United Executive Thrown Out of Overbooked Emergency Department (satire)

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Chicago, IL – United Airlines Executive, Mr. Oscar T. Grouch, developed chest pain yesterday evening while golfing. At first, he didn’t think much of it. As he became short of breath, and the pain wouldn’t go away, he decided to check into Waverly Place Hospital Emergency Department (ED) to be seen. What happened next, though, has become a media firestorm with no end in sight for the beleaguered local hospital.

He entered through the ED waiting room. The waiting room was filled to the brim with patients seeking care for various maladies from abdominal pain, to chronic back pain, to some guy who accidentally sat naked on a milk bottle and now had a rectal foreign body he needed to be removed. Despite this backlog of patients, Mr. Grouch was promptly triaged and, concerningly, his EKG showed signs of a mild heart attack.

He was then whisked back to the one available ED treatment room and treatment was begun. But, only a few minutes later, things got bizarre:

Apparently a VIP patient then checked in requesting a room. In accordance with hospital policy, once the ED fills all their beds, including hallway beds, the charge RN is then asked to petition for volunteers for patients who wish to terminate their workup early, and be discharged, so a room can be made for the VIP patient. In the past, certain inducements such as “a couple Vikes” or “that med that starts with a D” was enough to get people to take the ED up on the offer and leave. But this time was different. Despite their best efforts, no one would agree to leave the ED.

So they initiated “plan B” which was to randomly pick an ED patient by lottery system to kick out of the hospital to open up a bed. Unfortunately, for Mr. Grouch, his room number was drawn and he was to be removed from the ED, regardless of diagnosis. After he refused to leave, claiming he was still having chest pain, security proceeded to kick and punch him, causing multiple soft tissue injuries, exacerbated by the blood thinners he was given for his medical diagnosis. After he was thrown out of the hospital, Mr. Grouch promptly called 911 and was taken to another hospital where he was admitted for his heart attack. Per reports, he is in stable condition and doing well.

The following press release was shared through a hospital spokesperson:

“This is an upsetting event to all of us at Waverly Place Hospitals. We apologize for having to re-accommodate our other patients in the ED who had to witness this patient’s episode. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency and we will conduct our own review of what happened and make sure that no one ever complains to the media about this kind of thing again.”

“In the meantime, we will offer Mr. Grouch a free soda coupon from the cafeteria as well as 10% off for a future visit which will not be transferable to other family members. This 10% off offer will not be valid for holidays or weekends and is only valid for a hallway bed next to a loud and drunk patient. For $500 extra, Mr. Martinez can “upgrade” to an actual room with a curtain.  For $8000 out of pocket, we offer concierge pillow and blanket service and an actual room with walls. Certain additional exceptions may apply. Please contact the triage RN for details.”

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