State of Emergency Rooms
I have already posted a few times about the sorry shape of one of the local hospitals and how long you have to wait in the waiting room for care. The really sad part of this is this is not an isolated case, in fact, many hospitals are understaffed and see far too many patients. I recently ran across an article on the Daily Mail.com where they have an exclusive about how a hospital in New York City, is in major trouble. The headlines read “24 hours of HELL in top NYC hospital: Patients left lying in hallways, urine soaked floors and staff incapable of providing answers for desperate family members – as city’s healthcare system is stretched to breaking point“.
In the past five years, I personally have visited the ER at least 10 times for medical issues that I have had trouble with, things as chest pressure, and a variety of issues with my autoimmune disorders. My mother-in-law had been there a good half dozen times before she passed COVID. And my children have been there a few times as well. And we are not a family that goes to the ER for a sniffle.
Many of the things that the Daily Mail uncovered in NYC, are the exact same things we witnessed. Some of the saddest are elderly people in wheelchairs, in a gown, in the freezing cold waiting room for hours on end. I know that this one lady kept complaining that she needed to use the toilet and they just kept ignoring her, until, she pissed herself and they still left her and the urine there for another hour or more.
And I didn’t see any single individual running around as if they were too busy to help. In fact just the opposite. I had three people in my “room” putting in my IV. Really does it take three people? I felt like saying, “Give me that damn thing and I will do it, not to take care of the lady”. Now, I’m in no way stating that the staff is or isn’t working hard. I’m sure much of it is management, the stockholders, the Board of Directors, the owners. The staff is working as hard as they can (well most of them), it is not by choice that they are ignoring some patients. The case of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, are both non-profit hospitals, and herein lies the problem. At a for-profit hospital, if you are just sitting in the waiting room rotting, you are not making them money. So, they get you into the system as fast as they can, as people are less likely to leave and go Against Medical Advise (AMA) when they have been seen by someone and are waiting for tests or results. But if you are just sitting in the waiting room like you are in a cattle car, then you are more likely to say fuck it and leave.
If you don’t know what a cattle car is then it is a trainer that cattle are moved from place to place, they usually cram them in there really tight. It is also a trailer where the Marine Corps does pretty much the same damn thing and stuff you in there very tight.
Another issue with non-profit hospitals is that they take Medicare and Medicaid, which means they will see any patient, with and without insurance. And we want to socialize healthcare which means all hospitals will be like this and you will wait in the waiting room for hours on end. My all-time is 13 hours and my wife’s is 23.5 hours and that is just to be seen, not treated and released. I recall once we took my Mother-in-law to that ER and she was in there for about 36 hours, but she was treated and released.
If we socialize healthcare in the US, then it will only get worse than it is and many of the for-profit hospitals will be forced to close or play the game. I agree that everyone should have the right to health care, but socializing it in the US isn’t the answer.