Nothing says modern medicine like listening to someone on the other side of a shared hospital room take a dump. Shared hospital room? Two patients to a room? Really? Is it 1953 and no one told me? The only thing better than listening to the doctor tell you about your ailment, is enjoying the intimate details of the stranger lying six inches away from you. Thank goodness for that micro-thin plastic curtain providing you with the same level of privacy as the average Folsom Prison inmate. You know, with the open toilet next to the bunkbeds?
Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining. Whenever we see a news story of Ebola patients lined up like cord wood inside a Ugandan “hospital,” there isn’t a curtain in sight. Those folks would probably love a curtain. On-the-other-hand, I’m a fat, spoiled American, so I’ll resume my rant.
It’s bad enough that you’re in the hospital. Is it imperative that in addition to the physical suffering, the hospital heaps on the psychological pain of a shared room? Hey, maybe so. I’m not a trained physician. Yes, I do use WebMD on a regular basis to diagnosis and treat myself and those unfortunate enough to be near me, but am I a BOARD certified medical doctor? No, not exactly. (If you want to get all technical about it.)
There are, of course, federal regulations concerning shared hospital rooms, and most hospitals attempt to comply. Currently, federal law requires that all hospitals that accept federal funding must have at least one private room for every 43,853 shared rooms.
Obviously, our system needs to improve. There is one change the US medical system could make that would immediately improve its quality of care. This would be to adopt the most defining aspect of the British medical system. I am referring to the fact that the British do not use the article “the” before saying the word “hospital.” So, while we Americans might say, “We took little Suzie to the hospital,” the more enlighten British simply say, “We took little Suzie to hospital.”
In fact, I think I’ll implement this myself right now. Here is goes –
Instead of complaining that, “I am not looking forward to visiting my Uncle Bob in the shared room at the hospital,” I will complain that, “I am not looking forward to visiting my Uncle Bob in the shared room at hospital.” Wow! I feel better already.
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