The Surgeon General, after reading the results of a recent report about the alarming number of fatalities in U. S. hospitals that are due to preventable human error, was uncertain about what hospital to check his grandmother into when he learned that she was suffering from shortness of breath.
He decided the time had come from decisive government action. As a result, all hospitals must now display at the registration desk the following warning: "The Surgeon General has determined that hospitals may be hazardous to your health and may result in accidental death."
The American Civil Liberties Union is protesting the necessity of posting the warning, maintaining it infringes on the right of hospitals to conduct their business with the normal expectation that a certain number of patients will live and a certain number will leave in a less vital condition.
A spokesman for the ACLU stated, "This is clearly an infringement of the right to free enterprise. Hospitals should be entirely free to inform patients they can expect excellent healthcare, even if the spokesperson is not certain the institution can provide it. Compelling hospitals to be forthright about the prospects for survival unnecessarily infringes on their right to misinform patients."
Commenting on the issue, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "I can't comment because I could get appendicitis at any time, and I certainly wouldn't want the hospital to suspect I may not, should I survive the operation, act in its best interest."
In an effort to bolster the government's case, the FDA plans to establish a task force composed of hospital inspectors who will impersonate patients. At the end of a one year trial, a determination will be made of how many are still alive. Further action will be based on the tally