24 October 2008

Doctor, Doctor! Mr M D . . .

Todai hospital also turned new mom away : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

I have always known that Japan was more hide bound about following the rules than the Chairwoman of a Methodist Church flower committee. Everyone in a school or corporation dresses alike, and they all change from winter uniforms to summer uniforms on the same day, and damn the weather. But this article about a woman dying because hospitals seemed to think that the number of beds their policy manual states they will have is more important than the number of people who are actually in critical need really takes the cake.

When a desperately ill person arrives at your emergency room, it's not something you can handle by using your best imitation of Eddie Izzard imitating James Mason while blocking the patients entrance. "Dreadfully sorry and all that, but you see we can only take nine patients, and I'm afraid we've reached our quota. Trauma surgeon's already complaining about having to work five and six hours at a stretch. But look, I'm not really supposed to tell you this but, just between you and me, Yamaguchi doesn't look good. If you can hang about for a few hours chances are an opening will appear. What do you have? Massive brain hemorrhage? That could be dicey. Yamaguchi's got a bum heart, and they never seem to move along when you need them to. Anyway, good luck.

What do these so called hospitals do when there is a train wreck or a building collapse? Hold a raffle? "Okay, there's fourteen of you in critical condition and twenty-three that are merely serious. Well, the staff took a vote and they decided they would take three criticals and four serious. So what we're going to do is give each of you one of these carnival tickets and put its mate in this bedpan here. Then we'll do a drawing. Remember! Just three critical and four serious. As for the rest of you, well, it is a lovely day."

Sorry about this, but I feel the need to shout. THESE ARE HOSPITALS DAMMIT!

They don't decide they'll do a spot of healing today, and then maybe take a long weekend. They take what comes to them. If they have nine beds for neonatal emergencies, and nature thoughtlessly presents them with a tenth—THEY TAKE IT. Bassinets are moved a bit, maybe a laundry cart is put in the hall. You make room. Then the staff figures out how to divide up the load. What you don't ever do. Never, ever do is condemn people to death just because it's inconvenient, doesn't follow the official guidelines, or you would have to go to all the bother of finding a space. You are in the business of saving lives. That's your priority. Only that.

So if the Second Assistant Floor Director comes around throwing a stink about how there seem to be ten beds here and the Guidelines clearly state the room was built for nine. Invite him to take it up with the third bridge from the North, and offer to write a press release clearly stating he was the person who decided the critically injured woman expecting her first child had to die because treating her would have clearly deviated from the Holy Official Guidelines, which seem to be more precious than any mere life

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