Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Little Glimpse Into My Perspective of Healthcare

This was a post that I started before I left for europe the beginning of October - I never finished it, but I figured I'd expound and post now....

Coming back to work was - well, coming back to work.  Its been meetings and then running to my big account in Chicago trying to help them figure out some issues they're having, which means extended hours of running tests which means I'm just sitting waiting for the test to finish.  Its so boring, but necessary, but boring....

I'm sure by now everyone knowswhat I do for a living (ha ha) .  It doesn't matter that much what I actually do so much as it matters where I spend the majority of my days. I.E. - hospitals. Its such an interesting environment to work in and I've seen so many changes over the past 12 years that I've worked in facilities. I've learned a lot and a lot has changed me and the way I think. I now travel around, work or vacation, and look at the world in light of healthcare. Like I can feel a Starbucks coming up - I can feel a hospital coming up. I can just sense when a healthcare facility is nearby - its like a sixth sense or something. I drive down the highway and the thing that I always spot is the blue H sign that indicates a hospital is in the distance. When I visit people in the hospital, there are things that I notice and look for that no one else would. When I watch tv, where theres a hospital involved, I notice things that no one else would. I'm a strange bird... :)

 So - here are a few things that I figured I'd share as I just chuckled about something else today. I'm down in San Antonio, TX and I've had a few calls. My last call I went in by myself and I had been there before but I wasn't exactly remembering where I was going. And then I saw some things that I remembered where I was and where I was going. I was calling on a hospital that was part of the Baptist Health System and, in order to get to the Baptist Hospital, you literally had to drive through the Methodist Hospital. The directions on the GPS literally bring you through the Methodist Hospital parking lot and turn you into the parking lot of the Baptist Hospital. I had to laugh! It seems like, all the hospitals in the U.S. are primarily denominational -- they're either, Baptist, Methodist, Jewish or Catholic. Barnes-Jewish, St Therese, Methodist General, Baptist Medical Center. There are very few hospitals that are actually just a hospital. Even the ones that are basic names like the name of the city they're in or such, they've got Bible verses and all everywhere. I think that "Christianity" and taking care of peoples' health seems to go hand in hand usually. Very interesting ... at least thats my observation....

Here's the other thing...

 This is a picture of an instrument drawer in one of my larger facilites (a women's facility to be exact). The instrument drawers are where they keep their excess basic general instrumentation that they replace out in their trays as needed. They always keep a surplus because these are the instruments that get thrown out on a regular basis or worn down or out for repair. They're musts for trays. I love this picture because it gives you this sense of the progression of surgery. There are basic instruments like speculums and forceps and such but then a surgeon uses it and says "AYE! If only the curve on this was a milimeter more to the left than I could actually function with it!" and then an instrument company hears that surgeon and the surgeon pushes it and pretty soon, he's got a picture of his "creation" in their next catalog with his name under it and, I'm sure, getting some type of kick back from the sales. You'll go through instrument drawers or catalogs and you'll see a billion names... Frazier Suction, Richardson Retractor. Here's an interesting one - Forester Clamp which was created by David Forester who "pioneered sex change operations in the United States"... Metzenbaum Scissors were created by Myron Metzenbaum who specialized in oral reconstructive surgery. The Liston knife is a knife usually used in amputations - named after Robert Liston, a Scottish surgeon - a surgeon who was known for his "speed and skill". He was described as "the fastest knife in the West End." as he could amputate a leg in 2 1/2 minutes. I don't know if thats a skill to be proud of or sad of?

Speaking of, indcidentally, I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I was working in an OR a few weeks back where I actually observed an amputation. It was crazy - I didn't even know what the procedure was at first as I was just circulating and I had seen a bunch of different cases that morning. The next thing I know, they're wheeling in this large woman with a red biohazard bag on her leg. Hmm, all of a sudden, theres bone dust flying everywhere. It was crazy and, well, kind of sad to me because I was thinking about that poor woman who went into the hospital that morning knowing that she'd be leaving without a "friend" who had been with her for a long time. She was pretty big too so, I'm wondering if she'll ever even be able to walk again as I don't know if a prosthetic could even hold her. 

Ok - so on to other healthcare topics. I'll now touch on the proud banners that ever facility flies in their lobby. Every hospital I go in to always touts its "number-oneness" on something or other, proudly tacking large canvasses to their walls telling everyone that "US News and Word Report Named them one of the top 100 hospitals to make patients happy" or "Voted one of the top 50 hospitals that valet parks cars by the National Highway Patrol" - okay, that one wasn't for real, but thats how stupid sounding some of the are. And I do believe that most people going into that facility have never been in the 2000 other hospitals that I've been in so they don't know that every hospital is voted "special" on something and this hospital that they're going to, although I'm sure it has it merits, is not THAT great because the banner they have posted really doesn't mean that much. I'm waiting for someone to make a comment while exiting the hospital - i.e.: Bill: "Martha, that cheesecake in the cafeteria was some of the best that I've ever tasted" ... Following week - banner posted on east lobby wall "Best Cafeteria In the World - Voted by Bill" Ah - healthcare. Where would we be without good health care competition - keeps us creative and trying.... I have so many other comments, but I'm going to close it here.

Enjoy your hospitals and - remember to wash your hands before and after and during touching something in a hospital - just be safe and don't go into a hospital unless you have to.

Back to the old "salt mine" hospitals tomorrow - another day of endless waiting for test results.  But its FRIDAY! :)

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