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“Can you toss us some arm floaties too?”

ATLANTA, GA – The result of an alarming increase in paperwork-associated deaths by drowning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially mandated that all health care professionals wear life preservers when not tending to patients.

“When you think of drowning, you naturally think of water, but the tide has turned,” Director of the CDC Brenda Fitzgerald told reporters at a press conference this morning.  “Our frontline providers aren’t aspirating water any longer: they’re literally drowning in paperwork.”

Autopsies performed on 896 health care professionals who died under a tsunami of paperwork over the past 12 months revealed lungs – from the trachea all the way down to each individual alveolus – to be suffocated with charts, prior authorization forms, and coding queries.  The shocking results, which were presented at the CDC earlier this week, prompted Fitzgerald and her staff to immediately issue the mandate.

“Look, this is the new reality of modern medicine, adapt or die,” Fitzgerald wrote in a statement that can be found on the CDC home page.  “Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE, must wear a life preserver when not involved in direct patient interaction, which essentially amounts to all the time.  Just put it on when you get to work and take it before you go to bed.”

Though the CDC hasn’t made it a mandate, it is strongly advising health care institutions to offer swimming lessons to all of its staff.  That being said, life preservers should be worn by everyone independent of their swimming ability.

“Do not think that by being a strong swimmer you are immune to drowning in paperwork,” Fitzgerald said at the press conference.  Her message was stern.  She pounded her fist on the podium, knocking one of the duck bathtub toys onto the ground.  “Not even Michael Phelps can stay afloat in these flash floods of forms.”

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