Glenn Beck had hemorrhoid surgery a few weeks ago. He ended up spending extra time in the hospital, in excruciating pain. You can read about the poor pain in the ass's pain in the ass here.
Now, he's on a crusade to fix the American health care system:
At the hospital I was often treated more like a number than a patient. At times, staff members literally turned their back on my cries of pain and pleas for help. In one case a nurse even stood by tapping his fingers as if he was bored while my tiny wife struggled to lift me off a waiting room couch.
I've now seen our system at its very best and I've also experienced it at its very worst. But in each case, the difference had nothing to do with whether the hospital had the latest equipment or whether it looked like the Taj Mahal. It had to do with compassion. It had to do with respect. It had to do with treating people the way you'd want to be treated when going through something unfamiliar and frightening.
That's why I don't want to hear anymore about universal health care or HMOs or the evils of insurance companies until each and every hospital in this country can look me in the eye and tell me that they their staff is full of truly compassionate people who treat their visitors like patients, not products. Hire and train the right people, and then and only then come talk to me about everything else you need.
What Beck doesn't get is that it is all the other stuff - the HMOs, the insurance companies, the paperwork, the administrators trying to keep costs in line, the lawyers hovering to make sure they don't get sued - that have driven all of the "right people" out of health care. I have several good friends who are nurses - they are compassionate, they loved taking care of patients - but they quit their jobs as nurses because of all the headaches that came along with managed health care. Their bosses treated them like shit.
Another celebrity health care story concerns Dennis Quaid's newborn twins. Back in November, they were accidentally overdosed on heparin and nearly bled to death. He said that he called the hospital about 9 p.m. that night and they told him the twins were fine - but in fact, they were bleeding from the overdose and their lives were in jeopardy. No one notified the Quaids.
From the L.A. Times:
The first that Dennis Quaid learned of the medication error was at 6:30 a.m. the next day, he said, when he arrived at the Los Angeles hospital. Treatment decisions had been made without them, he said ...
At the door of the children's hospital room, he said, he was greeted not just by a pediatrician and a nurse but by a representative of the hospital's risk management department.
Bolded by me. The hospital didn't notify the Quaids of their babies' health status because the administrators had to cover their asses first. I'm sure they debriefed everyone, gave them orders not to talk, and get their marching orders from the lawyers.
Later in the same article:
[His wife] complained of intrusive hospital administrators. "They wouldn't let us be alone with our children, to the point where we were just like, 'Can you please just give us a moment?' " Kimberly Quaid said. "But regardless, they just kept coming in the room."
We have to take the profit motive out of the health care industry. Providers should be well paid for their work. Good health care providers should be rewarded and bad ones should be sanctioned. Doctors and nurses and hospitals should not have to worry about the bottom line - the patients' health should come first.
"Socialized medicine" isn't scary. Allowing the insurance companies to continue running the show is scary.