Report: U.S. Hospitals Spend $2 Billion Each Year Replacing Gowns Taken By Escaped Patients

WASHINGTON—Amidst rapidly rising costs throughout the health care system, a report published Wednesday by the American Hospital Association has found that nearly $2 billion is spent each year replacing gowns taken by patients who escape from the nation’s medical centers.

The report, based upon inventory and expenditure data gathered from hospitals in all 50 states, found that patients who open one eye to make sure no one is watching, sit bolt upright in bed, and then flee medical facilities while still wearing hospital-issued gowns have significantly cut into health providers’ bottom lines and made it difficult for these institutions to ensure they maintain an adequate stock of such garments.

“The average hospital spends 43 percent of its annual supply budget on gowns, losing them every time an escaping patient waits for the nurse at the front desk to become distracted and then darts past while holding up a medical chart to hide their face,” said AHA president Richard Umbdenstock, who noted that countless hours of productivity are also lost whenever doctors spend a portion of their day frantically searching through hallways until they finally spot the escapee and shout for security to grab them. “Every time these patients peer carefully out of a doorway, steady their nerves with a deep breath, and then make a break for it down the intensive care ward corridor and toward the exit, they drive up medical costs.”

“Because once they go out those doors and speed off in a hijacked ambulance, we almost never get those gowns back,” Umbdenstock added.

In addition, Umbdenstock confirmed, health care facilities must pay millions of dollars to re-sterilize instruments that fall to the ground from carts every time fleeing patients crash into them as they sprint around a corner while making their getaway. According to the report, a patient’s escape often costs hospitals much more than the price of a single gown. Many escapees leave medical centers on the hook for up to $30,000 in damages, which begin to mount the moment fleeing patients rip the electrodes off their chest, and further accrue as they carelessly knock over their IV pole in their frenzy to run off, frequently spilling costly intravenous medication all over the floor.

“Aside from the equipment costs, many hospitals must pay workers’ compensation claims due to the physical injuries that staff members suffer when a patient on the run suddenly wheels a gurney into their path to impede their pursuit,” Umbdenstock said. “And if the escapee beats them to a waiting elevator, they are often hurt again when, running at full speed, they slam into doors that close just in the nick of time.”

“And this is to say nothing of the $185 million hospitals pay every year in added heating costs when doctors arrive to a room only to find an empty bed where the patient used to be and a wide-open window with the curtains billowing in the breeze,” he added.

The report discovered that the drain on resources further extends to white lab coats and stethoscopes, which are said to be frequently donned by fleeing patients who avoid pursuers by ducking into open supply closets, emerging moments later in garb that often allows them to pass as health care professionals.

Moreover, records suggest the nation’s hospitals are forced to pay an additional $8.6 billion in malpractice lawsuits each year when these individuals enter directly into an operating theater by accident where, because their identity has been obscured by a stolen surgical mask, they are mistaken for a scrub nurse and asked to hand instruments to a surgeon performing an appendectomy.

“Of course, these costs all double when patients escape in pairs, with one posing as a doctor and pushing the other in a wheelchair,” Umbdenstock said. “That’s twice the clothing we have to replace. But fortunately for hospitals’ finances, the wheelchair is almost always recovered when an orderly in pursuit of the fleeing duo later finds it toppled on its side in the parking lot with one wheel still spinning.”

Study Finds Dangers Even In Casual Bullfighting

BETHESDA, MD—Challenging conventional wisdom about the activity’s hazards, a groundbreaking new study by the National Institutes of Health published Thursday has determined there are significant dangers even in casual bullfighting.

The health agency’s latest findings indicate that bullfighting recreationally, often considered relatively harmless in comparison to frequent or habitual bullfighting, carries health risks far more severe and long lasting than had been previously understood.

“There’s a general perception out there that bullfighting in moderation is relatively safe, but our data paint a very different picture,” said lead author Susan Ellis, noting that the study, which assessed the health of more than 200 bullfighters, provided clear evidence that engaging in even just an occasional bullfight considerably raised the risk of adverse medical outcomes. “Whether you fight several bulls over the course of an evening or just one, the fact is, every single time you put that red cape in your hand and face down a 1,200-pound bull, you are endangering your health.”

“To avoid possible complications, your safest bet is to stay away from bulls altogether,” she added.

The study looked at both moderate bullfighting, defined as no more than 14 bullfights per week, and heavy bullfighting, defined as fighting five or more bulls on a single occasion at least five times per month. Researchers said that while the first category includes individuals who might bullfight socially or after a stressful day at work, the second consists of those who might keep a matador’s suit hidden in their home or slip out of the house to fight a bull behind the garage after their family has gone to bed for the night.

