Monday, April 13, 2009

Inside a Long Island Hospital

A local newspaper did a 24 page article on a local community hospital. Giving a health writer full access to the facility for a week, this reporter brought to the community the stories about what it is like in an emergency room, treating sick or injured children and adults and the different life saving services available.

By being this transparent, I can only guess that the hospital CEO was looking for some sort of sympathy to the funding cuts or, in some cases, show the community how much work goes into running a hospital.

As a family advocate for safe care, I thought this idea was brilliant. It wasn't until I spent 5 months in neonatal ICU with my son following the death of my first son from a medical error and a year as a volunteer in pediatrics that I too realized healthcare is very complicated and there are numerous places errors can happen.

As a bedside advocate now for families, I can see where we envision a hospital is run by a nurse, or nurse assistant who whooshes in and out of the room with no other care in the world until his or her next opportunity to whoosh in and out again. There is no knowledge of other patients, other emergency's or paper work.

By allowing patients to understand a bit more of the hospital setting, we can appreciate the work that goes into being a medical professional.

Watching ER, House or the other medical shows on TV gives us an unrealistic view of healthcare. Being IN the hospital, when things go well does too. But, when things go wrong, it is difficult to then, and only then try to understand what may have caused the problem to arise. By being this transparent and allowing camera's and a reporter access, I am sure that more than a few people will become more vigilant in their care and speak up for themselves a bit more. And if not, we can also blame the funding cuts on that.

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