Wednesday, October 28, 2009

 

We need healthcare reform of a different kind


by Larry Geller

I have to tell you about a couple of surprises related, maybe, to Swine Flu. Or any other flu, actually, but these days it’s that particular one the media are reminding us of.

First, on Monday I was walking down the hallway in a medical building which shall remain nameless. A tall guy (really tall) was coming the other way, He turned to go into an office. He put his hand flat against the top of the door, and in the same instant, operated the door handle with his knee in a graceful motion. It all happened in second. He had pushed the door open from a place no one else was likely to have touched, and no matter what evil beasties would be on the door handle, he wasn’t going to get any.

I’ll bet he does that all the time.

I can’t do that, but I was thinking that I could operate that door handle with my elbow instead of with my knee, anyway, and lean the door open. Need to keep that in mind, especially when entering a doctor’s waiting room where all kinds of things might be on that door handle.

Contrast that with this. On Tuesday I needed to get a CT scan at a hospital which shall remain nameless. They hook you up to an IV so they can pump a contrast medium in during the scan (that’s actually the most exciting point of the procedure). Well, the technician put on gloves, etc., and gave me a little spongy squeezy thing to put in my fist while he poked around for a likely vein. No way that squeezy thing was going to get de-germed before the next person used it. I pointed out the problem. Don’t know if he will give it up, though, but it’s an infection hazard and shouldn’t be used. In a hospital, no less!

Ok, all done, heading for the bathroom to wash up. A hospital employee comes in, does his thing, and goes out without washing his hands!!! Amazing.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, but maybe it’s because the newspaper keeps pushing so-called “tort reform.” That’s the idea that we shouldn’t be able to recover damages when a doctor or hospital makes a serious error and might ruin our lives. I’m not ready to give them a free ride yet. Not until they wash their hands in the bathroom, for a start.




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