Posted by Amy Reiter on Oct 19, 2011 at 4:11 PM
Sometimes a story comes along that really makes you wonder about people -- and whether, in all our concerns about following appropriate health-care "procedure," we haven’t paid a steep price in basic humanity.
Honestly, have hospitals become the most dangerous places in the world?
We already have to worry about staph infections and medical mistakes, dangerous fellow patients, and things like Legionnaires' disease and TB -- not to mention whatever health troubles brought us in for care in the first place.
Now, it turns out, we have to worry about falling and being left to rot, too.
Take the story of Doreen Wallace, an 82-year-old woman who fell and broke her hip in the lobby of Niagara Falls hospital.
You'd think that, if you were going to fall and break your hip and bloody up your arm on a metal grate, the lobby of a hospital might be a pretty good place to do it, right? After all, emergency medical help would be right there and able to spring into action on your behalf.
Or so you'd expect ...
Ah, but no. What did the hospital staffers tell Doreen to do when she took her tumble as she left the hospital with her son after visiting her dying husband? They told her they couldn't help her until she called an ambulance -- and asked the paramedics to bring her to the hospital in which she lay bleeding!
What ... the ... huh?
Of course, the hospital bigwigs have now made the appropriately horrified noises: Should have helped, must have been confusion over procedure, could have been a communication problem, harrumph, harrumph, harrumph ...
But that doesn't get at the key question of really how people (and not just any hospital staffers, ER nurses) could be so callous as to let an 82-year-old woman with a broken hip and a bleeding arm just lie there on the floor unaided (oh, sure, someone handed her a paper towel to wipe away the blood) until she arrived back at the hospital in a way that their checklists instructed them to cope with.
Message to staffers: Blood and broken bones trump meaningless territorial concerns.
Would they have wanted their own mothers or grandmothers to be treated that way? Would you?
Are you afraid of hospitals?