BOSTON, MA – Hospital administrators are under increased pressure to make ends meet, and the latest series of budget cutbacks at Massachusetts Lieutenant General Hospital (MLGH) has explained a recent spike in the number of 0-lead ECGs on the charts.
“The 230-lead ECG and the 12-lead ECG are things of the past at this hospital,” said frustrated cardiologist Dr. Amy Schlesinger, showing us several samples of these suboptimal ECGs. “As you can see, when you focus on finances and completely disregard Einthoven’s triangle, you get this.” Schlesinger gestures towards a blank electrocardiogram. “F**king useless.”
Health care professionals are baffled by the cost-saving measures, wondering if ECGs are truly the economic drain on hospital systems. They’re also wondering if we’re going this route why not get rid of ECGs altogether and at least make some savings by getting rid of ECG paper.
“Yeah, we asked our administrators that,” explained Schlesinger, who rolled her eyes so far into the back of her head that only the whites of her eyes and her optic nerves were showing. “They said something about providers being so coddled and finding ECG leads to be completely extraneous. There you have it: 0-lead ECGs.”
It remains unclear why the Division of Cardiology was the first to be targeted in the latest cycle of streamlining at MGLH. Next week, more headaches are expected to develop as the C-suite looks to promote ultrasoundless echocardiograms, stressless stress tests, and “blind” cardiac catheterizations.
“What the hell is the point of a cath if we’re not allowed to use dye or image anything?!” Schlesinger was foaming at the mouth. Sadly, she couldn’t wipe her mouth as paper towels also fell victim to the trimming of the fat.
Other divisions within the hospital are nervous, unsure who might be next. In the meantime, pulmonologists and gastroenterologists expect their scopes to be downgraded to flashlights, surgical subspecialties prepare to get used to operating by candlelight, and hospitalists and nurses began practicing how to chart with squid ink and papyrus.
“These are dark days ahead,” Schlesinger muttered.