Sunday, April 24, 2005

in absentia

I’m unconvinced that doctors have an incredible workload. Actually, I’m very much convinced that they do little to no work at all—except, of course, for some analyses of symptoms, the determination of particular aliments, and the dispensation of the appropriate medication. Otherwise, if you’re not a surgeon or perform some-type of operation or procedure at least three times weekly, you’re not doing much.

I should state this clearly: nurses, personal care assistants, therapists, orderlies, and administrative support workers do all the heavy lifting. Doctors, on the whole, do very little.

Here’s an example. Imagine you spend a twenty-four hour stay at your area hospital—the particular injury or aliment, in this case, is inconsequential since the condition has been judge severe enough to admit you into care. Your diet, relatively minimal but of the requisite daily nutrition, consists of three meals on a sliding scale of digestion capacity; liquids only, soft foods, normal and hard foods, ect.

Let’s say you’ve been admitted for an aliment that has caused you to lose a considerable amount of blood. You’re blood pressure is low, you’re hemoglobin is low, and, likewise, you’re energy is low. One would imagine that such a physical state requires either more nutrition or supplements directly aimed at re-establishing a healthy stasis—effectively increasing you’re energy levels. This isn’t the case.

The diet, at least in my experience, stays the same irrespective of particular nutrition deficiencies caused by the aliment. If you’re in there for an excess of fluids in your lungs, clotting of blood flow in particular vascular areas, or internal bleeding as a result of a ruptured vessel, don’t expect a varied and flexible diet—one that targets and alleviates you’re particular deficiency.

But I guess this seems somewhat sensible. The preponderance of organizing a complex and individualistic nutrition regime would, doubtless, be irrationally burdensome for the hospital. Moreover, the economy of scale offers a far more expansive nutrition coverage than an individualistic regime would—even if barely sufficient.

This is where private clinics find there niche. Individuals with the economic wherewithal to purchase services like individualistic nutrition regimes and on-call professional medical assistances will. And they’ll find these services at private clinics.

Aside from diet, what other considerations must be accounted during your hospital stay?

One, the most vital in my opinion, is the face time registered by the personal care assistants, nurses, and orderlies; you will see these people all the time. Nurses will be checking your vitals on the hour every hour during the daylight hours, and every three hours while you lie sleepless in the dark, bleak corner of a hospital room. Personal care assistants will fill-in the gaps where nurses aren’t able to, given time constraints and numbers of patients; though, they do this with less authority and usually defer to the nurses. And at the bottom of this hierarchy are the orderlies—who do everything else; everything else that is important, like red blood cells carrying oxygen throughout the body. They serve the food, clean the floors, move the patients, bathe the immobile and pained, and perform any and all necessary errands that keep the hospital smoothly operating—or operating at all.

I would be remiss not to comment on hospital administration. They are, quiet simply, the hospitals nerve center, the brain, where all these movable pieces are synthesized into a coherent whole.

Oh yeah, wasn’t I intending to speak on what doctors do? In the length of the piece you’d be led to believe that I neglected to mention the duties performed by doctors; but I did not. This is what they do: every morning at around eight, it is said, doctors make their rounds, informing patients as to the status of their conditions. The reality is that they show up around ten, if not later, mumble a few indelicate bromides, and then tell you whether you’re staying for another night, or will be free to go. You will see you’re doctor, or a doctor, for about five minutes a day. Seriously. But maybe I’m being unfair; I suppose they have a large number of patients to talk to. They probably do. For now, I will remain unconvinced that doctors are assiduous workers. I have good sources.

Addendum: (Surely they perform surgeries and procedures, but these are the few who actually do considerable work.)

6 comments:

Scott said...

You realize there are far fewer doctors on staff than there are nurses and orderlies and assistants.

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