North Portland, Oregon—The defiance of an NPO order, whether intentional or accidental, may have profound consequences, including worsening of symptoms and delay of surgical procedures. In many of theses cases, the patients simply had forgotten their diet status. So to help remind them, administrators at North Portland Hospital have instituted a new policy whereby every hospitalized patient gets a tray for each meal no matter their diet order. In the case of NPO patients, their trays will simply be empty.
“What the [email protected]&# is this?” asked a bewildered Murray Thurman, upon receiving his bare tray. “Is this some kind of sick joke? You send me a tray with an empty plate, an empty bowl, an empty cup, an empty carton of milk and a pile of napkins? You even sent an empty sugar packet?! Was that really necessary? But, oh sure, this time you remembered the moist towelette! What the hell do I need that for now?”
Another patient, Harriet Chase, was similarly furious as she gazed upon her bare tray. “Those evil bastards even had the audacity to force me to make selections from a menu. There were so many delicious-sounding options, but for each section, the instructions were: Please choose none!”
Although unhappy, the NPO patients have quickly learned it’s better not to make a fuss about it. Chefs at this hospital apparently do not take criticism of their food well—even when the “food” is an empty tray. Take Mr. Thurman, for example, who unwisely complained and sent his “meal” back to the kitchen. Later, the head chef paid him a visit to apologize and deliver him a bag from a local fast food joint. Taking in the glorious smell of eggs and bacon, Mr. Thurman pounced on the bag, reached in and pulled out…an empty, crumpled-up wrapper and a lame toy. The chef just shrugged his shoulders, rubbed his belly, let out a thunderous belch and sauntered out.
There was, however, at least one patient who was pleased with getting an empty tray. “My family always says,” said Sal Ricci, “that I’m a terrible eater. Today, they came right after breakfast, saw the empty tray and thought I ate everything! They’ve never been more proud of me!”
Despite the mixed reactions from patients, the empty tray program has already been deemed a resounding success. Amazingly, no NPO patient—not a single one—has accidentally eaten since the new policy went into effect! Hopefully, lunch will go as smoothly as breakfast did.