Monday, September 21, 2015

Hospitals and Waste

I’m working with my Argumentation class to develop arguments for and against what is generally called “sustainability.” Thus, I may be a little more sensitive to the issue than is needed. Yet my experience of going for EKG at SRHC made me profoundly aware of how wasteful our current hospital system has become.

I went last Friday, so it’s a recent memory. I checked in at the universal check in desks and, as usual received a white plastic bracelet, on which my identity was barcoded, and the pink/orange plastic bracelet that announced I was allergic to penicillin. I also had a sheet with my doctor’s orders, a sheet that allowed the provider to treat me and a sheet of bar code sticky labels– probably 30 labels on the one sheet.  These all identified the bearer as me.

I asked the young woman who checked me in why I needed a wrist band to identify me, a wrist band to identify I had a penicillin allergy, and a page of sticky label bar codes when I was going to get one procedure in one place with one technician and no bodily invasion. She explained that this was all for my protection. “What if someone came in a pretended to be you?” she asked. “They could rack up a bunch of services and charge your insurance.”

I did not want to hassle this nice young woman with the obvious question. Has this ever happened? Is this really a thing? Someone undergoes medical tests in my name, even though they couldn’t get the results except from a doctor. Are there actually doctors who tell their patients to hijack other people’s identities, or doctors who’ll accept results from a stolen identity without thinking? Are there rings of identity thefts getting medical tests under false pretenses? The idea to so complex as to be absurd on the face of it.

Of course, after my feeble attempt at protest I gave in. I might have gone to Noni and complained to her about the waste. But I don’t need to lay my crusade on her shoulders.

I think, next time I go, I’m going to refuse to let them put the bracelets on. I’ll carry them, but not let them put them on. This time, as soon as my two minute test was complete, the first thing the tech did was snip off the bracelets. If I carry them that will eliminate one non-essential task from her workday!

No comments: