Story#14 Hulk Hogan’s ear wave & Compassion

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If you have watched Hulk Hogan wrestling, you would know he has been a hero to many. Among his many sensational moves was a signature “ear wave”. Take a look

Before the Hogan decides to take on the the poor referee, he performs his ear waves where he walks to all 4 corners and “LISTENS” to the crowd. He makes them feel important. He is indicating it to them that “I am a world champion but I am “LISTENING” to you”.


A 29 year old female presents with abdominal pain and increased work of breathing. She suffers from type 1 diabetic. Her blood ketones are 6.1 and blood gas shows

pH 7.15 HCO3 15 Glucose 29 mmol Base excess -12 Lactate 1.6

The conversation between the “Doctor & Patient” was as follows

Hi..My name is  “dr fast & the furious”. How can I help?

Well Dr I have diabetes and

Do you take insulin?

Yes I am on insulin but yesterday I was feeling poorly. I had this terrible belly pain & felt like..

Did you had any vomiting…

No but I was…

any diarrhea…


burning urine…


Chest pain..



No…but Doctor I was saying that I felt nauseous yesterday and didn’t wanted to…

Have you been taking your  insulin regularly..


Okie I am just going to review your blood results and will come back to you..

Doctor reviews the results and makes the correct diagnosis of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, writes the correct management  and refers the patient to medics. He then carries on seeing other patients and doesn’t get time to get back to this patient. She goes to the ward, gets better gradually and is discharged 3 days later. After few  of weeks later, ED department receives a complaint letter that says…..


I would like to express my concerns regarding the contrast in  care I received between emergency department and the medical ward. As soon as I reached ward, doctor explained to me what was my condition, listened to me and treated me. I started feeling better after few hours. I felt the doctor in ED acted more like a traffic warden who just directed me to medical ward .I felt I was not listened to. How could the doctor have diagnosed me when we wasn’t even listening. I understand the busy and noisy nature of A&E but strongly feels that ED doctor should have spent minute or two to listen to what I had to say.


ED compassion is as important for patients as giving good clinical care. Though there are many scientific papers and theories behind ED compassion, true delight of compassionate care comes from an introspection. Here is what I have found by listening…

5 lessons learnt

Be an ED hero

Have a listening ear

Let your patient know

You have time to hear

So next time when you are treating your patient,                         ask yourself have you listened?


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