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NEW YORK, NY – Last night, in an emotional interview with Dateline NBC, Lisa Washington, who famously coined the term “Pain is the 5th Vital Sign,” conceded that pain is actually not a vital sign.

A crying Washington announced that the idea came to her in a dream and she latched onto it: “It just sounded so good and important (sobbing)… This was my chance to be famous.”

Vital Sign
Anybody see the pain scale on the monitor?

Most health care providers know that standard vital signs are blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.  Somehow Washington was able to sneak her idea into numerous medical organizations since it sounded “so important.”  Hospitals bought into her idea across the country.  Posters were made, lectures were given, medical records were updated to include a 5th space for another vital sign, and Washington was catapulted into the spotlight.

All this came crashing down when a few medical professionals started questioning Washington’s work.  In particular after the New York Times ran an article on a 10/10 pain patient, people began to see the flaws of her campaign.

“It was all made up… pain isn’t the 5th vital sign, it isn’t even a vital sign,” said Washington.  “I just wanted it to sound important and get a raise, so I lumped it in the vital sign category.  I meant no disrespect to the true vital sign parameters.”

Pulse oximetry was excited to hear that pain was being removed as the 5th vital sign.  “I hope I can finally move up from the 6th spot now,” said pulse oximetry.  “After that I hope to take on temperature and maybe even heart rate.”  Pulse oximetry was not deemed important by hospital bureaucrats who rarely see patients, but instead answer complaints by patients, the true indicator of good care.  Skeptics wonder if the bureaucrats will fully cave.

Urine output, CVP monitor, and EKG tracing were also hoping to make a run on the pain spot at the time of publication.

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