Common Sense Alert

Elizabeth - Newburgh, Maine
Entered on November 12, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness

I believe that the entire health care crisis in our country can be obliterated by the use of common sense. Yes, that’s right. You heard it here first. I believe that the answers to our heath care situation lies in in the practice of good old common sense like what we learned in kindergarten. Put the seat down after you pee, share your toys, and play nice.

Every nursing student is taught to wash their hands before coming close to a patient, so that no self-respecting bacteria could possibly hide beneath a fingernail, yet most hospitals shove two patients into every room separated only by a curtain. That seems counterproductive to me, but maybe researchers have found bacteria stop in their tracks when they see a curtain. Who knew?

Just recently, my elderly friend was hospitalized with an infection. While visiting him one night at dinnertime, I was stunned to watch the nurse bring him his dinner tray while his roommate vomited. Ding, Ding, Ding, ding! Common sense alert! Common sense alert! Maybe we should have this announcement read over the loud speaker in hospitals as we do when someone dies. Code Red. Code Red.

My poor friend tried to look interested in the slop that was before him, but his facial expression said it all. Does it seem obvious to only me? What the hell was that nurse thinking?

Considering it costs $1,120.00 to stay in that hospital for one night, I would think a gold plated butler would be stationed by the bathroom with slippers and tea, yet that is not the case. The Plaza hotel in New York City charges $895.00 a room, and they seem to do fine financially. I bet they don’t ask their guests to shack up with the guy behind them in line at registration do they?

Now, I know that the price of a hospital stay is not only reflective in the room charge, but also in the outstanding service you receive while you are there. Consider my experience taking care of an elderly man with end stage cancer. As I started my placement of wires for his EEG, ordered to determine his cognitive awareness, he turned and gave me a look I will never forget.

Now, I could have saved this man and his insurance company $450.00 right then and there, but the doctor insisted we go ahead and ignore the patient’s protest. Common sense alert, ding, ding, ding, ding. Would you want your loved one treated this way?

My belief is that if we can stop this madness simply by using the Common Sense Alert. Ask questions when you or a loved one is in this situation, like why is this test necessary. How is this test going to affect my health care plan? What difference is it going to make? How much does it cost? That will stump them for sure. Ding, ding, ding, ding. Common sense alert. Common sense alert