The other day, I had to take my Mom to the hospital. It wasn’t anything life-threatening, but knowing her history, it was better to be safe than sorry.
Now I live in a small town, just like Bruce Springsteen, and our hospital is a small-town kind of hospital. It is an older building, filled with familiar faces. Each time I’ve gone over the past year, I see someone I know or recognize. That goes for the some of the doctors and most of the nurses. All of my previous visits with a family member have been relatively quick, with both doctors and nurses doing an excellent job.
But even the best of us are fallible.
The other day, when I went in with my Mother, it was busy. The wait was about three hours. Long, but not impossible. So we waited. After our arrival, a few other people showed up. One was an older gentleman who had fallen from a ladder. He was treated before us, and rightly so. There were also a couple of children that came in and were treated ahead of us. Still understandable. My Mom wasn’t serious, and these poor little kids were pretty sick.
But there were two other women, about my age or younger, who came after us and were let in before us. Now these women were sick, but it was definitely not dire, considering how they were talking with their supposedly throat infections. I’ve had throat problems in my youth, and one thing you don’t do, is be chatty. Both were walking around, talking and joking, so obviously not in a big rush. Yet, they went in before my Mother, who had been sitting in an uncomfortable hospital chair, in pain, worrying about her ailment.
After 5 and a half hours, my Mom decided to leave. She had already missed taking her regular pills, add to that the pain, the stress of waiting, and she had had enough. Fortunately, she’s put up with a lot in her life, so she’s dealing until tomorrow, when she has a doctor appointment.
To say I was pissed at the wait is an understatement.
I’m a pretty patient guy. I understood that some of the others that went ahead of us were of a high priority. But those two chatty Cathys were not. They had throat infections, or Strep throat, or whatever. I’ve had similar infections, once to the point I couldn’t talk. Yet I NEVER wasted the hospital’s time going in for something like that. I knew what to do and took the medicines. If I needed help, I went to see my doctor. Even if they didn’t have a family doctor, they could have waited until the following day to go to a walk-in clinic.
It is these kind of people, who waste the hospital’s time with things they could easily treat with over-the-counter medicines, or see their regular doctor, or visit a less vital health care location. People with real emergencies, small children or babies, and the elderly are the ones who suffer from these people’s self-entitlement. They are also the ones who put unnecessary strain on the health care system, and disrupt it for people who truly need it.
The closest city to where I live is Ottawa. Wait times there for non-emergency treatment is, according to their website, is between 5 and 6 hours. That’s from arrival to discharge or admission for further treatment if severe enough. All of my previous visits with ill/ elderly family members to the local, small-town hospital was generally 4 to 5 hours, from arrival to discharge. Waiting, just waiting to be looked at, should NEVER take 5 and a half hours!
When we arrived at the hospital, there were three nurses and one doctor on hand, and they were already busy. One of the nurses’ shift ended and she went home. But if they knew they were busy, they should have called another nurse or doctor to come in. Both are vital for hospitals, and even when a small-town hospital can get busy. But to leave so many people to the care of just three people isn’t fair to those struggling to get through the case-load, and it definitely isn’t fair to the people who need treatment. I don’t know what the policy is for doctors or nurses being on-call, but there should be people available, in case of higher than expected numbers of patients, or if something tragic happens, and they need more help.
The whole thing reminded me of all the horror stories I’ve read about American wait times to be treated at their hospitals. But, according to my loose-y, goose-y research, American wait times can vary from 38 minutes to 4 hours. But it doesn’t mention the bill you get afterwards if you have no health insurance, or the potential battle one might face if the health insurance company doesn’t want to pay if they find you didn’t mention a minute, inconsequential illness when you were 3 years old.
Health insurance and exorbitant medical costs aside, America has the potential to be a world leader in taking care of ALL of its citizens. It has the money, the technology, the highly trained doctors and nurses to ensure every single, solitary American has access to whatever treatments they may need. Yet, they insist that people pay the for the right to be healthy, while the wealthy bask in quick treatments and top-notch care. Most people would agree that maintaining one’s healthy is important, yet the mere mention of achieving this via “SOCIALIST” means sends all the close-minded, wealthy Republicans to their flag pole and spouting off the individuals rights and how a government should stay out of their citizen’s lives.
Funny, it’s ok for big organizations like the NRA to interfere with American’s lives, yet they won’t let the government help them with their health.
In the end, neither system is absolutely perfect. I was frustrated and pissed off at my local hospital, but I would rather have the so-called “evil socialist” health care system than the current American model, where people are tossed out of hospitals cause they don’t have health insurance, or families go bankrupt trying to pay a medical bill.
That’s not how a country should treat its people. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” John 3:17-18
See, greedy close-minded Republicans, even Jesus would have approved of a proper health care.