may not give them the right to act like a prick about it, a technician's job is to do menial tasks so that a doctor or nurse (or engineer, in other fields) doesn't need to. There are plenty of reasons for this, not least of which is that it keeps costs down. Not only does it cost more to pay a doctor to do so (and keep him from his other duties), but the technicians are certainly better at getting lab work done. And, since technicians can't provide patient care, it's best to give each task to those who specialize in it (nurse draws the blood, lab tech runs tests, doctor diagnoses and prescribes treatment).

        It's similar in engineering (electrical in this example, since it's what I do). The engineer designs the circuit, a draftsman lays it out physically, and a technician lays out and solders the parts. Yes, the engineer can do it, but it's not their specialty, and it's much more expensive and slower to have them do it.

        One could certainly make an argument that such jobs are 'below' engineers/doctors, but I wouldn't direct that kind of sentiment to a tech. It's certainly valuable work that they do that saves me a hell of a lot of time, and I try to show my appreciation (lots of 'please' and 'thank you'). It doesn't give me or anyone else the right to shit on a tech, but it is their job to assist the doctor/engineer by doing menial tasks that they don't have time to do.

      • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hduff ( 570443 ) <<hoytduff> <at> <>> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:41AM (#32443852) Homepage Journal

        And interfering with medical care is OK with you? Please get your panties in a bunch in another line of work.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tprime ( 673835 )
        I work with physicians every day and can agree that they can sometimes be challenging with their social skills. HOWEVER, the main point behind them writing in the chart is care for the PATIENT. There is a reason why orders are called "orders" and not "requests." At any job we all have our roles and a tech's or nurse's or any other non decision making clinician role happens to be to carry out the physician's orders. If this is to make them be nicer and less demanding, it is the most annoying piece of pas
  • Just wanna say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barrinmw ( 1791848 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:12AM (#32440924)
    Forced gratitude has zero meaning.
    • by Farmer Tim ( 530755 ) <> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:18AM (#32440964) Journal

      Thanks for that.

      • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:24AM (#32441674)

        We're all very funny today aren't we, all of you folks that haven't worked E&R. Let me tell you something you will never experience yourself, but hospital doctors can be some of the biggest ego-centric pricks you will never meet - really, you have no idea the sense of self importance they carry with them. It's a God complex - "I save lives, so get out of my FUCKING way, you worthless turd". Even though the E&R and post-op nurses save way more lives than they do, the nurse is relegated to a personal slave who OWES limitless respect to his lordliness. I think this is an EXCELLENT response - yes, it's puerile, but it's exactly that level of childish egotism that we deal with every day, and even if it's FORCING them to be civil when they're really not at heart, it still puts the bastards in their place. Just a little bit.

        With BOFH and PHB stereotypes well-known to /. , I would have thought a little more understanding would be forthcoming. But no, the "IT boys" long for such parity with their medical counterparts, and make jokes about us "bitches" and "lowly technicians". You know what - I hope one of our doctorly lords fucks up your med prescriptions next time you're in recovery - see how much you appreciate the attentiveness of us "weenie slaves" then. And, yes, go suck your own cock, you humourless, anonymous waste of breathing space.

        • Re:Just wanna say (Score:5, Interesting)

          by xmundt ( 415364 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:49AM (#32441830)

          Greetings and Salutations;
                    While I sense a certain amount of repressed anger in this post, my recent experience of spending four days in hospital tend to re-enforce the overall view of the ER doctors. While I have no complaints about the technical competency of the doctor who sealed off the seven ulcers in my esophagus, trying to get him to discuss my illness and ways that I could deal with it was like trying to pull up a manhole on the road with a screwdriver! I was left with the impression that he considered talking to me to be a waste of time, both because I was obviously too old and stupid to understand anything he said about the state of my body, and, that it would be a waste of time to discuss long-term treatment with me.
                      I will say, though, that the nurses and technicians that I interacted with over that four day period were top notch. They provided excellent care, and, interacted with me as if I was actually a valuable human, and, dealt with the terribly chaotic schedule of an intensive care wing with good humor and a positive attitude. Actually, the only problem I had was that I have terrible veins in my hands and arms (small, buried deep, and, with a huge tendency to slither away or go flat when a needle gets near them), so, the techs that came in to get blood samples had QUITE a challenge. I was fairly sure that after the first day, they were down there drawing straws, to see who got the short one and had to come poke me.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by delinear ( 991444 )
            I completely agree about the egotism of many doctors, or the attitude that they see their job as treating the illness rather than informing the patient - I have both first hand experience of this (lots of time in hospital as a kid and a partner who is a nurse). Having said that, this is just indicative of the wider problem that the attitude of doctors generally stinks (there are some great doctors of course, but either I've been incredibly unlucky in my dealings with them, or the good ones are woefully unde
            • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Insightful)

              by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:08AM (#32442194) Homepage Journal

              Agree. Yes, a lot of Doctors - especially surgeons apparently - have "God complexes" (source: a good friend who's been a Doctor for 2 or 3 years now). While it can be a negative thing, it's also good for these guys to actually have confidence in their abilities.

