A recent report in a major peer reviewed medical journal (then poorly summarized in an advertisement laden medical bulletin email) has uncovered yet another disturbing sign of the growing disconnect between America’s youth and the medical establishment. It appears that there has been an alarming increase in inpatient “neonatal falls.” Over 1,600 of the tykes wiped out over the past year.
Not content to simply assume that that this was medical bulletin clickbait, our investigative team set out to uncover the truth behind this sudden spate of tripping tots. Have caregivers forgotten that newborn babies are notoriously unsteady on their feet? Is the opioid epidemic somehow to blame? Anesthesia?
Knowing that burned out physicians, new parents, and nursing staff would likely only muddy the waters further with their “clinical observations” we assembled a panel of hospital administrators and risk management experts who all agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.
One senior administrator at a major midwestern hospital said, “Look we all know these babies aren’t exactly ready for ballroom dancing, but protocols specifically state that patients are to ambulate a certain number of times a day.” Throwing her hands up in exasperation, she elaborated: “What are we supposed to do? Let the little squirts off the hook just because they’re newborns? Not on my watch.”
Said a risk management expert from a major teaching hospital: “You know, the problem is they’re clumsy as shit. And of course they never want to wait for nursing staff to help them go for a stroll. In our facility we don’t have one case where a baby even bothered to use the call light prior to taking a spill. Hell, we even tried making ‘Call Before You Fall!’ Signs with Elmo on them, but the defiant little F’ers just ignore the signs. Then someone pointed out that some babies can’t read, so we tried making a cartoon sign based on that wacky pain scale with the faces. Turns out posters of cartoon babies falling was a major downer, so we had to scrap it.”
A CEO from the west coast then weighed in. “I completely agree. We’re at a loss. We even looked into making those amazing nonslip hospital socks in newborn size, but that was gonna put a major dent in our budget. I mean, a CEO’s gotta eat, amiright?”
“You know how kids are—they just don’t listen,” said another administrator. “There’s no respect any more. You walk into a NICU room and the yellow babies under the lights don’t even take off their sunglasses when you talk to them. They just let their parents answer all the questions. It’s a societal problem and bad parenting. I think blaming hospitals for bad manners is just another case of blaming the victims—which of course are the hospitals and the administrators. We really need to put the onus on parents and the babies were it truly belongs.”
Overhearing the discussion, a passing pediatric intern was more than willing to set the record straight. “‘Neonatal falls’ sounds way better than ‘dropping babies.’ Nobody was gonna publish an article saying we dropped 1600 babies last year. Truth is, babies are slippery. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more. I mean have you ever been at a delivery? They’re like little greased pigs.”
Multiple task forces have been convened, along with focus groups, expert panels, and forced weekend retreats for medical staff in an effort to combat the neonatal fall epidemic. Proposed ideas include fully padded foam baby suits that bounce and keeping the umbilical cords really long like leashes to prevent the little buggers from wandering too far.