PHILADELPHIA, PA—Ms. Roberta Flowers, well-known to Philadelphia General Hospital staff as a gomer, has successfully been treated for “pneumonia” and is ready to be discharged from the medical ward as soon as a bed opens up in the emergency room.
Admitted to the medical unit one week ago after a thorough evaluation of vague complaints revealed only a possible small left lower lobe consolidation, Ms. Flowers, who is an 88 year old woman with dementia, was successfully treated with a lengthy course of broad spectrum IV antibiotics. Her doctors are confident she is now ready for discharge to the ER so an evaluation of her 100 other complaints can commence.
“We are pleased with how quickly her pneumonia responded to the antibiotics,” said Dr. Charlie Bowman, her attending physician. “She has no cough, shortness of breath or fever. Of course, she had none of those symptoms at time of admission either. We just admitted her based on a preliminary read of her chest x-ray by a radiology intern that was later revised to be a normal study. We didn’t know what to do with her otherwise.”
Ms. Flowers now complains of diarrhea and a rash, so Dr. Bowman is eager to get her down to the ER as soon as the unit’s case manager secures her a bed. Other complaints that warrant the attention of ER staff include generalized pain, dysuria, headache, paranoid thinking, nasal congestion, swollen finger, discolored toes, heartburn and poor appetite.
Jennifer Sanchez, the case manager assigned to Ms. Flowers, is hopeful an ER bed will be available soon. “Ms. Flowers is well known to the ER staff so we are hoping that their familiarity with her will help get her accepted there again,” said Sanchez. “But the charge nurse down there said that the ER is filled to capacity and she has no idea when there will be beds available. She said it might take weeks for a bed to open up. If she’s not accepted, I don’t know what we will do. The best plan might be to order an Uber and tell the driver to take her to the next closest ER.
“After all, one thing’s for sure,” continued Sanchez, “gomers like Ms. Flowers don’t belong on the medical ward. They belong in the ER.”