After being away from HLC (Holy Land Central) for a decade, spending time in a local hospital this week was a very different experience from what I’d grown accustomed to in San Fran – hardwood floors, sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, meal menus to choose from and jacuzzi bath in the UCSF room where I gave birth to Senior Raphael…hmmm… The differences between here and there in the healthcare approach are rather significant, no doubt. The bottom line – the medical care – however, is the same. Here’s what I mean:
- Emergency room attending nurses didn’t wear gloves nor did the doc. Even while taking a rather spraying urine sample from a shaking child. I could care less but noticed it all the same
- The examination table lining paper doesn’t seem to change all too often. I’d like to think the brown stain was antiseptic
- Patient room windows open to the outside wide enough to crawl through onto the ledge and jump. No bars. Obviously not too many people are thinking: Hmmm. I think I’ll go up to floor 3 of the children’s ward and end my life
- Improvisation is king. Need a cold compress to bring down your child’s fever? Grab a pair of infant leggings, soak and apply
- Televisions in rooms are a commodity; They can be brought in and hooked up but it’ll cost ya
- Self service is the name of the game. Because at least one parent is with a child at all times (not a rule but it’s just the way people here behave), that parent is expected to go out in the hallway and fix a tray from the meal cart for his/her child at each mealtime
- Empowerment is also the name of the game. The same parent is expected to find and use the “buffet” cart next to the nurses’ station stocked with glass thermometers in alcohol filled beakers marked “rectum” and “mouth”, vaseline tubes and wipes. Kid running a fever? Then grab some supplies and take his temperature. Tell the nurse how high it was and she (there were no male nurses during our stay) will mark it on the chart and administer meds
- Kid feeling bored and listless? Go take a walk outside. Noone will say anything or probably even notice. Or hang out in the children’s room where computer games, art supplies, books and boardgames are manned by helpful “teachers” who play and guide
- When the black cloaked 4-man Chabad brigade shows up on the ward it does not signal last rites. They’re on deck to hand out sweets and Bamba and bid a refuah shleimah (full recovery) to the kids
- Time to go home? Bye bye. No wheelchair or coddling. Take care. Now go
The bottom line: Lawsuits are not dangled threateningly overhead so self empowerment and independence fostering takes precedence.
And let’s face it: Who cares about seeing the bridge during a contraction? I certainly didn’t but paid dearly for that missed view. Here? Go home, thanks. No bill. Yes, I’ll pay in other ways but let’s not talk about it right now, eh?