As my friends know — and some of my online friends and associates know all too well — this has been a particularly tough year for me as all things medical are related. Because of that fact and to go along with my ongoing commentary about health care and insurance, I thought I’d draw on some recent experiences to directly address the health care side of the issue.
The fact is, this valley is blessed with the most compassionate and caring folks at every level of health care I’ve ever experienced.
Let’s start with our paramedics, because they’re always my first point of contact when it comes to my parents — outside of a very professional and attentive 911 staff that dispatches them. Every time I’ve seen these folks in action, they’re caring, compassionate, sensitive to my parents’ particular situations and as kind as I could ever want. While our situations were not “emergencies,” the paramedics were a godsend to a worried family in getting my dad where he needed to go.
The paramedics took my dad to the emergency room at the hospital of his choice. There, the ER staff was professional throughout two visits. Despite the fact we basically came in with the same symptoms for dad, each visit was handled as its own occasion with the same attention towards dad, his condition and his “story telling.” Their patience and compassion have been evident and overflowing.
Now, I’ll take a few lines to tell you that, yes, I got impatient while waiting — and still waiting — for test results. I was a little upset when things that were checked for came up negative and dad went home on Saturday. It takes a lot out of a son’s patience and well-being when he has to call 911 again and take dad back to the emergency room. You know what? That’s all on me. It certainly is not on the folks who treated dad Saturday based on what we told them was wrong.
Here’s why. As Americans we have come to expect — and worse, demand — that our medical needs are addressed immediately and fixed by the time we leave the doctor’s office or hospital. Do you know why that is? Because most of the time, they indeed are and we expect to the point where we ignore that diagnosis and healing sometimes actually take longer, as was the case with dad. And I’m OK with that.
Dad’s condition and symptoms changed to where new tests and diagnosis were needed. The fact is, the hospital had ruled out a whole bunch of things that dad’s condition was not the first time and he went home feeling pretty good. The next day, new tests were ordered based on dad’s changing condition. Because of that, treatment was ordered and dad was checked into the hospital to get things stabilized and comfortable. While all of this was happening over two days, the staff and doctors took the time to explain everything they were doing and what to expect. Heck, the patience shown alone in getting dad’s IVs set is worth giving the staff two thumbs up. The doctors were caring and made sure we completely understood exactly what was needed to find out what was wrong and how long it would take. And ,yes, plenty of time passed while we were waiting — as though ER wait times fly by — but while we were waiting, things behind the scene were put in motion to get dad better.
That’s interesting to note because we weren’t waiting in the lobby of some state-run hospital to be triaged with 30 other folks receiving no care or observation, all while hoping our number came up. On each occasion, dad was in his own exam room and had been visited by nurses and doctors before I even got there. Folks, we need to understand this doesn’t happen in other countries. Do a Google search as to how folks are treated when they go to the ER and then thank the Lord you live in the good ol’ USA.
As I mentioned about the wait, that’s a limited sidebar on the overall experience. The fact is, dad had to wait at least 24 hours for some of his tests to even start showing results. That meant dad had to be admitted. Guess what? From the moment the doctor left dad’s exam room it took less than 30 minutes to be in a room, hooked up for IVs, fed and given some pain medicine so dad could sleep.
I can’t think of one thing to be concerned about, let alone complain about, for that kind of quality health care.
I guess this column in between the other columns says one thing. This whole thing isn’t about health care. There’s no better quality of that anywhere in the world compared to here. It’s about control of the industry.
If you want to lose the quality we complain about here, keep supporting single payer, government-run care. If you have experienced the professionalism and compassion of our local health care folks, get the government out of it. Because these local folks are amazing in spite of our government’s meddling.