Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Running a Hospital
Running a Hospital
I met with leadership in a large hospital and we talked about the work I am doing with vulnerable populations who use the healthcare system, many his hospital. When I told him that there are stories of medical professionals being less than sympathetic and kind to people with disabilities, transgender patients or young, unwed mothers he seemed surprised. “Not all the stories are from your hospital”, I explained to him not wanting him to become defensive. But I knew some of them were.
He told me that all of his staff are sensitive and caring to the patients that go to this hospital.
“All of them?” I questioned with my best startled voice without wanting to sound sarcastic. He paused and said that maybe some physicians were tired after many surgeries but they were all caring. (I wasn’t even talking about physicians).
I then asked him if he visits patients at the bedside and he said he does. This conversation wasn’t going to work. It would become a back and forth with him defending his facility and the staff who works for him. This is, to me, one of the biggest problems in healthcare. Where medical errors can happen, where there can easily be a breakdown in communication, how readmissions can occur and patients and their families may not be satisfied but not sharing this information because it falls on deaf ears.
If it were my hospital I would be begging for details. Tell me what you heard, I would be asking, or where can we improve? I would want to know. Instead our short conversation was about how wonderful this hospital was. It felt similar to a parent defending their child that everyone else knows is a bully. I was not saying that this hospital wasn’t wonderful in many ways. I started out our visit complimenting what I saw and things I have heard. I understand that he wanted me to know how well they are doing in many areas. But, I also know that I would have become a bigger fan the next time I got a complaint or call about someone’s safety if I knew that the leadership was ready to listen.