ROANOKE, VA – Dr. Foster was experiencing some bleeding during his right hemicolectomy. He asked, “What is the patient’s blood pressure?” Dr. Heathstrom looked up from his Sudoku puzzle: “112/78” and then returned to his work.
“No, no. I need that lower. I’m bleeding all over here.”
“I can’t do that, his brain needs to be perfused.”
“He won’t have any blood left to perfuse it!”
“Well, it’s not changing. Do you know what fixes bleeding? Sutures.”
“I won’t continue to operate if I can’t get the blood pressure down.”
This banter went on for a couple hours until the hospital administrator stepped in. Fredrick Hunts was wearing a large white suit over his corduroy sport coat and a hair net that was made for someone that had a beard, which he did not have. He warned the two physicians that they needed to figure it out soon because a new orthopedic surgeon had his block time starting at 11:45 p.m. and needed the OR, so if they couldn’t find a solution by midnight he was shutting the entire hospital down.
The anesthesiologist claimed he refused to negotiate. He then told his breaker, who just came in to give him a 15-minute break, to refrain from negotiating the blood pressure. When he returned the fight continued.
“Get some nitroglycerin for Dr. Heathstrom!” Dr. Foster ordered the OR nurse Jane.
“Get some more O-prolene on the field!” He piped back.
There was some movement under the drapes from Dr. Heathstrom. “Oh good the pressure is down.” Dr. Foster said beaming with excitement pecking over the drapes. “Wait, you just raised the art line transducer!”
The clock struck midnight and neither side could come to a compromise. The patient was sewn up and shipped out. Lights were turned off, and trucks and buses pulled up to the hospital. All 247 patients were removed and sent to another hospital where the staff was a little more compromising. The doctors and hospital administrators still were paid during this shutdown.