Showing posts with label Hospital Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hospital Business. Show all posts

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Don't Be Rude To Your Doctors

Remember this classic scene from the movie "Terms of Endearment"? This 1983 tear jerker starred Shirley MacLaine as a desperate mother trying to tend to her hospitalized daughter. Scenes like this helped her win the Oscar for best actress that year.

At the time, I, along with nearly every other naive movie watching public, applauded how much she cared for her daughter and raised our collective fists at the callous reaction of the nurses. They appeared to be more concerned about charting their patients than actually looking after them. Now I know better. If any family member raised such histrionics nowadays, the nurses are more likely to call hospital security than to rush to the nearest Pyxis to administer analgesics.

There is a good reason we don't like patients or family running amok being rude to our staff and demand to be catered to their every whim. It lowers the quality of the hospital care that the patient receives.

The New York Times highlights an article from the journal Pediatrics that studied how doctors and nurses react to being treated poorly by family members. They used NICU staff "treating" plastic baby dolls who were then verbally insulted by an actor playing a parent. The actor would say something like, "We should have gone to another hospital where they don't practice Third World medicine." The authors found that subsequent care of the "baby" declined, with poorer diagnostic and procedural skills and less communication within the team.

So next time you go to the hospital and are not satisfied with the care being received, please try to work it out pleasantly with the staff. Screaming, yelling, insulting, and demeaning the caretakers won't help you get better care. You'll just wind up being blacklisted and barred from entering the hospital again.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Are Comfort Animals A Patient's Best Friend?

Not a service animal
We have a pretty strict visitation policy at our hospital--no minor children are allowed in Preop Holding or Recovery Room. The reasons are pretty logical. First of all, it can be frightening for small children to be around sick patients. They may be scared by the sight of blood or hearing loud moaning and even screaming coming from uncomfortable patients. Plus there's always the possibility of the children coming in contact with a contagious patient.

However the rules don't apply to people's pets, or euphemistically called comfort animals. I had a patient who asked to see her young children in Preop prior to her operation. The nurse told her the rules and denied the request. However when the same patient asked to have her comfort animal brought in, it was no problem at all. They let the small dog into the room and even let it sit in the gurney with the owner. We were told that it is against the Americans with Disabilities Act to deny this request. Pushing the boundaries further, the patient then asked to bring the dog into the procedure room while she was having her procedure. The surgeon was too cowed to say no. I was flabbergasted.

So a person's own children are not allowed to see their parents one last time before an operation but animals don't face the same restrictions? Instead of the owners' own selfish reasons for bringing their animals to the hospital in the first place, maybe they should be more considerate of other people.

Comfort animals can be unruly, especially ones who are not actual well trained service animals but are really pets with ill fitting vests. Some people have allergies to pet dander. We are very aware of a patient's food and drug allergies but somehow it is okay to allow animals into a hospital setting.

This is apparently a worsening problem for businesses everywhere. Comfort animals are being brought onto airplanes and into stores under the guise of being service animals. Most people are too polite to say anything even if the presence of the animal makes them feel intimidated or simply annoyed.

So what was the solution to our Preop drama? We had our own pitbull at the ready. The charge nurse intervened and very clearly and emphatically told the patient that she was not allowed to bring the dog into the procedure room. Despite a weak protest, the nurse held her ground and the issue was resolved. That nurse deserved every dollar of her salary that day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How Running A Hospital Is Different From Any Other Business

You know those ubiquitous signs in restaurants, shops, and virtually every business you've ever walked into that read "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"? Have you ever seen a similar sign in any hospital? Wouldn't life be grand if doctors could post such a sign right smack in the middle of the hospital front entrance?

A legal website I happened upon discussed the ramifications when restaurants hang up these signs. It makes several points about the rights of restaurants to refuse service to patrons. I had to chuckle when I read the conditions. I'll list them here and contrast how hospitals are operated differently from food purveyors.

Patrons who are unreasonably rowdy or causing trouble. Have you ever been to the Emergency Room on a Saturday night?

Patrons that may overfill capacity if let in. Patients are lined up in the hallways in gurneys and wheelchairs and yet we still admit more into the hospital. Isn't amazing how the fire department will conduct strict capacity inspections of establishments like restaurants, movie theaters, and Cowboy Stadium, yet turn a blind eye to fire safety when hundreds of people are packed into ER's?

Patrons who come in just before closing time or when the kitchen is closed. Well, we never close. Even when every hospital bed is full and nurses are walking off their jobs from sheer exhaustion. Unlike waitors and busboys, we are expected to keep working no matter how many patients we can care for safely.

Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to sit in. If we did this every extended family member and gangbanger bro who tries to come in with their "innocent bystander" gun shot wound victim would get locked out, leaving a terrible situation for our overwhelmed and underpowered security officers to keep peace. So let them all in.

Patrons lacking adequate hygiene (e.g. excess dirt, extreme body odor, etc.) Ha ha! You haven't lived until you've smelled pus and stool and who knows what other body fluid on a homeless man who hasn't bathed for weeks and comes in with wet gangrene of his crotch.

Now which business would you rather be running, a restaurant or a hospital? I think opening a Burger King franchise may not be such a bad idea.