BALDWIN, NY – In a defiant stance against a patient Rick Moravsky’s request for double portions despite his ongoing treatment for CHF (congestive heart failure) exacerbation, family medicine attending Maureen O’Dea not only told his patient “No way, Jose!” but punished him further by making him NPO for the indefinite future.
“Is he NPO for any procedure or test? Of course not,” commented O’Dea, adding that the maneuver effectively acts as a patient timeout so that Moravsky can think long and heard about what he did and, even better, find time to craft a sincere apology. “Never ask a nurse or doctor for double proportions. I think that’s one of the lost Laws of the House of God.”
In a medical environment where health care professionals are feeling more powerless than ever, the ability to control one’s diet is one of the last few power cards they can play on wily patients. It is one of the checks and balances between patients and providers.
“Do I enjoy acting like the Soup Nazi? I kind of do, actually,” fellow family medicine colleague Robert Clarendon admitted, pointing out that 17 of his 18 patients are NPO, not for a procedure but to keep them honest. “Listen: If you came in with pancreatitis or a heart attack or you aspirated a hamburger, I’m sorry, you’re just not going to get those double portions. If you become hypoglycemic, that’s on you.”
In other news, charge nurse Tim Haggart has just informed O’Dea that another of her patients just made the outrageously bold request for triple proportions. O’Dea laughed; she is not one to roll over easy. “Forget the NPO diet, we’re going to bring out the big guns. Put him on a fluid restricted renal diet and get the discharge papers ready. Game on, Mr. Peters, game on!”
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