NEW ORLEANS, LA – A tertiary care academic medical center has sent shockwaves through the medical community after sending a patient back to the transferring hospital after receiving inadequate transfer documents.
Dr. Vincent Mario, Chief of Critical Care Medicine at the Doctors University Hospital (DUH), accepted a patient for transfer to the ICU from the New Orleans Orthodox Baptist Hospital (NOOB Hospital), a small community hospital in the Big Easy.
During the transfer call, Dr. Mario said, “They told me the patient had been in a catastrophic bus accident and then later got acute renal, hepatic, and respiratory failure, a myocardial infarction, and a stroke. He needed further workup and care at a tertiary care center.” However, when the patient arrived, Dr. Mario found that all he had with him was a large stack of physical therapy and nutrition notes.
“It’s ridiculous!” Dr. Mario said. “We’ve gotten lousy transfer summaries from the folks at NOOB before. One time they sent a transfer summary written on a napkin. But there always was a transfer summary!”
The transferring physician at NOOB was Dr. Julius Caesar, who had previously won accolades for efficiency of writing with his three-sentence discharge summary for a six-month hospitalization. He told GomerBlog, “Look, I took care of the fracture! The rest is up to Medicine.”
Dr. Mario disagreed, however, and after reviewing the documentation that accompanied the patient, he ordered the helicopter flight medics to stop untangling all lines and tubes and to simply take the patient back. Prior to doing so, he did quickly type a transfer summary: “Patient arrived. Patient status unknown due to lack of documentation. Patient deemed stable for transfer to lower level of care and transferred back to community medical center.”
Reportedly, this will count as a 30-day readmission for NOOB Hospital. Administrators at that hospital called an emergency meeting to determine how best to prevent this situation from recurring in the future. After determining that simply writing transfer summaries would make too much sense, administrators have announced a new policy for NOOB Hospital that will include a 2,034 check box EHR discharge summary that will go into effect next week for all patients: “No backsies.”