That’s The Trouble With Affordable Healthcare

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | August 28, 2020

I work in a hospital. A mother brings her daughter into the emergency room.

Nurse: “Hi there. Could you describe the nature of your medical needs?”

Mother: “My daughter stepped in dog poop and I’m afraid she might have an infection.”

Nurse: “Okay, does your daughter have any open wounds, blisters, warts, etc., near where she came into contact with the dog poop?”

Mother: “No.”

Nurse: “Did you wash her foot afterward with warm water and soap?”

Mother: “That’s disgusting! Why would I do that?”

Nurse: “To protect your daughter from infection?”

Mother: “No, I just threw it out.”

Nurse: “Wha…” *Lightbulb moment* “Was your daughter wearing shoes when she stepped in the poop?”

Mother: “Yes! Of course.”

Nurse: “So, you’re telling me that your daughter stepped into dog poop wearing shoes and socks, and she has no open wounds on her feet, and you are worried she has an infection?”

Mother: “Yes, of course, I’m worried.”

Nurse: “No offence, but this is an emergency room. It is very unlikely she got an infection, and since this is obviously a very low-priority case, you may be waiting here for up to six hours to see a doctor. I recommend you go home and make an appointment with your regular doctor in a couple of days’ time. If your daughter does take any severe turns, you can always bring her in or call an ambulance and she will be seen immediately.”

Mother: “Oh, no, you don’t! I want you to get my daughter to see a doctor as soon as you can!”

Nurse: “Very well. Please be aware that you could be waiting a very long time as we assign cases on a priority basis. Also please be aware that, whilst we make every effort to remove the risk of infection, this is a hospital and there is a chance that infected blood or bodily fluids may be present. Also be aware that, since this is a walk-in center, we do get a lot of homeless men and drug addicts coming in to get out of the rain.”

It is clear that the nurse is doing everything in her power to dissuade this mother from trying to see a doctor.

Mother: “Whatever. Those infections probably aren’t as bad as the ones you can get from dog poop.”

Nurse: “Actually, blood and bodily fluids might be contaminated with any number of infections, including HIV.”

Mother: “Oh, don’t be silly.”

The woman and her daughter moved on to the waiting room and were sat there for approximately four and a half hours. The woman was told by the doctor to do exactly what the nurse had advised and left looking overly smug.

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