'Moving Meat' is a phrase for quick discharges in the ED. It's a prized skill and one that I, the Intern, do not have. Dear God did I have trouble with dispo last night. We're starting off with an orientation month in our program, and I guess I took 'starting slowly' literally to mean 'wait six to eight hours to dispo your patients'. Horrible.
So what? Well, a recent article in slate pointed out that people who are boarded (kept in a bed) in the ED are 4% more likely to die. There is a mortality effect to keeping patients around when they don't need to be there. Not to mention the experience of angst over discharge ruined my whole shift and probably those of my attendings and the nurses.
Why couldn't I send the quadriplegic with a UTI and no fever home? Root cause? I felt sorry for her. What, compassion bad in an MD? Well, feeling sorry for someone isn't compassion, it's pity. And pity kills. Compassion would've been to see her as a capable human being, and if she said she was OK to go home alone and handle her own follow-up and get her own drugs (as she hadn't last time) I should've probably let her. It sure was simpler watching dispo as a student then doing it. Sigh.