Where’s Dr. Waldo?

We’re dealing at present with a family member hospitalized several states away from us. The condition is “serious but not an emergency” and so we’re in contact only by phone.

I want you to think for a moment about what you would put in your hospital if you were to be a hospital owner. Just make a little list for yourself right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, ready? Keep that list in mind.

Said family member was admitted to the hospital at three o’clock in the morning through the ER, and as of last night when my Patient Husband spoke to her, she had spoken to an MRI tech, a radiologist who did a scan of the carotid artery, a sonographer who did a scan of her heart, the nice folks in the kitchen who do the meals, and several nurses.

She had seen a million dollars worth of equipment and had regular correspondence with a machine that takes your blood pressure automatically on the quarter-hour and then emails the results to India where they are compiled and charted on a server the head nurse can access from the nurse’s station.

She’d been put in contact with her clergy person, her children, her neighbors, someone she knows “who takes children out of burning buildings” and one of her neighbors.

That’s everything you should have in a hospital, right? Oh, wait. Where’s the doctor?

Yep: she’d been in the hospital for 18 hours and had not seen even one doctor.

We had asked her to inquire about certain tests, but she has no one to ask. Why is she hospitalized? She’s not sure–only a doctor can give a diagnosis and she hasn’t seen a doctor. Does she have the results from those tests performed on those half-million dollar machines? Nope, the technicians can’t “read” the scans for her because…they’re not doctors.

Here’s a suggestion for all you philanthropic millionaires and multinational corporations who want to found hospitals: at the same time as you install seventy trillion dollars in fancy equipment and a state of the art kitchen, keep in mind that sick people may want to use your facility, and therefore a doctor or two might be a nice thing to acquire.