While they noted that daily bullfighters face the greatest risk, researchers said that even people who bullfight as little as once a week are several times more likely than their non-bullfighting peers to develop health problems such as contusions, gashes, skull fractures, and facial disfigurement.

Furthermore, the study suggests the detrimental effects of casual bullfighting can become even more pronounced over time, with MRI scans showing that areas of the brain controlling movement and speech may be affected by repeated exposure to the activity.

“Bullfighting with a few friends at a party may seem like no big deal, but the consequences can be quite severe,” said Diana Nussbaum, a Sibley Memorial Hospital administrator who has witnessed the ravages of casual bullfighting firsthand. “We had a guy in here the other day who decided he was going to perform a couple of tandas with his banderilleros in a parking lot, and the next thing you know, he’s in the ER with a pierced lung. And that sort of thing is all too common.”

According to top medical experts, it is especially important for young people to avoid the temptation to experiment with bullfighting. Doctors claim that teenagers often believe they’re invincible and therefore give less thought to the consequences of their actions, which makes them more likely to engage in risky bullfighting behaviors, such as the horse-mounted rejoneo or Portuguese-style bullfighting.

At the same time, because their brains are still developing, they are reportedly more susceptible to the cognitive impairments that can result from horn- or hoof-related head injuries.

“I tried it one time and felt terrible afterward,” said Greg Mathison, a high school student from Lewiston, ME, when asked about his bullfighting habits. “A lot of people at my school do it. They come to class and you can tell what they’ve been up to. Some of them get pretty messed up.”

“I’m just glad I don’t need to bullfight to have a good time,” he added.

Man Who Baked Banana Bread Spends Entire Party Anxiously Watching It Go Uneaten

OAK PARK, IL—Eyeing his contribution to the gathering’s potluck offerings with concern, local man Thomas Rafferty reportedly spent the duration of his coworker’s party Saturday anxiously watching his homemade banana bread go uneaten.

According to reports, Rafferty periodically checked up on the loaf of banana bread he brought to colleague Jessica Dowling’s party throughout the evening, repeatedly finding excuses to walk by the table of dessert and snack items and keeping the confection in his line of sight while socializing.

“God, it’s been over an hour—someone should have taken a piece by now,” said the man who set the banana bread on a plate some 75 minutes earlier, making sure to remove its plastic wrap covering in an effort to make the baked good as accessible and visually appealing as possible. “There must be 25 people here. What’s taking so long?”

“It’s sitting right there,” Rafferty continued. “Come on.”

Rafferty, who spent much of the party lingering in the kitchen near the varied assortment of treats, is said to have anxiously looked on when anyone approached the table, his mood swinging from a sense of hopeful optimism to disappointment and anxiety when guests ignored his banana bread and left with another food item. Though Rafferty considered taking a piece for himself in order to “get the ball rolling,” he told reporters that he ultimately decided the move would reek of desperation.

After dozens of minutes of mounting aggravation, the 31-year-old reportedly surmised that his fellow guests’ indifference to his contribution to the party most likely stemmed from the fact that he had neglected to set out a knife, explaining to reporters that he was confident that, after he placed the utensil alongside the treat, guests would eagerly try the banana bread. However, half an hour later, a flustered Rafferty confirmed that the knife still had not been used to slice the bread.

Rafferty reportedly made a conscious effort halfway through the party to put the banana bread out of his mind and not let it affect him, though he eventually proved unable to resist glancing over at his homemade dessert while chatting with several guests, and only grew more exasperated upon noticing that the bread remained wholly intact.

“Of course everybody just loves that damn carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting,” said Rafferty, who nearly two hours after arriving, reportedly began second-guessing his recipe and his decision to make banana bread in the first place. “It probably looks bland compared to those lemon bars over there. God, I could have made oatmeal raisin cookies, but I just had to go with banana bread, didn’t I?”

“I knew I should have added chocolate chips,” Rafferty added. “Dammit.”

Growing increasingly agitated as the party wore on, Rafferty reportedly made an excuse at one point to visit the bathroom, stopping quickly along the way to relocate his banana bread to a more prominent position in the center of the table while pushing a popular tray of fudge brownies toward the back. Fifteen minutes later, however, Rafferty was said to be fuming again after checking up on the still-undisturbed banana bread and finding that someone had finished off the chocolate bundt cake.

