Hospital Closes for Thanksgiving Weekend. Doctors and Nurses Rejoice!

Denver, CO -- The parking lot was empty at Piedmont Hospital today after security locked the doors, turned off the lights and erected 'No Smoking or Trespassing' signs throughout the campus.   Administrators made good on their promise to close the hospital for the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend allowing all doctors and nurses a rare vacation at home with their families, a strategy in direct competition with Black Friday Hospital Deals.

The idea was born after Nurse Jenny, a new graduate who was upset nobody ever told her before she went to nursing school that she'd have to work most holidays for the rest of her life,  half-heartedly put the idea in the Suggestion Box last year.

ICU cleared out with patient-family-centric policy
"The suggestion box is a joke.  I was shocked when Jenny's idea became a law.  Every year I ask for a raise, better staffing and a Hoyer lift that can handle more than 400 pounds and I get nothing.  But Jenny gets us a four day holiday weekend on her first try?" said a veteran nurse who hasn't seen a suggestion implemented from the box since 1986's  idea to not have to stand up when a doctor entered the room.

The 400-bed level one trauma center became the first hospital in the country to trial the four day Thanksgiving holiday closure. Preparations began last week when the emergency department went on diversion for all ambulances and walk-ins.

"Whenever an ambulance would call requesting transport to our ER, we'd tell them all our doctors were tied up with mandatory Ebola training exercises and they would have to divert to another hospital.  We just couldn't risk having a train wreck  traveling by ambulance to an LTAC unit from another hospital divert to our hospital en route and trash our plans to shut down," said Johnny Flemming, an ER doctor who plans to read Gomerblog nonstop during his 4 day holiday weekend.

To prevent any potential walk-ins from getting admitted in the last week, an EMTALA compliant screening exam was provided in triage.  Over 98% of the patients were determined to have non-urgent conditions and referred to an urgent care center.  The other 2% were evaluated by the ER doctor but diverted to another hospital because the Hospitalists had implemented a one patient per day admission cap for the week leading up to the holiday weekend and the ER had no way of verifying if one patient had already been admitted.

By capping admissions at one patient per day, Hospitalists did their part to ensure hospital beds were emptied by Thanksgiving Day.  "A week ago I was rounding on 25 patients a day.  Yesterday I rounded on one patient and that's just because the social worker had already left for the day and the patient didn't want to go home because he couldn't find his shoes and nobody knew what to do, "  said Heather Valentine, a Hospitalist, who plans to make Oreo turkey cookies from a picture she found on Pinterest yesterday.

The intensive care unit, normally filled with chronically debilitated patients who are alive, but not really, was emptied and closed down two days before Thanksgiving by implementing a patient-centric-family-centric-extended-family-centric-non-english-speaking-centric-non-nurse-centric-no-wrist-restrain policy.  Starting last week, all ICU patients had their wrist restraints removed in favor of bedside-family-talk-down therapy for any agitation and confusion.  All sedatives were added to the list of medications in critically short supply and restricted to end-of-life patients only.  Miraculously, patient after patient self-extubated and were determined to be end-of-life, filled with compassionate Ativan and died peacefully in their ICU bed.

"It was the most glorious week of celestial discharges ever," said Dr. Valentine, who usually wins ICU BINGO at least twice a month.

Some hospital administrators wondered how Piedmont hospital could afford to shut down for four days, but an internal memo provided to The Happy Hospitalist  suggests hospital CFO Blake Banner is projecting a 30% labor cost advantage over the next 10 years by closing during Black Friday sales.

"The more indebted our employees become, the more insecure they are about leaving their jobs.  That will allow us lower annual cost of living adjustments, fewer bonuses and a larger mix of crappy benefits over time.  If this closure is successful, I recommend a trial of Christmas and Columbus Day closures to take advantage of retail sales events during those times as well."

Ferguson Missouri County Hospital Looted. Facebook Likes Explode.

Ferguson, MO --  Violence and looting brought chaos to Ferguson, Missouri  yesterday after a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer involved in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who died earlier this year.  Ferguson County Hospital was spared no relief as rioters stormed the hospital hoping to loot anything they could get their hands on.

