2007-12-01 18:32:15 UTC
tune: THE DAY IT FELL APART by Leslie Fish
At a major city hospital, where accidents occurred
Quite often when the scribbling medics fouled the written word,
The trustees said, "No problem: we will just computerize" --
They bought the latest system: you could hear the grateful sighs.
Then, at eight o'clock one morning, the hurricane roared in --
Took out our generator -- you could hear the howls begin
When we realized the system that we kept our records on
Couldn't run without the network ... without power, that was gone.
Now can you write a "scrip"? And can they read it then?
We all found out the answer when we had to work by pen.
We could operate by flashlight: for that we had the skills,
But not for writing clearly when prescribing shots or pills --
Looking hard for a solution, an old Remington we found:
Needing something called a "ribbon" ... and no ribbons were around!
Then some orderlies and nurses said they did calligraphy,
Could they follow the physicians and keep records legibly?
We drew up a duty roster: sev'ral medics to one scribe ...
Say "Hello" to the Dark Ages! .... but at least we could prescribe.
But the scribes were overburdened, so they said they'd strike until
We had them teach the doctors how to write and not to kill.
When we gave them that new duty, they cheered and danced in joy --
("I'm a doctor, not a penman!" groaned our surgery chief, McCoy) --
Yet McCoy and all the others who were working through the crunch
Eventually came to classes, and some even skipped their lunch.
We did triage on their penmanship: ranked minor, major, grave --
Our scribes reserved transcription for the few they couldn't save.
A patient who sold ballpoints donated his supply --
The quality was lousy, but a few more didn't die.
Soon many of our medics no longer scratched like hens ...
And the stationery stores were having runs on fountain pens.
By the time we got our power, twenty thousand "scrips" we'd penned:
The first few looked atrocious, but we'd bettered by the end:
Saving patients' lives and saving us from big malpractice claims,
And -- miracle of miracles -- you could even read our names!
We do not need our pens now, but we've not set them aside,
Because without our scribal skills, so many might have died.
And we know a new disaster could reach us any day ...
So, though we love computers, we won't put our pens away.
The accreditation agency came back the following year,
They'd heard of our disaster, wondered what they would find here:
Their eyebrows raised, their eyes popped out, to see the startling
A building full of doctors, almost all of whom could write.
Yes, we can write a "scrip" -- and you can read it then:
We all found out the answer when we had to work by pen,
Found that sometimes you've got to write well by pen!