Friday, May 18, 2007


The way some people carry-on you think they were royalty. In a hospital that caters towards the indigent and uninsured I see a great deal of unwillingness in patients to help themselves out of their dire situation who will, at the drop of a hat, threaten to leave for a better hospital. They don’t like what’s happening here and they want better care. In short they feel entitled.

But here’s the thing: these other hospitals that these tragic patients want to have their care transferred to won’t see them. They’ll kick their asses straight out the door should they try and walk-in and they sure as shit won’t receive them as a transfer. Why? No ability to pay for services rendered.

So instead this hospital accepts these patients, hemorrhaging money by the millions each year in order to give the extremely poor a place to receive equal and fair treatment. Because of the huge financial pitfalls there are areas where we suffer. We don’t have the newest, most expensive, and most advertised machinery or treatment options. Instead patients receive quality care with methods proven to work. And all at almost no expense to themselves (since we all know they’re not paying for anything anyway).

Despite these efforts and the obvious level of gratitude that should be inherent in these people I often see them ungrateful. Upset at the conditions they “perceive” in a place that’s never out of the red.

“I’m going somewhere else. They’ll take better care of me.”

“You don’t know what you’re doing. Over at (huge research hospital with lots of fancy and expensive new equipment) I’d get this test done. I’m outta here.”

“I’m leaving AMA. I don’t care what you say. Some doctor out there will take me and care for me without insurance and a stable income.”

I hear these lines or variations everyday. Trying to explain to a patient who has not had a job in over 5 years, drinks 12 or more beers a day, smokes like a chimney, and has absolutely no means of paying for services for his congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and rectal cancer that no doctor in town will touch him other than those currently seeing him is just futile. They don’t get it. They don’t want to get it. All they want is a handout and feel entitled to the services and care received by the best insured and wealthiest in society.

I guess it’s the delusional aspect of many of these patients that got them where they are in the first place. Believing that someone will always take care of them, trusting in the fact that Uncle Sam will never stop giving them money or food or clothing. Ensuring that they’re not responsible for their own damn care – ever and behaving like spoiled children with surrogate parents. Why else wouldn’t they think they can get that new drug, fancy treatment, or costly surgery with little to no cost to themselves? It’s how they’ve been living their entire life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't know if I agree with this. Are you saying that people with a certain lifestyle or poverty level shouldn't want better care? That they shouldn't receive it? If anything these are the people who require the best care in order to keep them healthy.

It's unfortunate that in our society there's the belief that people should be happy with whatever they're given simply because it's at a reduced cost or free. Sure they should be grateful, but it doesn't mean that they can't desire better care.