“Why would anybody choose mini muffins that were obviously bought from a grocery store over a slice of freshly baked banana bread?” said Rafferty, sighing in apparent disgust. “Next time, I guess I’ll just bring some damn onion dip. Is that what they want?”

“[The party’s host] Jessica made a big deal about how tasty my banana bread looked when I first got here, but she still hasn’t taken a slice, even though I’ve seen her polish off three apple tartlets,” Rafferty added. “Fucking liar.”

Man Has Carefully Calculated Timeline For Revealing Negative Personality Traits To New Girlfriend

BALTIMORE—Saying he doesn’t want to scare her off by springing too much on her all at once, local man Daniel Hastings explained Tuesday that he has devised a carefully calculated timeline for revealing his negative personality traits to the woman he is now dating.

The 31-year-old IT technician told reporters that by strategically planning when to expose each of his various character flaws to new girlfriend Melanie Carlin, he hopes to provide her with a sufficient period of time to acclimate to one shortcoming before she is presented with another.

“I’ll probably reveal my occasional stubbornness and impatience to her right off the bat, just to get those out of the way,” said Hastings, noting that years of experience have taught him he will need to “play this just right” if he doesn’t want the relationship to end prematurely. “Then I’ll lay off for a full month and let that settle in before I start showing her how I can be pretty sullen and childish when I don’t get my way.”

“If I were to let her see I’m a slob right at the beginning, that would probably be a little much to take,” he continued, “but after 12 weeks it should be totally fine to stop picking things up off the floor before she comes over.”

Hastings went on to state that by the end of the summer, the 29-year-old woman would likely be invested enough in the relationship for him to safely display his short temper, and that he would wait until then to snap at her over the phone or make petty, passive-aggressive remarks without any provocation.

Once he has passed the important milestone of meeting Carlin’s parents, Hastings said he would carry out an ambitious back-to-back unveiling of his arrogance and lack of direction, followed up with a next-day disclosure of the fact that he’s really bad with money.

According to reports, the Clarksville, MD native has even slated an empty “catch-up week” just before the holidays so he can disclose any unappealing facets of his personality he has been unable to get to as scheduled during the calendar year.

“By month 10, I should be clear to start showing my controlling and possessive side by making a few sarcastic cracks about how Melanie spends too much time with her friends,” said Hastings, adding that he would be sure to do this in a joking manner so she would not be able to tell whether he was serious or not. “Just to plant the idea, you know? I figure I’ll definitely want to ease her into that one.”

Should his girlfriend eventually opt to give up the lease on her apartment and move in with him, Hastings remarked that he would then be able to “launch into a whole bunch of other stuff,” including his laziness, his tendency to be clingy, his preference to stay at home as much as possible, his cowardice, his resentment of his position in life, his fragile ego, his superficiality, and his cynicism toward most of the world around him.

“Hopefully Melanie invites me to a big family gathering at some point, maybe around our first anniversary together, because that would be the perfect time to debut my contempt for her relatives by refusing to engage in conversation and then demanding to leave early,” Hastings said. “If I’ve laid the groundwork ahead of time with a handful of snide comments about her parents, it should feel like a natural progression of the narcissism and thoughtlessness she’s already seen.”

“And by that point, I’ll have pretty much laid my entire personality out there,” he added. “Except for my tendency to bend the truth and inability to take personal responsibility for any of my problems, which I plan to keep to myself for as long as possible.”

Though Hastings has reportedly expended a great deal of effort formulating his timetable, sources confirmed he would definitely be willing to speed up the disclosure of his personal faults should Carlin start revealing hers.

Man Thinking About Just Packing Up And Making Exact Same Mistakes Someplace Far Away

TEMPLE TERRACE, FL—Feeling the need to get out of his suburban hometown and make a fresh start for himself, local man Gregory Forlano told reporters Tuesday he is seriously considering throwing all his belongings in the back of his car and making the exact same mistakes someplace far away.

The 36-year-old Florida native said that after years feeling dissatisfied with his stale social life, his tedious dead-end job, and the monotony of his daily routine, he is on the verge of severing all ties to his current life in the Tampa area and lapsing into an equally unfulfilling existence for himself in a brand-new city.

“I’ve just been spinning my wheels in this town for so long; I feel like I need to get out of here and become mired in the same problems somewhere completely new,” said Forlano, adding that his discontent over residing in a cramped one-bedroom apartment and patronizing the same two dive bars with a group of shiftless, unambitious friends every weekend had motivated him to seek out an identically limited and unsatisfying existence outside of his comfort zone. “I could really use a change of scenery. It’s about time I headed to some new city where I can start over with a totally blank slate and instantly stumble backward into the same self-defeating behaviors that will ultimately leave me in an indistinguishable, pitiful situation within months.”