              You need good skills and confidence to perform a difficult operation. I'm not saying that they should be justified in treating everyone else like shit, but forcing them to write "please" on a form is just being puerile. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to waste time and endanger patients. If you don't like the type of person that tends to become a Doctor, or perhaps how being a Doctor affects a person's ego (I'm guessing it's a bit of both), then don't work in a hospital..

              I have to admit that in my IT support role I'm probably as guilty as the aforementioned Doctors sometimes with the way I think of people who know nothing about computers. I do often try to explain things to people though, and answer even "stupid" questions.

          • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Chitlenz ( 184283 ) <chitlenz&chitlenz,com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:10AM (#32442412) Homepage

            I have spent a LOT of time (like omg just too many hours to count) designing medical software, and I have to agree with this guy... these MDiety suckers can be the most arrogant people on the planet. They just look right over patients as a statistic.

            I'm willing to allow that some guys just really can't deal very well with people, but even that does NOT excuse their dealings with staff. Some of these folks are mindblowingly self centered jerks, and see even praising their office folks as somehow beneath them. I do think that trying to enforce a 'please' policy is fairly dumb, but at the same time I think it is important to remember that typically people who don't have to be forced to say 'please' don't have this kind of problem in the first place (i.e. the guy who already knows and acknowledges the lab staff and works with them in reasonable ways can probably leave this kind of shit off anyway and have it be presumed...).

            Seriously, if you take the worst BOFH in history and add a 500k/year salary you get a typical surgeon.

          • Re:Just wanna say (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AVryhof ( 142320 ) <{amos} {at} {}> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:41AM (#32442518) Homepage

            I would imagine being an ER doctor is a lot like being an Emergency Repair technician. The best at getting the job done quick and moving on to the next, but not the best to explain what happened. I bet the reason most ER doctors don't want to talk to you is because they want to finish the job and get to the next patient. (I'm always hearing about the ERs around here being packed solid from people waiting 8-10 hours to get in)

            On the other hand, the nurses probably have a little more time to talk a bit and tell you what might help. If you want to talk to a doctor, schedule a regular visit with your family doctor. Chances are though, that they will tell you the same things a nurse will.

          • Re:Just wanna say (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:45AM (#32442804) Journal

            I was left with the impression that he considered talking to me to be a waste of time

            This is probably because there's another dozen patients literally dying to see him, and stuff like "what should I do about my disease" is best left to your primary care doctor who should ideally know all the drugs you're on and all your allergies and your complete medical history and have 15 minutes to discuss this stuff with you without being pre-empted by some guy getting hit by a car.

    • Re:Just wanna say (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:39AM (#32441108) Journal

      Forced gratitude has zero meaning.

      Sometimes you have to force the issue if you want to create the habit in people.
      My mother spent a lot of time reminding me to "say please" and "thank you" until it eventually stuck.

      Anyways, this isn't really about "saying please," it's about creating a small barrier for doctors to overcome if they want their blood tests done by the apparently overworked staff during the weekend.

      The managers said the move is aimed at easing pressure on hospital workers charged with performing blood tests by making doctors consider whether the tests are essential.

      Eventually, doctors will just start writing please on all their lab request forms and the hospital will be back where it started.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      This is just going to lead to sheets for test requests that have the word "Please" pre-printed on them.
  • Not credible (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:12AM (#32440928)

    The source for this is an "odd news" blog, whose source is a "newspaper" called The Sun. You may have heard of it. National Enquirer anyone?

  • Oh Please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:18AM (#32440974) Journal
    while I'm all for manners, refusing vital blood tests when doctors forget to put the word "please" on weekend requests just seems damn right stupid and dangerous. How can any manager sit there and support this measure?

    This sounds like something out of a Dilbert cartoon or from Office Space, I could just see him saying "Yeah... you didn't put please on your TPS reports... so I'm going to need you to come in Saturday, m'kay?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They probably also don't do tests when the patient has not been clearly identified on the requisition.

