ATLANTA, GA – Sweet anticipation is in the air at Georgia Medical Center (GMC). No one plans on going home as everyone – patients, families, hospital staff, everyone – is looking forward to tonight’s main event: a no-holds-barred, hell-in-a-cell, steel-cage family meeting between the Johnsons and Palliative Care. Tickets sold out in under ten minutes last week.
“If the first family meeting gave us any indication, this is going to be an absolute slobberknocker,” said hospitalist and primary caretaker Molly Jones, who will officiate tonight’s family meeting. “This is the biggest family meeting in healthcare history.”
Marie Johnson is a 92-year-old lady with end-stage dementia who presented to GMC with failure to thrive and recurrent urinary tract infections. She no longer has decision-making capacity and her children have stepped in. Ever since day one, the Johnsons and Palliative Care have been butting heads over goals of care with neither giving nor gaining ground. There is bad blood, which has provided much needed drama to GMC’s medical floors.
“No one’s watching TV,” said respiratory therapist Anna McLendon as she showed off her front row tickets to tonight’s meeting. “Everyone’s paying close attention to the Johnson-Palliative saga. It’s better than reality TV; it’s reality!”
Things got tremendously heated when code status came up for the first time during Family Meeting I. From there, a cordial discussion morphed into thirty minutes of nonstop fisticuffs, pile drivers, sleeper holds, and choke slams. There were even unexpected run-ins: a chaplain snuck behind the patient’s brother and nailed him across the head with a folding chair; the patient’s mother gave the palliative care social worker The People’s Elbow; and even Stone Cold Steve Austin ran in and gave everyone his trademark Stunner. Family Meeting I was hellacious, as if everyone had been ejected from a trainwreck, thus providing a fascinating backdrop for Family Meeting II. As it stands, the patient is full code without a clear post-hospital disposition.
“Will the patient be discharged? go to hospice? be DNR? get a PEG tube?” asked intrigued charge nurse Karen Applebee, who is pulling for Palliative Care. “There are so many storylines and so many questions that need to be answered. I just can’t stand the suspense!!!”
Seeing this as an opportunity to make additional revenue, hospital administrators upped the ante by replacing the traditional conference room with a cage that is 15 feet tall, 36 feet wide, and composed of 16 tons of steel. The building of the cage was funded by across the board cuts in salary to all healthcare providers.
“No disqualifications and no escapes,” explained administrator Jason “The Douche” Moneypants. “The Johnsons, Palliative Care can do what they please. The goal isn’t to come together. First team to score a pinfall or submission wins the family meeting.” The Douche added moments later: “Oh, and a reminder to everyone here: please don’t forget to fill out those cage match satisfaction surveys, it would really help us out!”
The Palliative Care team is considered underdogs because of their recent history of poor performances in main event family meetings. They lost both a TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) family meeting against the Tuckers in 2013 and an Electrified Cage family meeting to the Williams in 2014. However, Palliative Care remains optimistic.
“We have a great game plan,” said palliative care attending Elaine Michaels back by her team of masked nurse practitioners, social workers, and chaplains. “We’re gonna take some deep breaths and start out in a very calm manner. And when they least expect it? Bust out a can of WHOOP ASS and show them what palliation is REALLY about!”