HEALTH CARE “FACTORIES”

Other than the wealthy who can afford to see doctors who have a private practice and hospitals that have “wealthy suites” for their patients, everyone else is now on the assembly line!  We are at the mercy of the health care system that puts greed ahead of patient care!

Most health clinics are notorious for asking you to come in 10/15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment to “sign in”.  Then, you wait another 10/15 minutes past your appointment time to get in to the exam room.  Then, you sit in the “exam room” another 10/15 minutes until the Dr. finally appears.  After a perfunctory “hello”, the Dr.goes to her computer that has your health records and types while asking you the “perfunctory” questions. If you have any questions you have to ask them while the doctor is still typing.  Sometimes, they will actually stop typing and look at you to answer the question.  You are lucky if the entire appointment allows you 15 minutes!  Some doctors will do a quick diagnosis of your health issue and let it go at that.  Others will prescribe tests to determine the problem.  Sometimes they will tell you to go to the ER for a test the clinic cannot provide.  Sometimes they ask for many tests that are not necessary just to “cover their bases”.

Once you are in the ER, you are put on the “assembly line” gurney.  You wait for the doctor. You wait for the test/s to be given.  You are hooked up to an EKG monitor and put on IV liquids, which make you have to urinate more but there is no one to help you to get to the bathroom so by the time you get off the gurney, take a hold of the pole the IV is on and start walking, you have already wet your pants!  My time in the ER waiting for test results was six hours.  When the test results are back, the doctor (the first one) comes in, gives you the results and tells you you can go home or you need to be admitted to the hospital.  My experience was that doctor #1 said I could go home. Since the ER needed  the gurney I was on, I was transferred to a nice room in the “cardiac unit” to wait until they could check me out.

Meantime, doctor #2 arrived a couple hours later.  She told me I had to stay overnight for a more thorough test the next day!  By the time I was admitted and assigned a room, I had already been at the hospital a total of ten hours!  Anyone who has been in the hospital knows you can no longer have your own doctor follow through with you.  The hospital now calls their doctors “hospitalists” and they work directly for the hospital.  They are on a regular schedule like the rest of the hospital staff.  This means approximately every 8 hours you get a different doctor.  The doctor who had me stay overnight for the test was not there the next day.  I only saw her that one time.   There were blood pressure readings and blood tests all night long.  The next morning #3 doctor took over my care.  Within less than the 24 hour period I had been there, I had three different doctors! And, they all had a different opinion as to what the most important health issue was and how to treat it!

This morning, #3 doctor was concerned about my high heart rate.  She gave me more blood tests. xrays and put me on more IV fluids.  During all of this I asked the doctor if I could go home today.  She wanted to check my heart rate before saying yes.  A couple aides took me for a short walk and to some “stair steps”.  I was just about to climb them when “bells & whistles” started going off and two women rushed towards us and said “stop….don’t climb those stairs! Evidently my heart rate had jumped very high after that short walk.  Needless to say the doctor wanted to keep me overnight again to get my heart rate down before allowing me to go home.  She ordered the nurse to give me continuous IV fluids throughout the entire night.  The nurse made the IV line too short with no room for me to move.  I was afraid when I moved, I would pull it out.  I would get no sleep for the 2nd night!  I told this to the new nurse and she called the doctor who came to see me.  I reminded her I had no sleep the night before and had a full day of tests  The doctor agreed to stop the IV’s for the night to see if a good night’s sleep would bring my heart rate down.  She gave orders to let me sleep without the usual nightly rounds of blood pressure checks and blood tests.  The next day my heart rate was down.

Evidently, the hospital (not the doctor) had ordered physical therapy for me in the morning. Two different physical therapists and a “respiratory” therapist conducted the therapy, one right after another!  When the doctor found out what the “respiratory” therapist did, she cancelled any more therapy!  She said the type of therapy he gave me raises the heart rate!  Later, the doctor gave me a couple “walking tests”, which I passed this time.  I was finally allowed to go home!  What a happy day that was!

I understand many people are in the hospital for more serious health issues and for a longer period of time. My heart goes out to all of them.  This article is meant to point out how a “hospital factory” is run today and, mistakes that are made because of this.

Another problem with today’s health care is the lack of communication between your doctor and the health care services she orders. And, the lack of communication with your own doctor. In order to have the test that was ordered by the hospital doctor, my primary care doctor needed to call the health service that did these tests.  It took three different calls for me to actually get an appointment for the correct test the hospital doctor had directed.  Twice, this was due to a lack of communication between my doctor and the health service. The third time was due to my doctor ordering a more extensive test without telling me or discussing the test with me. I had to cancel that test and tell my doctor (her nurse, never get to actually talk with the doctor) I would not have the test because it wasn’t the one the hospital doctor had ordered and she had not even discussed this “new test” with me when I was in her office two days ago!  The doctor’s reply (through the nurse) was we would do the “original” test only and “talk about the one she had added on later” and, that she would call me with the results of the test when they get them.  I had asked the gal who did the test how long it usually takes to get the results to the doctor.  She said it would take a couple of days.  I waited a full week and no call from the doctor with the results.  I finally called the doctor’s office & asked if they had received the results yet.  No one could tell me if they had or hadn’t!  Evidently, this office does not do “follow up” on tests they require to be done! They had to call the health service and request the test results.  The health service said they had sent them.  If I had not called my doctor, I never would have been given the test results!  This was the doctor who initially sent me to the ER for a test because she was so concerned about my health issue!  This is all too typical of health care factories!

This is just one story about health care ‘factories”.  On two other occasions when I had surgery, the care was no better.  After one of the surgeries, because of the inattention, one nurse told me I had almost died!  After the second surgery, a nurse requested she spend the day taking care of only me because she knew how serious my condition was!

I know there are many, many more stories like this, or worse, out there.  Patients are receiving inhumane treatment from the health care “factories” today.  All because of greed!  The corporate policy for health clinic “factories” is “see as many patients daily as we request”.

The hospital “factory” policy is keep the patient as long as you can and give them as many tests as possible. Both the health clinics and hospitals are always understaffed because of the bottom line.  The doctors are “frazzled” because of the work load.  This can cloud their judgement as well as their diagnosis and how to treat it. The nurses are “frazzled” for the same reason.   Patients deserve better!

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