Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Survey Results

I'd like to take a step away from my little memoir for a moment as I have something more current for you today.  I promise that tomorrow we'll return to the epic adventures of a 29-year-old man living with his parents. 

Today I received the results of the investigation I mentioned, the one they initiated in response to my survey about my hospital stay. Let's take it point by point.

First of all, they note that their staff does try to monitor visitors while respecting each patient's desire and ability to receive guests.  That doesn't really tell me much, other than that they knew what was going on and didn't act upon it.  I suppose that's reasonable enough, given the circumstances.  It's kind of cruel to tell a cancer patient they can't see their family or friends, even if that is a detriment to their roommate.  Would have been nice to know their official policy on it, though.  What does it mean to "monitor" something?  They could have "monitored" someone trying to smother me with a pillow; doesn't really make a difference unless they take action on it.

They also informed me that they weren't required to give me a private room, which I know, and I understand that too.  It seems to be more of a legal argument than a patient care one: you have no legal right to a private room so you have no recourse if we don't give you one.  They go on to note that I could have paid extra to ensure a private room.  Maybe they don't want to spoil us greedy patients with free privacy. 

They note that they try to pair patients by gender and care needs, which makes sense to me as I was paired with another young man with cancer, who needed observation and some occasional routine care, same as I.  I'm guessing that particular policy went out the window after they started moving me, as Mr. Liver was actively dying and I don't think I was doing quite that bad.  I also don't think my medical needs (or gender) are similar to those of an old lady who wants ice cream.

Next a bit about the night nurse, the one who had me drink my own spit.  He's sorry about that, and should have brought a filled cup from outside the room.  They also inform me that when I was having trouble sleeping, he contacted my physician to get permission to give me a sleeping pill, but when he returned to my room he found me asleep and decided not to wake me.

I find that fascinating for two reasons. 

1) When I'm trying to sleep, not even my own parents can tell that I'm not actually asleep.  Furthermore every time a nurse entered my room to administer care I was awake and aware of them as soon as they entered the room.

2) That man must have a remarkable memory, or take very good notes. 

No sleeping aid appeared on my invoice either, which was specific enough to include the exact date and cost of each individual treatment I received - from pills to blood glucose tests - though perhaps it wasn't listed because I never actually received the pill.  Or maybe because that nurse is full of shit. 

For my remaining complaints, the noise levels, my perpetually open door and the delay in response to my call bell... Sorry.  They apologize for it, they regret it happened, but it doesn't look like they'll be doing a damn thing about it.  They didn't even mention the alarms.  Maybe they're worried if they admitted to that it would be actionable or something.  That sort of thing could cause a patient serious harm, after all.

In conclusion they wish me a delightful autumn, which is nice.

Even if they aren't taking any real action, at least I was heard.  Someone read the thing and took it seriously enough to respond to it.  It's a start.  If you disagree, don't tell me.  I'm looking for a silver lining here.

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