“I don’t know where I’m going to fritter away the next stage of my life just like I’ve wasted the previous two decades, but I know it can’t be here,” he continued.

Forlano told reporters that he hopes to leave behind the drudgery of his present lifestyle by taking to the open road with no destination in mind and driving until he finds another town where he feels he can put down new roots, continue making no effort to improve himself, and never pursue his passions. The unmarried administrative assistant added that he often spends his time daydreaming about making the move to a far-flung location where he would be surrounded by entirely new people with whom he could reassume his dispiriting series of disappointing OkCupid dates and brief, dysfunctional relationships.

Explaining how he believed he needed to “really shake things up,” Forlano emphasized that the time had come for him to get out of Florida and slip into a virtually identical pattern of ordering takeout from one of three nearby restaurants and spending his ample downtime watching reruns of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in an entirely different state.

“I’ve gotten so used to being unfulfilled here that sometimes I forget there’s a whole wide world out there where I could be equally depressed and joyless,” said Forlano, adding that he has begun asking himself what’s stopping him from being just as miserable in Atlanta, Nashville, or even San Francisco. “There are so many amazing places that I’ve never been to before, and I feel I owe it to myself to take advantage of some new opportunities to experience the crushing professional stagnation and perpetual self-loathing I’ve always felt.”

“Honestly, at this point, I might just throw a dart at a map and go be a useless fuckup wherever it lands,” he added.

At press time, Forlano had reportedly reconsidered his choice, committing himself to digging even deeper into his rut in his hometown for the foreseeable future.

Head Of National Potato Council Declares U.S. In Midst Of Potato Renaissance

POCATELLO, ID—Hailing our day and age as the “single greatest moment in history to be a potato consumer,” National Potato Council president Dan Lake declared Tuesday that the United States is in the midst of an unparalleled potato renaissance.

Drawing on his decades of experience as a celebrated cultivator, observer, and student of the root vegetable, Lake described “a great flourishing of the potato” across America, a profound phenomenon the likes of which we may never see again.

“If you’ve been lucky enough to get your hands on a Yukon Gold or Red Thumb in the past few years, I needn’t tell you these are the halcyon days of the potato,” Lake said during his keynote address at the Idaho Potato Conference, stressing that he spoke not in his role as a potato representative, but as a connoisseur and human being. “At present, every aspect of potato culture, from the field to your plate, is undergoing a great and exhilarating renewal, and for those who appreciate the finer qualities of this starchy tuber, the bounty will be breathtaking.”

“Right here, right now is the dawn of the potato age,” he added. “In our produce aisles, a brilliant transformation is afoot.”

Sources within the nation’s foremost agricultural circles confirmed there had long been murmurs of a comingpomme de terre époque, a new awakening across the country that would signal a shift in the way Americans think about potatoes. They cited advances in cultivation, packaging, shipment, and storage as bellwethers of the modern era of potato enlightenment, a period in which all people will, according to Lake, “revel in the glories of the potato.”

At the conference, Lake evoked with great satisfaction the reimagined world of potatoes his generation would be able to hand to the next—one brimming with vast fields of impeccable Kennebecs, Austrian Crescents, and Purple Majesties—yet he emphasized that the immense tuberous achievements we enjoy today were by no means inevitable.

“The 1970s through the mid-’80s were dark times for the potato, as most of us here remember all too well,” said Lake, recalling the benighted attitudes toward Russet Burbanks and fingerlings he had been subjected to as a young man. “Many questioned whether we would ever recover. To all the naysayers who turned their backs on potatoes, to them I say, ‘Look at potatoes now. Look at the Adirondack Red, the Elba, the Colorado Rose, the German Butterball!’”

“When the chronicle of our age is written, the potato will be on page one,” Lake continued. “The forthcoming generations will grow up knowing only a world in which potatoes stand exalted and supreme. They will bask in the splendors of vegetables once derided as ‘taters’ and ‘spuds.’ Ladies and gentlemen, we stand on the threshold of a shining, triumphant, potato-filled tomorrow.”

While encouraging potato growers to take pride in ushering in this unprecedented potato resurgence, Lake cautioned against falling victim to excessive hubris and urged the industry not to rest on its laurels.

“Let us not forget the lessons of history: The superiority of the green bean went unquestioned for decades, and we all know what happened to it,” he said. “It is critical that we never take this golden age for granted, because there but for the grace of God go potatoes.”

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