Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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There are currently 22 admitted hospital patients in my 25-bed ER. We are treating them in the hallways. We are treating them on the beaches. We are treating them on the landing grounds. We are treating them in the hills. We'd like to surrender, but there's no one to surrender to.

My waiting room is full. They're not moving because we have no beds to put them in. Now and then someone gives up and goes home.

The hospital is on ambulance divert. Every hospital in the county is on ambulance divert. This situation has gradually been building for the past month.

It is in part due to the usual winter spike in cardiac and respiratory diseases, partly due to the chronic shortage of nurses in the US, and (IMO) partly due to the increasing skittishness of US physicians, and our tendency to admit to the hospital every patient with even the tiniest chance of serious disease, because of the high-risk medico-legal climate.

The intoxicated schizophrenic suicidal patient lying in leather restraints on a hallway stretcher says, "This is not right. Obama will change this. He will have universal health care. Like France, and Germany." He is from Trinidad, and his accent is delightful. He hasn't slept in days. That's the schizophrenia. His affect is animated and interactive. That's the alcohol.

Obama may or not be elected, and may or may not be able to pass universal health care. Even if he is, I don't think it can change this particular problem, which is the result of the plate tectonics of American culture.
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