SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Physician assistant (PA) Iris Jones thought it was just another day in the Observation Unit or Obs Unit. She made her rounds and did what she was asked to do for these patients in observation status: observe and observe only.
“See that guy in Room 1?” asked Jones. “He’s coughing. I observed that.” Jones walked away and proceeded to let the patient in Room 1 continue to hack up a lung, no cough syrup or anything.
“The woman in Room 3,” pointed Jones. “She threw up. I saw it with my own eyes. I bet there’s a cause.” GomerBlog asked Jones if she would write for any antiemetics for the patient. Jones laughed. “Of course not. We’re in Obs.”
Just then the patient in Room 4 developed bright red blood per rectum. “That’s a lot of blood,” observed Jones, her intensity turned up a notch. “Any more bleeding like that and this guy will need an intervention, maybe even a diagnosis.” The patient had another episode of hematochezia. “I’ve observed enough. He’s no longer Obs appropriate.”
Jones works at San Francisco University Medical Center Healthcare System Hospital Clinic General of San Francisco (SFUMCHSHCGSF) and their hospital consists of numerous Obs Units where patients are strictly observed. In the event a patient needs more than just observation, the patient can be transferred to any of several units: the Diagnosis Unit (DxU), the Differential Diagnosis Unit (DDxU), the Acute Intervention Unit (AIU), the Subacute Intervention Unit (SIU), the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and the Really Really Intensive Care Unit (RRICU).
“He’s better off in the Acute Intervention Unit,” stated Jones, as she made arrangements to transfer the patient in Room 4. She wiped the brow off her forehead, which technically is an intervention. “Phew, that was a close call. I almost had to order labs or consent for blood. That’s outside my job description here in the Observation Unit.” Jones then skipped to the grab a quick bite in the Cafeteria Unit (CU).
The patient in Room 4 would do well in the AIU, though he spent a brief period of time in the delirium unit (DU). He’s now on the road to recovery in the recovery unit (RU), with plans to visit the Physical Therapy Unit (PTU), Occupational Therapy Unit (OTU), and the Placement Unit (PU).