But ransackers were disappointed to find the county hospital had nothing to take.  "We're a county hospital. We don't have anything to steal,'" said James Valentine,  Vice President of Public Relations at the hospital.

Ferguson County Hospital, a state-of-the-art 200 bed hospital back in 1942, now survives on the goodwill of volunteer doctors, nurses and local charities for medical supplies.

"Our crumbling hospital was last updated in 1967 since the county has spent all their money rebuilding Ferguson after the riots of 1972, 1979, 1986, 1994, 2002,  and 2014.  And today the county is  cutting our budget by 30% to pay for future anticipated riots."

Several dozen well known alcoholics used the upheaval as an opportunity to storm the ER in search of a narkey [narcotics and a turkey sandwich], but were disappointed when all they found were crates filled with expired Tylenol, Prilosec and Miralax donated by doctors who cleaned out their offices.

James urged looting protesters  to receive notifications on future supply shipments by liking the Ferguson County Hospital Facebook Page.   "If there is one good thing that has come from these riots, it's that our Facebook page went from 2,000 to 200,000 likes in just a couple days."

"One or two more riots likes this and I'm hoping we can get to a million likes on our Facebook page.  That would look pretty good on my resume."

Orthopedic Surgeon Excited To Complete Fellowship in Left Pinky.

St Louis, MO --  Dr. James Bender is proud to call St. Louis home after 12 grueling years of training to become just one of five orthopedic surgeons nationwide super super subspecialized in the left pinky finger.  Redding Orthopedics, the largest multispecialty orthopedic practice in Missouri, hired Dr. Bender last month to be the group's go-to-guy for left pinky pathology.   He joins other highly specialized orthopedists in the group, including one spine surgeon who will only operate on L3 and a wrist surgeon who will only tackle injuries of the right Positions* bone

To become a super, super subspecialist, Dr. Bender had to complete four years of medical school, a five year orthopedic residency, a one year hand fellowship, a one year bilateral pinky fellowship and a one year left pinky fellowship.  After 12 years of clinical training, he joins just  four other distinguished colleagues on the  American Academy of Left Pinky Orthopedic Surgeons.

"I thought about doing another one year fellowship on the distal phalange of the left pinky but I was finally ready to make a difference in people's lives between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays that don't fall on a holiday," said Dr Bender,who was later shocked to learn he would still have to take general ortho call for his group at four different hospitals.

"I intentionally super, super subspecialized myself into outpatient orthopedics, but my group made made me take all general ortho and trauma call day and night for the next two years,  I don't even remember the bones of the hip anymore."

Hospitalists and ER doctors were livid at Redding Orthopedics.  "That group has been pulling this crap for years.  Whenever we call Dr. Bender, he says 'I don't do anything but the left pinky' and hangs up,  So we end up calling the hospitalist and tell them there's an admit for delirium that happens to have a broken hip,"  said Dr Phil Fedder, an ER doctor who's greatest achievement so far has been to work an entire day without being cynical.

Very few hospital staff have ever met Dr. Bender . "I thought for sure I'd get to meet him last week when I had a man with hairline fracture of his right pinky come in by ambulance, but Dr. Bender made sure to let me know he only operates on the left pinky," said Dr Fedder.

* Mnemonic for wrist bones:  Some Lovers Try Positions They Can't Handle.

Mayo Clinic Sued By Hellmann's Maker For False Advertising.

Rochester, MN --  Mayo Clinic was sued Monday by a Unilever, the maker of  Hellmann's mayonnaise, claiming the hospital's actual brick and mortar is not made of egg and oil, an FDA requirement since 1957 for any product that wants to call itself mayonnaise.   The lawsuit comes less than a week after the multinational behemoth  sued Just Mayo -- a small San Francisco start-up with a vegan alternative to mayonnaise -- for using mayo in their name despite not having the required egg and oil mixture.

Mayo Clinic sued for false advertising
Unilever, which claims consumers equate mayo to mayonnaise,  is asking Mayo Clinic to add a required egg and oil mixture to all structural components of their campus buildings worldwide or change their name to Not Mayo Clinic.

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very specific requirements for any product calling itself mayonnaise.  We are simply asking Mayo Clinic to comply with the law," said Hans Grubble, Head of Unilever's Cease and Desist Orders Division.

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy responded to the lawsuit with an offer for free medical care for Unilever representatives involved with the lawsuit.  "Anyone who thinks Mayo clinic is Mayonnaise clinic needs to be evaluated.  We are offering a free head-to-toe neurological exam for the entire Unilever management team with the best neurologists in the world," said Dr. Noseworthy, who ironically prefers the smell of mustard over mayo for his sandwiches.

Patient advocacy groups applauded Unilever's action as a step in the right direction for truth in advertisement.  One internet website forum claims to have thousands of comments from disgruntled Mayo Clinic patients who say they were not offered real mayonnaise while hospitalized for their unusual symptom complex that always turns out to be psychiatric in nature.

"I could tell my turkey sandwich did not have real mayonnaise when I didn't get severe throat swelling and rash after eating it," said one Mayo Clinic patient who posted her list of 42 other allergies, including the color red and bright lights, on the forum page as proof of her rare affinity for strange allergies.

Dr. Noseworthy defended Mayo Clinic's use of fake mayo as a patient safety issue.  "We understand patients may believe they are getting real mayo in their sandwiches when they come here because of our name, but we have studied the issue for years. Our patients have a much higher rate listing life threatening allergies to mayo and our fake mayo policy is a Joint Commission mandate implemented after a rash of  real mayo related pseudoseizures and 'just in case intubations' we experienced in the 1990's.

Rural Doctor Fired for Not Waving Back to Local Residents in Public.

Abigail, KS --  Brown Community Hospital fired their only Family Medicine physician on Wednesday after town residents complained he never reciprocated the two finger greeting in public. With great fanfare, Dr. Riley Jones had just been hired two months prior after the critical access hospital failed to sign a local physician for the previous three years.

"The CEO welcomed me into in his office with a two-finger-hat-tilt-head-bob-wave and then told me to clean out my desk," said Dr. Jones, who was shocked a hospital would fire the only doctor within 60 miles for failing to wave back in public.

According to hospital officials, Dr. Jones was contractually required to initiate a wave or to wave back to town members as a sign of community respect.

"On numerous occasions, we asked the doctor to participate in our class on How to Improve Patient Satisfaction through Public Hand Waving, but he never complied.  His repeated lack of respect for community standards left us no choice but to let him go," said CEO Benny Brainard, known for his right-hand-index-finger-circular-lift-off-the steering-wheel-wave when leaving the hospital in his 2001 Buick Regal.

"I've never been to a small town before.  In Kansas City, waving at strangers will get you shot," said Dr. Jones, who has already found another job in a lucrative cash only Kansas City botox clinic for three times the money.

Several years ago, Medicare started paying hospitals based on patient satisfaction scores. Since then, hospitals have placed increasing pressure on physicians to keep patients happy at all costs.  A 2013 Gallup survey found rural hospitals could increase their patient satisfaction scores by 28% if physicians facilitated or reciprocated  a friendly wave to community residents in public.

 Dr. Jones was the target of animosity even before he saw his first patient.   "He didn't even acknowledge me when I drove past him at church," said, Annabelle Vedlaceck, one of several elderly ladies who started organizing the doctor's recall just days after his arrival.  "I think it's rude not to get  the finger from your doctor," said Annabelle, as she greeted the hospital's on-call night nurse, passing by on a bicycle, with a two-finger-chin-bob-left-eye-squint-wave.

Finishing first in his medical school class and saving  the life of two local residents after just a week on the job was not enough to overcome dissatisfaction with his lack of hospitality.  Multiple town residents met with hospital officials at Bill's Cafe in September to demand Dr. Jones be fired or they would boycott the hospital and travel 60 miles out of their way to Green Community Hospital, where their doctor always gives a friendly left-handed-two-finger-brow-touching acknowledgement to the lay folk.

Outsiders may question the utility of firing the town's only doctor they've had in years for presumed rudeness, but local residents disagree.  "The one-finger wave is such a basic part of our community, we just can't let it slide," said John Banner, a farmer who lost all but a single waving finger in a combine accident at the age of 12.

"Getting a one-finger-wave from my doctor is the best medicine I could ever ask for."