Monday, July 27, 2009

Hospitals -- where's the 'care' in their Care?

I hate hospitals. The doctors are overworked, the nurses are overworked. Few people seem to have the time to show that they got into the 'care business' because they have a caring heart. Whether or not healthcare costs are lowered as a result of the Obama health care proposals, I am not sure what can be done to humanize the process of 'care' in most hospitals.

Don't get me wrong. One on one, I think nurses are fantastic. They are the true advocates for patients and I believe that they care. I have many friends who are nurses and I can see how much of themselves go into their profession.

I think the biggest issues are the long hours, the burnout, and the crap that they have to put up with by certain doctors who take them for granted rather than treating them as partners in patient care.

Today, I had to take Christi to the hospital. The ER was full so she spent over an hour suffering in the Waiting Room with no effort made to reduce her pain. When she was moved to an ER room, it took the usual extended effort to get an IV into her and blood drawn. She did finally get some meds for pain and nausea. But then the nurses and doctors were absent for several hours until the blood work came back -- and the results negative as always.

After that, we saw no one for another hour. As her pain began to return, it took me several attempts to get a nurse to DO something about it. They ignored her call button light. Finally, I got the doctor to tell me she was being admitted and that the floor would take care of her at that point. After more bugging, they gave her something for her pain.

Now I know that the ER is a busy place. Lots of people were coming through; lots of ambulances were bringing in patients. But it was still VERY upsetting to feel that I needed to track down people to get Christi attention. What if I hadn't been there?

We have spent enough money at this hospital to have a wing named after Christi. In fact, the hospital has done a lot of remodeling over the past nine years -- building a new ER wing, expanding floors, updating equipment, even providing wireless Internet for patients and guests.

I guess they should have taken some of that money and increased their STAFF to provide better customer care. Sometimes the best medicine is love and attention between the staff and the patient. I think we need to get back to those basics.

We don't have to sacrifice the humanity of medicine as we rush towards progress in treatment and diagnostics.

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