do you know the 24hr Myth?

So you go to the hospital and you think you have access to any and every test 24/7/365 days a year? Not really. And you won't know that until you're there. We recently had a client who had a study on a Friday in a major level one (highest level) Hospital and the staff were clear that he would have to wait for further testing until Monday. So it meant he would go another 48 hours without anything to eat because they weren't sure of his swallowing ability and the testing needed for further assessment wouldn't be available until Monday. Absolutely unacceptable!! I discussed with the doctors that the hospital is a 24/7/365 hospital therefore the testing needed to be done the next day, and it was.

Most people aren't aware of this until they are in the situation of needing something done. Often hospitals even of the highest level on a weekend will have staffing issues. Meaning minimal staff is provided and those staff are overworked.  I recently had a situation where the hospital only had one neurologist in the entire hospital. Yup a 640 bed hospital and one neurologist. Just the one they need to maintain their Level I Status.

I came across this same situation this weekend with a gentleman over the  needing a thoracentesis (fluid taken off his lung).

The same thing happened, the family was told there was no one there over the weekend to perform this procedure.  He needed it done then not the next day.  Again totally not acceptable.

So beware that when you "think"  you are going into a hospital that provides 24/7/365  you probably aren't. AND the fact that they may have a specialty available if there is only ONE of that specialty in the entire hospital think again of how that will impact you and your family when that person finally shows up, exhausted, frustrated and not able to give you what you should have which is a whole person engaged in what your problem is and not exhausted from hours of being alone dealing with the entire hospitals' problems.

And all those administrators upstairs making 3 or 4 million dollars a year plus bonus? Where are they? Well their not there on a Saturday night when you're facing these issues and you won't find them to talk to. If you do speak with them they patronize your feelings and the next time the same thing happens. Nothing changes. I've tried that.

So beware of what you are entitled to and deserve as a patient and as a family. As the hospitals across the country are now looking at the importance of the patient experience ONLY because they will be reimbursed for those good experiences and not because many care about your experience; think twice when someone says to you that no one is available and ask why? While you may be in what looks like a 5 star hotel doesn't mean your care is any better.


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