Flu + Observation patients...go home please.


Specializes in Med-Surg Tele. Has 8 years experience.

We have been having an influx of younger (25-45 years old) coming into the ER and being admitted as abs because they are flu positive, febrile, reports of rigors at home and surprise, surprise a slightly elevated lactic acid with chest x-ray ordered (I work in a small inner city hospital on weekends only, so it's very often if a pt is stable the chest x-ray will wait till the AM). Now if someone is seriously ill from the flu, I get it, but these patients are exposing the staff as well as potentially the actually, seriously ill, immunocompromised person down the hall and that really bothers me. It also seems these are often the neediest, most demanding, unrealistic patients who are convinced they are included in the numbers of high risk for flu fatality and due to the powers that be, many of the physicians go along with it.

One particular patient was quite demanding, unhappy we had given him tusselon pearls, Tylenol and Tamiflu instead of his request of Promethazine-codeine cough syrup, mucinex, "something for sleep" morphine for his headache and a "high dose of vitamin C, maybe in the IV?". I love working with the particular physician who was assigned to this patient (this physician is on the cusp of retirement and is not only a wealth of knowledge but also a treasure trove of honest no BS interactions with patients). The physician came to update the patient saying his x-ray looked fine, labs were great and they could go home. The patient was indignant and said he didn't feel comfortable going home because his wife was out of town and he didn't have anyone around if "something went south". He then went on to complain that we weren't giving him anything he couldn't get from Walgreens and in fact he could get more. He had a headache, horrible cough, couldn't sleep, body aches, and so on. "Yes sir, that's called the flu, which you tested positive for, it is a miserable illness but one I suspect you'll recover from quite well without our assistance" The patient just looked at him blankly. I'll have the nurse print your paper work, oh and Mrs. Mermer....make sure you put plenty of couch therapy and all the Walgreens runs he desires in the special instructions and I'll include a note for your employer if you need, happy netflixing. I could hardly keep my composure.

Edited by mermer_rn

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 11 years experience. 2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

I suspect the coronavirus hype is making anxious types extra anxious.


Has 8 years experience. 65 Posts

I think it's just the behavior/manner issues that many patients are coming in with. I don't know about your area, but the hospitals around here are all about magnet status and patients satisfaction surveys. So management tries to please patients as much as possible even when they're in the wrong most of the time, which leading to nurses getting disrespected/mistreated from patients. Nursing isn't as joyful and respected the same as back in the day anymore.

This patient that you described sounds like he has experience coming to the hospital enough times to probably speak/demand things like this?