      In other words, this is just another among many procedural details that professionals understand have to be followed. They may or not personally agree with the value of some of those details, but they comply anyway. It goes with the job.

      Writing "please" is considerably less of a hardship than filling out a justification of why a given procedure has to be done on the weekend, when administrators know
  • Liability Issues? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ricree ( 969643 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:21AM (#32440994)
    I have to imagine that this would open the hospital up to some liability issues. The first time someone dies because a test wasn't run in time, I have a hard time seeing a jury accepting "the doctor didn't ask me nice enough" as an excuse for not running the test the doctor ordered.
  • Next one (Score:4, Funny)

    by kikito ( 971480 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:26AM (#32441034) Homepage

    Planes will not be allowed to move until the pilots say "Engage".

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:27AM (#32441040)

    Having done alot of chemo and hospital over the years and having a number of doctors in my immediate family (1 heart, 1 gastro, 1 family practice, 1 abdominal) and a doctor turned administrator, I bet the doctors have been jackasses and the hospital administrators pushed this down the throats of the doctors because they'd treated the lab folks like cattle.

    I bet there were a ton of meetings about how to balance out increased workload with less staffing and the administrator's solution was "please".

  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:29AM (#32441052) Homepage
    They should just get self-inking rubber stamps that say 'Please'.
  • They're called written _orders_ for a reason... that is, they have all the justification that is required to simply be followed. While it's all very well and good to want people to be polite, it is no more required that a doctor remember to say please than it is required that air traffic controllers say "please" when directing airplanes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That is right. God does not say 'please' or "thank you."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 )

      FTA is sounds like this isn't about politeness as about costs/ordering tests on the weekend. My (heavily extrapolated) understanding of the situation is that doctors work any day of the week, but technicians are more 9-5 Mon-Fri. The administration apparently felt that the doctors weren't considering that technicians generally didn't work weekends (maybe they get overtime then too), thus some tests that could be ignored or left till a weekday were still being ordered on the weekend. The administration tried

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:58AM (#32442374)

      You are familiar with Van Halen's condition that a bowl of green M&M's be present back stage for them to perform?

      Do you really think it was Van Halen acting out their rockstar egos, or their assurance that someone actually read the specifications (weight limit of stage, total power, etc.) needed for them to perform safely?

      This is a simple case of doctors not following policy (even if I agree the policy is kind of idiotic) of numerous other polices I've seen MDs fail at, which include wash your hands between patents, write legibly, write legal orders, etc. I could point you to a study done on incorporating checklists for procedures, with _anyone_ able to stop the procedure immediately and correct the (typically, but not necessarily) MD if the correct steps were not being taken. MDs complained about that has well, but it did reduce errors by over 50%, and hopefully impressed upon others the importance of working as a team.

      You are not House. You require the services of numerous disciplines in order to care for the patient. If I can't trust you to follow a simple, one word policy, or better yet, not act like a complete jerk; you should be fired.

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:39AM (#32441114)

    INTERCAL [] is an esoteric programming language meant as a parody of stuffy, arcane programming language requirements. One of its more interesting requirements involves the "PLEASE" statement. As an undocumented feature of the language, the compiler will fail if programs are either too polite, or insufficiently polite - which involves placing the PLEASE keyword in front of statements the correct number of times.

    Kind of like here - if the Doctor just peppers all of his written requests with too many PLEASE statements, that's condescending right there - too polite. But insufficient politeness is equally worthy of wrath - all completely nonsensical requirements, dehumanizing the interaction even as they demand for a confusingly artificial subset of human interaction.

    Ryan Fenton

  • N.H.S. Pinafore (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IronClad ( 114176 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:41AM (#32441126) Homepage

    I've seen that N.H.S. Pinafore show before. I can even still hum some of the snappy lyrics.

    I hold when diagnosing a disease,
    The expression, "if you please",
    A particularly gentlemanly tone implants.
    And so do my sisters, and my cousins, and my aunts!

    Stick close to your desk
    And never check a pulse
    and you may all be rulers
    of our hospitals.

    or something like that. [] with "please" goodness at 4:00 and 5:40

    Just who does this Doctor Dick Deadeye think he is? Doesn't he know that a British lab technician is any man's equal, (excepting, of course, mine).

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:55AM (#32441208)

    This makes me wonder how big of an asshole the doctors had been to force this kind of a policy on them.

