Money at the top in health care and threadbare sheets at the bottom in hospitals


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Under the Freedom of Information Act, hospital CEO salaries and perks were recently released. What wasn't released was the deplorable state of health maintenance in hospitals.

I recently had occasion to take a friend to the hospital after a farcical visit to a local rural hospital where the attending ER physician sent this elderly lady home with her arm in a sling after she had a fall.  Her injury?  A broken collarbone to the extent that it was almost protruding through her skin.  He sent her home with an appointment to meet with an orthopedic surgeon one week later. Lucky for her ... she didn't bleed to death!

Rather than wait a week, we called the surgeon and explained the situation.  To his credit, he called her in immediately and scheduled her for surgery the very next day.

Upon arrival at the hospital and, despite having maximum health coverage under her retirement pension conditions, the hospital was about to place her in a ward situation, until again, we intervened.

She was then admitted to a room where we were completely taken by surprise.  The sheets were deplorable!  The fitted sheet literally had holes in it as did the single bed covering.  Not only did they have holes in them and were threadbare but they did not appear clean!

What has happened?  What happened to having hospital corners on beds?  What happened to having bedding changed daily?  Rinsing hands with sanitized lotion before entering a room seems to be the extent of hygiene today.  I am sure there are nursing sisters who are rolling over in their graves at the atrocities that are taking place today, including, where you can't tell a nurse from the cleaning staff by their 'uniforms'.

All this, in a system where the recently revealed salaries showed CEOs are earning, for the most part, in excess of $200,000+ a year with car allowances.

The nurses, porters and other on-the-ground personnel, on the other hand, were wonderful.  They went out of their busy way to try and make my friend comfortable.  They went out of their way to bring her something light to eat as she had missed dinner through the admitting process. 

I realize they are 'under the gun', required to work more with more patients for the same money, required to care for patients under horrendous conditions of threadbare sheets and blankets but there is something very wrong with our system. 

In a health care system that touts it is all about the patient, it appears to be anything but.  It appears to be about who can make the most money with the most perks.  Too bad that patients are sleeping in threadbare sheets with holes in them; too bad that there are no longer facilities on a floor to even make a cup of tea for a patient!

There is something drastically wrong and everyone ... everyone should have someone to advocate for them! 

Where are we heading, other than downward on a slippery  slope ... especially for the patients?

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Sunday, January 08, 2012