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Thursday, July 31, 2008

An epidemic of Fake Pneumonia

It's spreading hospital to hospital, patient to patient, faster than any disease on the market. Would you believe the disease I'm referring to doesn't even exist. In fact, it's not even contagious.

I'm sure all nurses and RTs have seen it: it's fake pneumonia.

Fake pneumonia: Patients that are diagnosed with pneumonia, but there is nothing on the chart to indicate pneumonia. The x-ray and labs look normal. Auscultation reveals clear lung sounds. When the patient is asked, he or she indicates no trouble breathing. The patient says something like, "I've never been short of breath in my life."

(Click here to check the signs and tests that indicate real pneumonia)

So why the diagnosis of pneumonia. I can only make guesses here.

  1. The doctor had no clue what was wrong, so he chose the most common diagnosis

  2. Pneumonia is the most reimbursable diagnosis.

  3. The pt looked bad, but otherwise didn't meet criteria for admission.

  4. The doctor actually thought the patient had pneumonia.
  5. The patient is a lot of work for a family member, and they need a break
  6. There really is no reason.

And, in order to meet criteria for admission, all pneumonia patients must have Q4 breathing treatments ordered. If they are not sick enough to have breathing treatments, they are not sick enough to be admitted.

Fake pneumonia is very contagious. You cannot get it by person to person contact. You can only get it from your doctor. So be wary.

That is, unless you want to be admitted. If that's the case, see a participating* doctor near you.

*Note: Not all doctors in your area will paritcipate in this program.

2 comments: said... I detect a hint of sarcasm?

Excellent post :)

Sarah said...

We are having an epidemic of fake pneumonia this summer to keep the census up.