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This Month's Smile: Medical Miscommunication'

Published: July 20, 2014

They say laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes that comes from innocent medical miscommunication. Take, for instance, the elderly woman whose allergies were printed on her medical wristband. Later that day, the woman's son called and complained that his mother had been labelled "bananas."

Nurses face another sort of communication problem: Excuses from patients and colleagues.

The most common excuse for missing a long-postponed appointment is a grandmother's death. As one nurse confided, "This was (the patient's) sixth grandmother to die within two months." Interestingly, they also hear an equal number of excuses from doctors, who are usually stuck "on a boat" in the middle of nowhere and therefore can't make rounds.

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