Archive for September, 2017

Healthcare.Benevolent human service or exclusive, discriminatory and profitable business?

September 26th, 2017 No comments

I have been a nurse for almost 50 years.  I trained in a  Catholic school. My training was similar to the military in that you start out very low on the totem pole and gradually build up.   I was very proud of my work and accomplishments.  Nursing school was no easy task.

I learned a lot from a nun that was an instructor.  I loved this very smart and tolerant woman.  She did not believe in birth control except for rhythm.  But, she gave out information about other forms of birth control.  Because of her dedication to Jesus and her beliefs, she couldn’t in good conscience teach us details, but certainly as nurses we should know the basics. Every patient deserved the care of a well educated and non judgemental RN.   Other things I learned as a student nurse were that regardless of race, religion, nationality or background, we were to treat everyone equally and with respect and regard.  We were given the privilege of holding the lives of human beings in our hands and caring for them.   Why can’t that simple concept play out in our current healthcare discussions?

When people say they don’t want to pay for anyone else’s healthcare, most especially people who are fat, or who smoke, or immigrants, or drug addicts, it makes me cringe.  Who would be the gate keeper for such discrimination?

Consider this.  I worked as triage nurse in an ER for many years.  Of course in an ER, nobody is turned away (which is exactly as it should be).   What if I had to sit at triage of the entire healthcare system.

#1 Patient.  60 year old male, overweight, short of breath, cyanotic.   High blood pressure, rapid pulse.  He recently quit smoking, was until recently  employed in a challenging paper mill job, and is on his second marriage with young chldren at home.  Because he lost his job, he and his family are currently without health insurance coverage.  Going by the rules of haters, I would have to deny this man healthcare because “someone else would have to pay for it”.   And he would not be able to ever get insurance again, at a decent price because he is now a “preexisting condition”.

#2 Patient.  12 year old female.  High fever, flushed face, rapid pulse.  Lethargic.  Not responding to commands appropriately.  Parents recently immigrated, and do not have insurance. Although this child is obviously very ill and may have sepsis, I have to turn her away because “someone else would have to pay for it”

#3 Patient. 30 year old female, 34 weeks pregnant, no insurance, no Medicaid because of recent cuts, no prenatal care. Very high blood pressure, and headache.  Fetal heart strong.  I would have to turn this pregnant lady (and her viable fetus) away  because “someone else would have to pay for it”   Her pre eclmapsia may kill both her and her baby.

#4 Patient  24 year old male, recently ODed on heroin.  He was saved on the street by a cop using Narcan.  He knows he has hit rock bottom and he seriously wants to go through a rehabilitation program and get clean.  Nope, he can’t come in because “someone else would have to pay for it”

#5 Patient.  92 year old woman, who has dementia. Recently kicked out of her assisted living facility because her money ran out.  Because her Governor refused to expand Medicaid and her President pushed for a plan to cap, block grant and reduce it, she has no coverage for her needed Dementia care.  Her routine and her care  is disrupted.   She is confused and agitated, because that is what happens when a dementia patient’s routine and surroundings are changed.     I wouldn’t turn her away, because she is my mother and my husband and  I would have to pay for it and do the best I could to care for her ourselves.   This rolls the cost of care rock downhill because we will spend our savings on her care. Good luck to us when our time comes.

#6 Patient.  55 year old male, pimple on his butt and runny nose.  Wants immediate care.   Great insurance coverage, and tons of money.  Come on in!

The thoughts of ANY patient being refused care are very upsetting to me.  It is against the nature of a well trained nurse or any well trained healthcare provider.  We didn’t go into our line of work to reject human beings from the “system”.

Exactly how many people would suffer, get sicker or even die if we started turning away very sick patients who are under or uninsured.  We are human beings for crying out loud.  We as part of the human race should be looking out for each other and taking care of each other.  I truly believe that everyone in this country deserves  healthcare benefits and access to quality affordable healthcare.   Our taxes would be better invested in human beings than in Wall Street.  Rather than sending billions  or trillions of dollars,, skimmed off the top for healthcare profiteers, we should be investing in the health  and care of Americans.  With proper governmental regulation, and oversight, and kicking corruption and profiteering to the curb, we can do this.

