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.

"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.

ICU cleared out with patient-family-centric policy
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."

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