A reader writes in:
I had a horrible two and a half week ordeal at Mt. Sinai, having part of my pancreas removed because the most highly recommended surgeon was too arrogant and lazy to check a previous ultra-sound to find out that I had a cyst and not a tumour.
The residents were totally incompetent (they kept switching my prescriptions because they were confused), the so-called cleaning staff left the same dirty fingerprints on the taps and the bathtub was filthy. The nurses weren’t just incompetent, but were plain mean.
It wasn’t because they were foreigners because many of them weren’t. The three main problems that I see are:
1. The nurses and other hospital staff are unionized. When they are entitled to go out for their smoke break, why should they care if a patient is suffering?
2. Younger people, no matter what job they perform, generally have a poor attitude. It doesn’t matter if it’s Walmart staff or hospital staff (maybe Walmart staff try a little harder).
3. The payout for malpractice suits is too small in Canada to scare the physicians into doing a decent job.*
My son has worked at a hospital in upstate New York where even the patients from a State prison, who reside in the hospital in a holding cell, get more respect and prompt service than we do here.
What a disgrace that your mother-in-law had to go through this ordeal. I suggest that if not already done, Arnie write a letter to the hospital administration and send copies to government ministries.
Send him my best wishes.
* We have “loser pays” up here, which is one of the few things that makes Canada superior to the US, where tort reform — not socialized medicine — would reduce many of the problems re: US health care.
So I don’t endorse “fear of lawsuits” as a strategy…