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Thursday, March 27th 2008

What Is It That Makes You Think This Is The Drive Thru Lane?

Patients need to be advocates for themselves. They often aren’t enough. But there is a very clear, may I say bright and flashing, line between advocating for your care and complaining when you’re in the hospital. And if there’s one complaint I think many roll their eyes at it is the uninsured patient who thinks they’ve been in the hospital too long. I heard a story about a resident giving a patient with just such a complaint a mildly apt analogy.

“If McDonald’s was giving away hamburgers for free you’d take one right? And don’t you think there would be a line for those hamburgers? Everyone would want one for free, right? And would you complain about the line?”

Tastes Even Better Because It Is Free

No doubt no one likes their time being wasted. No doubt, from all I’ve seen and heard, public hospitals are a helluva lot less efficient than the rest of healthcare. But, unless such a wait is actively and significantly endangering a patient and absolutely opposed to the concrete standard of care then I don’t think many want to hear the complaint of inconvenience from a patient for who the taxpayers are picking up the tab.

At the bedside it’s a sigh and a nod of the head but maybe someday I’ll have the gall to repeat the analogy above and kind’ve put the situation in perspective for a patient.