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August 16, 2005 05:15 PM

Broken: Patient experience in many hospitals

From the NYT today: In the Hospital, a Degrading Shift From Person to Patient.

(Thanks, Laura)


wow, first


Posted by: noname at August 16, 2005 05:50 PM

ummm, whats broken besides noname? The women just had a bad experience at a hospital.

Posted by: Hello at August 16, 2005 06:06 PM

just the simple fact that this particular doctor treated this woman as a piece of wood to put it lightly and not as a human.


Posted by: noname at August 16, 2005 06:33 PM

How can you say you don't know what's broken?

C'mon, this is obvious. Patients should be treated like people.

Posted by: Bob at August 16, 2005 07:05 PM

What's broken is that they have the audacity to claim that being nice costs too much money.

Cause everyone knows that saying "Good morning" costs around $1000 a syllable.

Posted by: Faolan at August 16, 2005 07:43 PM

It gets worse; Look at about UAB Hospital.

Posted by: William at August 16, 2005 08:52 PM

Somebody somewhere is going to come to the brilliant realisation that hospitals are in point of fact little more than hotels for sick people attached to some rooms full of medical equipment and build a business model around that idea.

To witt - find some reasonably visitable third world country with a decent international airport and infrastructure where service staff is dirtass cheap, stock it full of the best doctors and equipment you can afford and sell all-inclusive treatment packages for illness that pay well and require extended visits.

Since you won't be obligated to supply emergency medical treatment most of your cost are contained and you can be cost competative with no-service hospitals.

Posted by: Franny Wentzel at August 16, 2005 10:38 PM

As your Doctor, I advise you to seek treatment elsewhere. As your Attorney, I advise you not to listen to your Doctor.

Posted by: friendlydrbobo at August 17, 2005 09:21 AM

I agree that the treatment was rude and arrogant, but I think that some (many?) health care professionals subconsciously (or consciously) dehumanize their patients as a coping mechanism. If you see a surgery patient as simply an inanimate repair project, you can more easily maintain the emotional distance that allows you to carve into human flesh day after day, and deal with pain, disease and suffering.

That's not to say it's proper behaviour...

I know that in Canada, there is a shortage of family doctors, partly because med students don't want to learn the bedside manner that is required practice that type of medicine... so they all go into specialties or academic medicine.

Posted by: patchadams at August 17, 2005 09:44 AM

Brokenness can be related to the cost to fix or at least improve something. Given the low cost of improving the experience of a post-op cancer patient, or any other patient, by things like knocking on doors, smiling, or asking permission to touch or disrobe a patient, the examples here are broken indeed. Perpetrators of such rudeness, and their sponsoring organizations, should be named and publicly reviled. I am surprised that the NYT author held back from doing so.

A related brokenness is that many of today's doctors (and attorneys) get so caught up in the hubris of their professions and the wealth that their work brings, that they honestly begin to believe that they are superior people in every sense. As if needing some emotional distance (as patchadams noted) wasn't enough reason, imagine how hard it is to mind your manners if you honestly start to see your customers as worth so much less than you are to start with.

Posted by: Pat at August 17, 2005 12:02 PM

A lot of canadian medical students also go to work in the States, where they are better paid. Although I understand that here in Quebec we also have people going to work in other provinces so that they can work in english.

Posted by: Sean P at August 17, 2005 12:19 PM

Oh yeah... My mother works in a cancer care facility as a lab tech. They were instructed to begin referring to the people who come in as "clients" rather than "patients". I personally dislike this as it underlines the fact that health care is a business rather than something more human... I see it as another step in this degradation from person->patient->client. What's next? "Target"? "Prospect"? Plus, here in Canada we don't pay for basic health care, so how are we "clients"?

Posted by: patchadams at August 17, 2005 01:02 PM

You people just have no idea what it is like to work in a hospital. I don't, but my mother was a nurse. Working short staffed is not easy. You try being a doctor and check back.

But I do understand paitents should be treated like people.

Posted by: someone at August 17, 2005 06:33 PM

"do unto others as you would have them do unto you", whatever happened to that saying or "rule" as some of us know it as?

Posted by: noname at August 17, 2005 06:41 PM

the stats ny times puts to print is what is broken that WE broke.

definatly . broken

Posted by: mhop at August 18, 2005 08:53 AM

"[...]here in Canada we don't pay for basic health care, so how are we "clients"?"

Sorry to disillusion you be we do pay for basic health care, that's one reason our taxes are so high.

Also I am fairly certain that funding for hospitals is determined by how many "clients" they have "served" in the past year, or by some simmilar system.

Posted by: Sean P at August 25, 2005 12:04 PM

This is not terribly surprising, but it is still broken in a non- funny way.

Posted by: Sido at September 6, 2005 08:01 PM

People can't break out of hospital here. Try self locking automatic hallway doors, that wont open until you swipe your employee badge. Hey, atleast they have the familiar yellow caution automatic door sign :)

Posted by: Bryan at October 9, 2005 06:27 PM

Get this.. 1st appt with a new dr. He asked for personal info. He asked if I had ever consumed alcohol? I said, "yeah." Turns out that Dr. Whackjob believes prohibition should be reinstated and that anyone who has willingly consumed a beer should be reported as a substance abuser. I had to have another doctor fill out forms and send two test results to the state in order to keep my drivers license.

Posted by: shouldasensed at December 12, 2005 01:58 AM

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