where is the care in healthcare?

by WizardOfWords on July 23, 2014

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I think that everyone who knows me and/or reads this blog, knows that I like to focus on the positive. I rarely rant or let negativity occupy my thoughts.

But I’d posted the following on facebook last night after a nasty encounter at one of our local healthcare facilities with a health care ‘professional’ and based on the passionate responses I rec’d to the post, I believe the subject merits further discussion with a broader audience.

getting caught with her pants down

Here is what happened. There was a really noisy patient in the next room to my husband who began using profanity in addition to being overly obnoxious and loud. Neither my husband nor his roommate could rest because of the constant moaning and vocalizing. In fact, my husband’s roommate had said that he’d gotten almost no sleep the night before because of it.

When I politely mentioned the situation to one of the aids, she said she’d mention it to one of the nurses and see what could be done. I coincidentally approached the nursing station a few moments later at my husband’s request to ask why his test was being delayed and heard a nurse saying to fellow staff, “What does she think this is, the RITZ?!” I was stunned! Not only was that comment unkind, disrespectful–and certainly not one that should have been made openly to other staff members–but when I said, “I am the person you are making fun of  …” expecting some form of apology and remorse, the nurse in question defended her position, indicating that people should not expect a hospital to be quiet, and if I didn’t like it, I could leave!

As a patient advocate, I wasn’t making the case for myself, but rather for my husband, who was attempting to rest before his surgical procedure, and for his roommate who was also irritated by the noise coming from next door. Neither of them could leave to get away from the nauseating noise, and I wasn’t about to leave my husband, who was overcome with concern about the impending procedure. Feeling I was getting nowhere with this glaring nurse, I quietly said the word “b*tch” and proceeded to speak to my husband’s nurse, about the time of the test. I then turned and walked away from the nursing station.

The irate and irritating nurse proceeded to follow me into my husband’s room (she wasn’t his nurse) and advised me that she could have me forcibly removed from the premises for being disrespectful to her!

I agree that I shouldn’t have sworn at her, albeit softly. But she had pushed my buttons.

After a very stressful period of more than six weeks during which my husband had been extremely ill, and the fact that the doctor had said there may be cancer involved, I was unable to contain myself and used the “b” word when she didn’t seem to care that I had overheard her openly insulting me. Instead of being kind, empathetic, respectful, and showing common courtesy for the spouse of someone who might be facing life-threatening illness, I was treated with rudeness and threatened.

I realize that we all have bad days and who knows? She may be under some stress herself, but she is being paid to be caring. She is a health care professional. She met my act of caring with rudeness and a threat. I really doubt this situation ever would have happened in a paid healthcare system. Is the fact that healthcare professionals are unionized in my home province causing some of the workers to believe they are above reproach? She got her manager to come speak to me, and the manager assured me this individual was a very capable employee. So perhaps this was an isolated case. And I admit I was partly to blame by uttering a swear word in response.

Has anything like this ever happened to you in a hospital or public institution? If so, let’s talk about it! 

And then please join me back here the week of August 4th for our next new post. I’m sure it will be a happier one!

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