It's NOT supposed to be this way.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. I thought that every other healthcare provider would show up every day and do the absolute best that they could. I used to pray every morning when I arrived to work that nothing that I would do would cause harm. I prayed that every action of every person in each patient's care that day would be guided by wisdom and compassion and contribute to healing and best outcomes. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
I received my first case review last fall. It came from a friend, no less, that had lost a family member recently during his hospital admission. I listened to her concerns regarding the many red flags, dismissed pleas for communication, and her perceived apathy, annoyance, and possible disdain from the providers that cared for her loved one, one of the most important people in her life. I listened and my heart hurt for the pain, grief, disappoint, and anger that I knew she felt as she conveyed her story. I agreed to give it a look.
I secretly hoped that when I opened the records that what I would find was documentation that contradicted her account. I know that sounds crazy, but I wanted to reveal that all those involved in the care of her loved one had documented and clearly done all they could do. I hoped that I could give her a sense of peace that despite the bad communication and her bad experience that in fact, there couldn't have been another outcome. As I looked at the records, however, I knew it wasn't supposed to be this way.
The calls that were never returned by hospital staff, unmet complaints of sores left untreated, constant thirst and glasses of water left in view but just out of reach, and countless other heartbreaking memories will live forever in my friend's mind as what made up the last few weeks of her father's time on Earth but were all left undocumented in the medical record. In the black and white of the "paper", none of that ever happened.
What was documented though was evidence of bad decisions, perhaps not well thought out, perhaps all the facts weren't reviewed, all the risks and benefits not weighed, and the lack of documentation paired with labs, ins/outs, medications given that maybe shouldn't have been, and occasionally recorded weights all came together like a Monet of dots that formed a complete picture to the onlooker that stood from afar. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
For her and her dad, it wasn't supposed to be this way. She wasn't supposed to never see him again. She still needed him. He was never supposed to call for help, be admitted for care, and then deteriorate in the hands of those who were supposed to make him better before ever getting to see the outside of that hospital room again. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Working in healthcare in many different capacities since the age of 18, I never thought I would be critiquing much less appalled by someone else's patient care, but here I am and it wasn't supposed to be this way. The patients and their families are supposed to understand what's happening to them and be told all the risks and the benefits of all of the treatment options. They are supposed to be a part of the care team. This "my way or you die" approach is not just disgusting but it's inaccurate, it's malicious, and it's breaking all trust that the public has left in the healthcare system. IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY!
I am saddened that a business like Truth and Honor has to exist. I am saddened that patients and families feel that they don't have a voice anymore or any control over their bodies or what happens to them. I am sickened by the need for skepticism. And mostly I am sad because it wasn't supposed to be this way.
-Anonymous, Medical Expert Reviewer