CODVILLE, CT — Following a 211-day stay at St. Rodger’s Medical Center ICU, including two weeks of uninterrupted asystolic cardiac arrest, patient Joseph Smith, 96, was transferred to the hospital morgue after being deemed “no longer requiring ICU level care.”
Mr. Smith had an unfortunate medical course since his admission to St. Rodger’s in the autumn of 2005—eventually manifesting in irreversible multi-system organ failure, refractory disseminated intravascular coagulation, and inoperable uncal-tonsillar brain herniation.
Despite uneventful Q1 hour cold calorics, weekly MRIs, a record breaking 1,500-hour continuous EEG, and a clinical exam consistent with unquestionable brain death, the patient remained a ‘full code’ at the wishes of his power of attorney. The patient’s family insisted that he has “always been a fighter.” The family cites that “in 1932 he was diagnosed with tonsillitis in elementary school and [he] recovered two days before expected.… we know he can come back from this too.”
After several months of ICU care, nursing administrator Kyle Hoite insisted that “vasoactive medications and mechanical ventilation can’t improve his MAPs and oxygenation, both of which have been zero for a mother****ing month.”
Hospitalist Dr. Emily Netter explains that patients on her inpatient morgue list have their death certificates signed AFTER the medical examiner report confirms no signs of life on autopsy, usually within a month after transfer to the basement. Dr. Netter refuses to sign the death certificate for Mr. Smith any earlier, especially in light of recent promising clinical progression. “His PT/OT evaluation went from partial to full weight bearing on lower extremities now that his rigor mortis has fully set in,” Dr. Netter optimistically remarks.
Hospital CFO Tony Rankle explains “the recent surge of morgue borders have been tough on hospital budget.” Though legal constraints do not allow disclosure of Mr. Smith’s cost to the hospital, Mr. Rankle adds “the finances involved in Mr. Smith’s decade long admission to our facility is enough capital to deliver fresh water to every starving child on this ****ing planet for the next ten years.”