JACKSONVILLE, FL – Michael Redmond – a patient so regular to St. Joseph Hospital’s ER that if he doesn’t show up for a couple days, the staff gets worried that he may be actually sick – came in Tuesday with his weekly abdominal pain. In a rare showing of restraint, Dr. Christina Johnson refused to order Mr. Redmond’s 17th CT scan this year. “He may have the fastest growing tumor in the world, but I’m willing to risk it,” said Dr. Johnson.
Needless to say, Mr. Redmond was placed as low acuity and was going to have to wait to get his pain medication he came in for.
“I’m sick of this [expletive] place!” Mr. Redmond yelled in frustration. “I’ll leave right now if I don’t get my pain medication.”
This threat to leave AMA sent shockwaves through the ER. In a sweeping movement, every head turned and jaw dropped with concern. The scene that followed was divine cooperation.
Nurse Shannon dropped a chart right on the floor and beelined to the Pyxis. The ER doctor noticed the desk clerk was on break so he stopped chest compressions he was performing in the bay next door. “If that order doesn’t get in right now, the patient is as good as gone.” He grabbed the closest person he could find to run the code while he went to the desk and entered in his order of Dilaudid.
Time was ticking down as Mr. Redmond had now taken off his hospital gown and was lacing up his shoes. Luckily for the ER team his IV was still in place, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before that was as good as gone.
To make matters worse in between his loud cussing and threats to leave, his pain increased to 12/10. “We thought we were going to lose him [not death, but AMA from the ER] when his pain broke the laws of math and became larger than the scale itself!” Dr. Johnson told reporters later that night. He continued, “It did remind me of that scene from Spinal Tap when the volume goes to 11, but that was a spoof movie, this was real life!”
Meanwhile, trouble was brewing at the Pyxis machine where Nurse Shannon’s fingerprint was not accepted. “Only when I’m in a hurry!” she shouted in frustration. Two forehead swipes later the Pyxis finally took her print, and of course she had to enter in the patient’s information because he was not yet entered. “Screw it. I’m taking it out under emergency. The emergency patient name is reserved only for just that: emergencies. This exact situation.”
The nurse that Shannon had to hip check out of the way went back to taking out code drugs for the Code Blue occurring in the next bay.
Nurse Patti had a syringe and needle ready to go so when Shannon threw the Dilaudid underhand to her from across the ER she caught it and quickly drew it up. Then sprinted to bay 8.
The timing couldn’t have been better, Michael Redmond was putting on his sweatshirt and started to stand up as if he was walking out of the examination room. Nurse Patti met him at the exam room door’s threshold. Huffing and puffing from being out of breath she said, “We… got…” breath, breath “it.” Raising the syringe above her head with her right hand while her left hand was on her knee supporting her bent over body trying to catch her breath.
Mr. Redmond was still miffed but sat back down so he could get his medication.
At the press conference later, Dr. Johnson spoke for the whole team: “We are just so happy the team was able to get his pain medication before he could leave AMA. His pain must have been bad if we was willing to leave instead of get his medication. I wouldn’t have slept well tonight knowing a guy with 10/10 pain, or even 12/10, was just walking around out there NOT being treated.”
Another satisfied patient for reimbursement. Of note, the patient coding passed away, and won’t be able to fill out a patient satisfaction survey.