Preference Card Horror Stories: Ep. 1

Thank you for tuning in to Preference Card Horror Stories: Tales from the Operating Theatre, Episode 1. As the leading provider of PCM software, we at PrefTech understand all too well the pain caused by dirty and mismanaged preference cards.

We're going to dive right into this month's episode, featuring tales from clinicians across the nation who have braved the horror of mismanaged preference cards.

Sit back, take a deep breath, hug your loved ones close, and prepare for the carnage. We'll see you on the other side.

The $3 Kerlix Mayhem

circulating nurse

I was a brand new circulator, recently out of nursing school and newly oriented to the OR.

I was circulating a Total Knee Replacement. Following the preference card for the procedure, I opened up a $3 kerlix dressing that was not actually needed.

The physician saw it had been opened and yelled at me so loudly that a Nurse down the hall in a completely separate OR could hear him.

~A former circulating nurse


The sheer amount of money wasted due to ONE unlisted item horrified us to the core. Congratulations to our Ep. 1 winner!

The Tragedy of the Unlisted AirSeal

supply waste

There was a surgeon at my hospital who used the AirSeal for every single case.

Turns out the AirSeal was never once listed on the surgeon’s preference cards. It was a chargeable item.

It never got documented, and the hospital lost $150k due to missed charges.

~ A traumatized clinician

The Five Year Card-tastrophe

outdated preference cards

A new surgeon received default preference cards upon his arrival at the hospital.

FIVE YEARS LATER, his cards were still not updated – they all listed only 2 items.

The outdated cards caused constant delays, increased anesthesia exposure, and increased case length.

He ended up having to go to admin to update his cards.

~ A long-suffering nurse

The Frightful Case of the Missing Implant

I was circulating a surgical procedure.

I set up the operating room according to the preference card and brought the patient back to the OR. During the time-out, the surgeon asked if I had an implant available that was required for the procedure.


The problem was, I did not. The implant was critical, so I had to call a vendor urgently to rush it to the hospital to avoid cancelling the case.

Luckily, the vendor was able to deliver the implant quickly. The patient remained under anesthesia longer than expected due to the wait, but the case was performed successfully.

If the preference card had been up to date and accurate, the entire situation would have been avoided.

~A thoroughly traumatized nurse

Thank you for listening to this month's episode of Preference Cards Horror Stories: Tales from the Operating Theatre. Please tune in next time for more preference-card-fueled terror.

Want to be featured in our next episode? Submit your horror story!

Have you or a co-worker experienced preference-card-related drama? Do you need to get it off your chest? Now is your chance! For the chance to be featured in our next episode of Preference Card Horror Stories, email us at

A prize for our favorite story!

preftech mug

We hope that sharing your Preference Card Horror Story will be therapeutically rewarding in its own right – but we don't want you to walk away empty-handed!

Every episode, we'll choose our favorite Horror Story, and the winner will receive a beautiful glass mug from PrefTech.

We know your co-workers will envy you.

- PrefTech