Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back to Basics

The most recent group of postings stimulated the following from personal friend Gail Price:

I truly believe nothing good will happen to change health care errors and lack of clarity and fairness until hospitals are no longer a for-profit business; back when I was working as a Master's level nurse and early on as a Ph.D. psychologist, virtually all my colleagues/friends told of reducing fees for patients, giving them extra time on the phone (no fees) if needed. Hospitals were more concerned with life and good care and all hell broke loose if someone made a mistake. I once made one in the midst of an operation and the surgeon told me loud and clear for all to hear that if I ever did that again I would not be allowed to assist. Guess what: I never did that again. And it all had nothing to do with money; it had to do with loving one's work and loving one's patients. Now patients are merely dollar signs, not people. Witness the struggle nurses have trying to get adequate staffing numbers. An exhausted nurse is going to neglect patients merely because she has so little energy and concentration. I do wish someone would come out loud and clear against this for-profit-care we now have with most of the concern going to the "shareholders." It became criminal a long time ago; and the public knows little about what is truly going on. Some few years ago I was in California visiting friends and returning from a conference in LA to SF. I was rear-ended by a truck and had sufficient discomfort that my friends wanted me to go the ER at Kaiser (their provider who provided excellent care). I waited over two hours on an uncomfortable stretcher and when a doctor finally came into the room he walked across it and stood there and asked me a few questions, refusing to examine me or get an x-ray, even though I told him I had a mild scoliosis. In less than ten minutes he was out of the room. His recommendation: go home and get in my friends' outdoor hot tub. I make every effort to stay far away from hospitals.

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