It’s time to turn our healthcare back to an everybody in and nobody out human service.

Medicare for all.  Healthcare is a human right.

addendum:  All except one of the above “patients” are fictitious, and they could have benefited from regular care in a doctors office rather than reaching a healthcare crisis.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

What did we learn from Alex Wubbels?

September 4th, 2017 No comments

If you are a nurse and you are paying attention, you have seen the video of Alex Wubbels RN, super nurse hero, getting assaulted and handcuffed by a bully cop.  Now I don’t hate cops.  In fact I have loved a number of them in my lifetime.  I had a favorite uncle who was a cop.  I had cops help me when I worked as an ER nurse.  Cops have stopped at traffic accidents that I have stopped at and helped tremendously.  Cops do dangerous and difficult work on a daily basis, but it does not put them on a pedestal.   They are not allowed to make up the law as they go along and they cannot harass and assault innocent citizens “just because”.  The cop in this video was a bully and a jerk.   If he had half the professionalism that Alex Wubbels had, this would not have happened.

What have we learned from what happened to Alex?

1. Nurses MUST know their hospital policy about patient’s rights to safety and privacy.  Without that, you don’t have a leg to stand on.  You can’t just say NO because something doesn’t feel right.   Patients, when you are alert and able, you should also know your rights.

2. If you are being assaulted by ANYONE, yell and scream and object loudly.   Not that this did Alex any good at all. I think her coworkers and the hospital security in this video were dumbfounded and maybe did not dare to step in.  I’m giving them a lot of credit here, because I think they should have stood around their coworker while someone called administration AND the police chief.  Of course I wasn’t’ there, and I am just a distant observer.   I have to ask…would that cop have done this to a man?  (makes the cop even more of a jerk in my eyes)

3. Keep saying  “I have done nothing wrong”.  She did this and she was right.

4. Make sure your administration has your back.  NEVER EVER face off with a cop especially one that is like the one in the video, on  your own.  Have your administrative back up right there, not on a speaker phone.  Just as when facing a violent patient, a cop can turn.  This cop turned.

5. Allow the aftermath process to take it’s course.  Alex is doing that. She is incredibly wise and patient.  She has accepted the apologies of the Salt Lake City mayor and police chief.  There is an internal and a criminal investigation now.  She will not say she wants that cop fired (like I have said repeatedly to anyone who will listen to me).   She is waiting until the process is finished, and in the meantime she has left all of her personal options on the table, like legal action.  She is a very smart and generous person.  I want her for my nurse if I am ever sick in SLC.

6. She is using her personal and traumatic experience to help teach other nurses and police about the rights of patients and and about the hospitals policies regarding that.  Alex has a lot to teach them.

7. Nurses are like protective mothers in the wild guarding their young…don’t threaten a vulnerable, and in this case unconscious patient on their watch, because they can and will take you down (unless all the proper paperwork and policies are in order of course).

8. Nurses stick together and they will fight as a pack against injustices and bullies.  Nurses will generally come out on top, because they know what they are doing and they are by in large very responsible and respectable people.  Alex has every staff nurse in the country (who has seen this video) on her side.   My bet is that this exact issue will be reviewed in every hospital in the country.

9. Stay calm in the face of craziness….Alex did this. She never raised her voice (until she was assaulted).  She was respectful and organized.  She presented the necessary policies verbally and in writing. to the cop in writing.  She got her supervisor on the phone (although he should have been there beside her). She did not disrespect anyone.  She rightfully protected her unknowing, unconscious patient by being his voice and advocate.   She didn’t expect anything from anyone other than mutual respect.

10. Alex taught us what herosim is.  She is an excellent example of nurse strength and courage.

Nurses encounter crazy business every day they go to work.It can come out of the blue, just like this cop did.  It can come from a patient, a visitor, a doctor, a boss, or another coworker.  Nobody expects it to come from a public servant, like a cop.

Appreciate your nurses because they will always have your back.  As patients, we should all be so lucky as to have a nurse like Alex Wubbels.



Categories: Uncategorized Tags: