Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Playing Fast and Loose

I was coordinating the transfer of a patient to a secure ward when I hit a snag.  The hospital requires the vital signs in writing; not given orally over the telephone.

"He refuses," the other nurse said, as if that settled the matter.

"No vitals, no transfer," I asserted.

One of the reasons for requiring vitals is that the patient has to be able-bodied to be admitted to psych.

Eventually the vitals were faxed.  The page was blank except for four numbers.  No patient name.  The date was "today."  Literally "today."  No month, day, or year.  The health care provider was "doctor."  Literally "doctor."  No name.  No signature.

I refused the paper and told them to print the vitals from their computer system.  Psych does not have access and does not use the computer system, hence the fax requirement.

They faxed a printout.  Blurry.  Grainy.  Not a single word or number could be deciphered.

I faxed it back to them.  They claimed that my fax machine messed it up.

After I told them I was skipping to the next patient for the only bed available, magically the vitals were printed and faxed clearly.

The patient arrived healthy.  His behavior, however, resembled nothing of the angel described in the notes.


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