The recent posts reminded me of another story I had forgotten concerning mental status. We had a patient on the ortho ward who in addition to his other injuries, had a head injury. The Neuro service dutifully came around every day with all the attendings, residents, and students, and proceeded to do a mental status evaluation over and over. What’s your name? Where are you? What’s the President’s name? Finally one day the patient had had enough. After he gave the President’s name, he fired back, “What was the President’s name 20 years Ago?” The residents and students were in a quandry. Uh, Kennedy? Johnson?
The patients said, “It was Ronald Reagan back then too. Now stop asking me your stupid questions.” The neuro service declared him normal and never came back.