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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Don’t Get Sick or Hurt During a Weekend

Among the responses to daughter Eleanor’s comparison of human and animal care was the below from long-time friend Bill Busby.

Everybody knows of, or has experienced, this kind of horror story, but it is probably good to make special note on occasion, just to remind us that there are things that need fixing.
……………………………..

Your daughter's experience at the Stanford hospital is not at all unique.

For example, when wife Virginia was dying, I took her in an ambulance to the largest hospital – Presbyterian - in Albuquerque. We got there about 8:00 PM on a Saturday night. She was already mostly blind and deaf from lack of adequate sustenance (she couldn't swallow because of her post-polio syndrome--a condition doctors had pooh-poohed for years).

They put her on a bed and left her, crying and thrashing with leg pain. I looked all over for someone to help her but there was no one. After a couple of hours, our primary physician happened through the ER, took one look and prescribed a pain killer. But it was about 5 hours after that before she got relief, and only after the hospitalist prescribed another pain killer for her

For seven hours she lay on that bed thrashing and crying in pain. The excuse? The whole staff was attending to some unhelmeted kid who, drunk, had an accident on his motorcycle.

My late brother-in-law was a volunteer EMT in Southwest Kansas. One Saturday evening, he was called to help when a small car took on an 18-wheeler west of town and lost. Phil said they finally peeled the driver off the pavement, put a neck brace on him and transferred him to a back board.

Phil drove the ambulance at top speed with siren blaring all the way to Wichita where they put their patient on a gurney in a hospital corridor. Phil said the guy was still laying on the same gurney on the same back board when he went back the next morning to retrieve his backboard and neck brace. Phil could just as well have driven at a leisurely pace and stopped for an early breakfast.

It don't pay to get hurt or be sick on a weekend.

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