* * Anonymous Doc

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day.

Of course, I'm in the hospital, working.

I mean, I'm not really complaining. If I were off today instead of yesterday, I would have probably volunteered to switch shifts with someone who really wanted Mother's Day off. My mother lives far enough away that I wasn't going to go home to visit, and I can just as easily call to wish her a happy mother's day from the call room as from my apartment.

But for people who actually ARE mothers, it seems pretty lousy to have to work today. Unless they hate their kids, in which case perhaps it's a welcome relief.

There are a couple of extra visitors in the hall today, compared to a usual Sunday morning. People visiting their mothers.

Of course, one patient was in for a pretty ridiculous surprise.

Her mother's not here.

She should be, but she's not.

I showed up this morning and one of my patients was missing -- seems to be the week for that. But this one hadn't just been moved to another room. This one was really, really missing.

"Oh. The nursing home came and took her," said the nurse.

"Really? Are you sure?"

"Yep, I have all the paperwork right here."

"Yeah, the nursing home took the wrong patient. She's not going to a nursing home. At least not today. They're going to need to return her."

So I called the nursing home and explained they took the wrong patient. And after arguing with me for ten minutes, they realized that in fact they did come and take the wrong patient.

"But this one is coming here when she's discharged, right?"

"Yeah, she's going to need nursing care-- but we haven't talked to the family yet, and we certainly haven't discharged her."

"Can you talk to the family today?"


"Can you convince them to send her here when she's released, and then just discharge her to us after the fact and we can keep her?"

"Um, we haven't discharged her yet. She needs to come back to the hospital."

"She seems stable."

"That's great. BUT WE HAVEN'T DISCHARGED HER YET. I don't think it's supposed to work this way. You can't take patients before we tell you to come get them."

"But it's such a waste to bring her back if we're going to have to turn around and come get her again tomorrow."

"I'm sorry, you're the ones who made the mistake."

"But you guys let her go."

"That wasn't me."

"Well, someone did. So I don't see why we need to return her."

"Do you really not see why you need to return her? I'm just an intern, but I'm pretty sure you stole a patient and so that's why you need to return her."

"I'm just trying to save both of us the hassle. You don't have to get so dramatic about it. She needs nursing home care, we're a nursing home, we're offering to take her."

"I think I have to get the social work supervisor involved."

"You can't just sign the paperwork and send it over?"

"The patient hasn't been discharged."

"You keep saying that, I know. But I'm just asking whether it's really necessary that she still be in the hospital."

"I'm going to have to get someone else to call you back. In the meantime, you really ought to bring back the patient."

"We'll wait until we hear that from your supervisor."

1 comment:

  1. This seems really illegal. What a huge liability! What ended up happening?