February 2, 2007, 6:39 pm

You Can Check Out Anytime You Like, And You Can Even Leave!


Oh no!


As if surviving the disease isn’t enough, you have to worry about…


“Hello, doctor? I’m afraid I have sequelae.”

Actually, this ad says measles can cause sequelae in the form of vision problems and hearing issues.

I always thought it was suspicious that I became myopic one year after having measles.

My doctor pooh-poohs it.

But hey!

Maybe it was………..sequelae!


I don’t often have any contact with the morgue.

In fact, I’ve been in a morgue twice in my entire career.

During one of the instances, I opened the door to the refrigerator on an individual cubicle and found this notice inside the door. This is not a joke – it was an official notice.

It said…

“You are NOT locked inside.”


The note went onto explain that you could open the refrigerator door from the inside.



Now, I may be way off base here, but if you are dead, why would you need a door that opens from the inside?

Let’s assume the worst.

  • You’re in a body bag, but you are alive.
  • “Oh no!” you think. “I’m dead but in a body bag! I had better unzip this bag and get out!”
  • There is no way to unzip the bag from the inside, but let’s put that aside for the moment.
  • There is no light source in the morgue refrigerator cubicle. How are you supposed to read the notice? Should we include a disposable flashlight in each body bag?

Is this a JCAHO requirement? It is a patient safety issue for 2007?

“Provide for the safety of any patients accidentally declared dead. Make this information accessible to the declared deceased through appropriate signage in the morgue refrigerator.”

Now I’m not easily freaked.

But that sign just threw me for a loop!


  • justcallmejo

    February 2, 2007 at 11:10 pm


    Thanks for the giggle.

  • #1 Dinosaur

    February 3, 2007 at 5:46 am

    That’s why the handle to open a car trunk from the inside glows in the dark.

    Interesting about body bags, though. Maybe they should be made with double-handled zippers.

  • TC

    February 3, 2007 at 5:46 am

    You can’t make this stuff up. BTW, I was reading you last post-should I buy stock in Clorox? And, I think a funky pair of clogs would go great with the whites(I’m just sayin’)

  • Deacon Barry

    February 3, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Thanks for clearing that mystery up. When we went to see the mortuary during our training I looked at the storage cupboards with their large metal doors and wondered if they could be opened from the inside in an emergency. I didn’t feel it was a question I could ask at the time.

  • Echo Doc

    February 3, 2007 at 8:18 am

    “Is this a JCAHO requirement? It is a patient safety issue for 2007?

    I wouldn’t doubt it. Anyone else notice that JCAHO spent the last several years making us take patient’s names and ID off everything visible, and now are addressing the ‘increase in mistaken identify errors.’

    Uh – do they see any connection?

    Next JCAHO helpful movement: “Rain can make you wet!”

  • Echo Doc

    February 3, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Excuse the typos – need. coffee. now.

  • ERnursey

    February 3, 2007 at 9:40 am

    That is hilarious, so on our next JCAHO survey I expect we will be asked to use double zippered body bags and include a flashlight in each one LOL

  • N=1

    February 3, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Y’all need to get a clue! Ask any nursing supervisor why that sign’s there. Better yet, follow a “sup” around for one entire shift. You’ll get it – it’s for the schlubs who bring a gurney into the morgue and have the door hit ’em in the rear! That feeling of being locked in with the body ain’t often too appealing! It’s been known to cause one or two or a hunderd of ’em to freak out. (Ahem – don’t ask me how I know all this.)

    Y’all need to treat the nursing sups with a lot more kindness, respect (and bribes for good stories).

    However, I do love the JCAHO perspectives. :^)

  • Jo

    February 4, 2007 at 10:02 am

    I’ve been to the morgue at my hospital once. We were transferring a body that had no funeral arrangements yet.
    I open the door to the cooler and an infant was in there.
    It convinced me I wasn’t a pediatric nurse.
    I don’t want to go back.

  • Dawn

    February 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I got a SERIOUS case of the giggles reading your case scenarios. Too funny! Thanks for the laugh!! Now I’m curious as to the sign.
    If you don’t mind I am going to print this out for one of my instructors….of course, I will keep all identifying info out of it. Let me know.

  • djs

    February 7, 2007 at 8:56 am

    In years past, it was a rule that varied by state to have a means of emergency egress for any walk-in cooler / freezer. Now it’s an OSHA rule [29 CFR 1910.37].
    Reasons: (1) Sealed refrigerant (freon, Rxx) coolers work by recirculating air so are sealed from external air, therefore O2 can decrease and CO2 increase with persons inside. (2) People not dressed for the cold area can suffer hypothermia. (3) Usually not morgue, but some commercial coolers use ammonia or other gas that if released in confined space can be toxic. (4) Qualifies as a confined space.
    My first comment on a stunningly excellent b-log.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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