  • Solutions (Score:5, Funny)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:14AM (#32441970) Journal

    1. Instead, write "This is an order, not a request."

    2. Put "Please tell me where you're going to be working next week if these are not done."

    3. Write "One of these id for a relative of yours, I believe."

    4. Approach both techs and admin and ask them, if they had gotten hurt on the grounds and were taken to their ER, would they expect to be treated in this way. Would they expect to not receive treatment after they came to Research.

    5. Circulate a memo stating that very soon all employees would be required to say please when asking for their salary check. ANd if it's not sincere or strong enough, they don't get paid. The eception is administration. They have to beg for theirs

  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <abacaxi@hot[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:47AM (#32442332)

    Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word [CC] when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. The managers said the move is aimed at easing pressure on hospital workers charged with performing blood tests by making doctors consider whether the tests are essential.

    WTF? I was a medical technologist - the staffer who would perhaps collect "the bloods", and certainly would be the one doing the lab tests. I can see several things wrong with this scenario:

    • If this is only a weekend protocol, it violates the K.I.S.S. principle of having things work the same way all the time, and of course they will forget that it's Sunday, bloody Sunday and forget to say pretty please with sugar on it at least half the time.
    • If one or more of the weekend docs are ordering tests that are medically unnecessary or ordering the tests all STAT (extremely urgent) so they can go home sooner, you review their test ordering patterns (easy to do with computers). If a pattern of abuse emerges, having the senior pathologist or the lab manager chew them out for it works wonders.
    • A pathologist, lab administrator, or hospital administrator with backbone can set up a list of tests that will be done STAT, and under what conditions. If Dr. Gottahaveitnow wants something that is not on the list, too bad. He/she can get an override from the lab director.

    • Medical technologists have their own way of dealing with the pile-up of STAT requests. We redefine the acronym to be "Start Test Any Time". We smile and say, "Certainly, I'll get right on it as soon as I finish the STATs from Dr. Wanna Playtennis, Dr. Tooimportanttowait, and Dr. Dammitiforgotmypreops. What is your pager number, I'll call you." That leaves them snarling at each other for cluttering the queue.
  • Canadian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:03AM (#32442388)
    Why does this story not have a 'Canada' tag, assholes? Is it because we Canucks are perceived to be benign followers to you pieces of shit? Tabernac, fuck you (please pardon my French).
  • by dentar ( 6540 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:47AM (#32442820) Homepage Journal

    I had to go into the emergency room last year. I found that there is a very strict hierarchy there, and that apparently, doing such a thing as a blood test is completely beneath a doctor. No wonder they're displeased at having to use the word, "please." God forbid a doctor condescend to his underlings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jack2000 ( 1178961 )
      It is not hi JOB to do the test. Where i live the technicians that do the labwork are specifically trained to do that. The doctors know how to do it too. But would you rather have the doctor see 1 patient and do labwork or seeing 3 patients in the time it would take him to do the damn labwork?
  • Rubbish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:06AM (#32443516)

    From TFA: The managers said the move is aimed at easing pressure on hospital workers charged with performing blood tests by making doctors consider whether the tests are essential.

          Let me clarify that I am a physician. Thank god I don't work in the UK, however.

          This is typical of the problems you get when a hospital is run by "business administrators". Please note: ALL TESTS ORDERED BY A DOCTOR ARE ESSENTIAL. What, you think we like to take time out of our lives to write down lab orders, and take more time interpreting them, just to push paper around? Because we have stock in ballpoint pen manufacturers?

          Honestly any person who alters a medical instruction - say nursing staff who fail to dispense correct, prescribed medication or lab staff who decide not to perform correct, prescribed tests are taking a MEDICAL decision. This implies two things: first, they are practicing medicine without being licensed to do so. Secondly, the must assume responsibility for the consequences of their decision. If something happens to a patient because the lab "deemed" that the test was "not necessary", guess whose fault it is?

          This is a thinly veiled attempt to reduce hospital costs by not hiring more lab workers to cover the weekends. Or some idiot in accounting thinks that if he limits the amount of testing, he will essentially limit costs (because of course running no tests is far cheaper than running tests). The hidden cost of course is the morbidity/mortality of the patients. But hey, what's an extra day in the hospital for the patient - the bed will be filled by SOMEONE anyway, right?

          Unfortunately I find that physicians are too good natured or too wrapped up in their work to get organized and tackle crap like this head on. Perhaps the hospital administrators should start saying "please" to the physicians for them to come to work every day. /rant

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982