I’ve been thinking about what’s needed to help reduce the numbers of inappropriate Emergency Department consultations. We need a Zombie Apocalypse!
Think about it, it makes perfect sense! Nobody is going to chance being eaten alive by herds of ravenous zombies just to have someone look at their back pain in the Emergency Department. To take a chance with streets full of flesh eating crazies, they’re either going to be pretty unwell, or having some kind of medical emergency.
There’ll be fewer demands for things like crutches or a knee braces, which show an employer how serious a sprain it is, as it’s much harder to outrun your flesh crazed zombie sister with a support boot on. Dodging herds of hungry walking dead is going to be better than any physiotherapy that you can prescribe, so there’ll be less inappropriate referrals to ED hoping to get faster access to that neither.
There’ll be no more attendances of pyrexial children, as suspicion of zombie infection would prompt unwanted attention from the other axe wielding patients, so mums will have to nurse their own kids at home. There’ll be no inappropriate use of antibiotics for a sore throat or tonsillitis as general practice will already have used up most of them treating early signs of zombie as chest infection. Those antibiotics that remain will have to be reserved for bacterial infections only.
The work is going to be much more interesting too. Routine minor ops will include emergency amputations for zombie bites, and the Liverpool end of life pathway will require testing for brain death with a long sharp knife. There’ll even be a new step needed in the ALS algorithm, just after asystole, to cater for the undead.
There’ll be less Opiate, Benzo, or Z-drug seeking attendances because users will fear being mistaken for a zombie, and those that did, are likely to have already been shot in the head with a crossbow. Services such as 111 will cease to operate as they’ll simply run out of well patients to send to ED, and Friday afternoon GPs will vanish due to an inability to recognise a zombie without a second opinion.
It’s not all good news though; 999 will likely get busier because the buses won’t be running and people will still need to collect their vitamin prescriptions. Attendances for toothache are unlikely to improve neither, as most people would still rather be undead than take pain killers until they can see a dentist. Geriatrics is going to suffer a recruitment dry spell, though locum rates are expected to be very good.
Until then, I’m afraid it’s back to the typical grind of a day in the Emergency Department. I’m being shouted over to see a frantic man in cubicle 4 who says someone on the street has just bitten his wife and given her Fibromyalgia.