I’m Not Panicking, You Are

This, by the way, is what the panic buttons look like at UPMC. 

Yesterday Mark had pre-op appointments at Presby and Montifiore hospitals. It was a long day of waiting. Sometimes, when left to my own devices in exam rooms, I do some friendly, harm-free exploring. What is in that drawer? Are the cabinets really locked? What can I learn about the function of a device by reading the instructions hanging on it?

So yesterday, a box like the one pictured (which I took in an ER a few days later, but that is a story for another day) was right behind our chairs in an exam room. The anesthesiology PA left the room, and I poked at it. And then I tugged at it. And then I looked under it to see if something would connect to it. And then I stuck my finger in the top of it to see what was in the bottom of the hole there. To be fair to myself, let me add that Mark stuck his finger in there, too. And then 10 minutes later there was a loud knocking at the door and “UPMC Police!” as two uniformed cops entered. “Someone hit the panic button. Is everything okay?”

We were very confused.

The PA, when he came back, asked how long it had taken for the cops to show up. When I told him, he said he’d have been pretty beaten up by then. He also said the only other person to ever hit that button was a child. Which I loved.

Anyway, the point is that the button is apparently for the providers, not for the patients. That is why it is a secret.

UNTIL NOW.

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