What I really wanted to say…

Do not, I repeat, do NOT threaten me with an attorney within the first 3 minutes of my very first conversation with you.

When your almost 90 year old mother-in-law has suffered an injury that has great odds of killing her I know you are concerned (hip fracture).

I am too.

That is why we held off on surgery until we could figure out why she fell at the nursing home after suffering from a syncopal event (passed-out). We want to know why she was found in a puddle of her own stool, possibly seizing before we place her under general anesthesia.

Why do you think we have given her morphine to control her pain, placed her in traction and done everything possible to prevent bed sores from the minute she was admitted?

Oh, and telling me that _I_ should have arranged to send her to our other hospital when I knew she wasn’t going to be immediately taken to the OR really makes me wonder about your true motivations.

Let me break the largest bone in your body, get you all tucked in and comfortable IN TRACTION, only to transfer you to a gurney, into the back of a bouncing ambulance, back into a bed with the entire trip through cold northern winter weather.

Let me try to get an accepting physician at that hospital to clear their schedule to do a procedure on you as a high risk patient.

Sure, don’t listen to my explaination of what our Ortho/Trauma room flow works like (life/limb first, triage). I WILL NOT tell you because of HIPAA that it took us 2 hours to intubate a patient today, or that the 95 year old woman down the hall needed her hip fixed more urgently AND had been here longer.

I really start to wonder when, after I offer to call patient relations, you state, “Don’t bother! I know where the office is. I will go there myself!”

It really motivates us to give extrodinary care when you BERATE the Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon who is doing your mother’s surgery because the wait was “unacceptable.” We won’t mention that the surgeon had been operating for over 12 hours and this would keep him at the hospital until after his kids’ bedtime. Bumping your mother-in-law’s case to the next day would have been perfectly acceptable. He refused to do that.

“I want you to know that if she suffers any adverse effects from this wait, there WILL be an Attorney involved!”

The above statement, although proving that you are somewhat educated, says nothing more to me than you will call a lawyer that does NOT advertise during afternoon soap operas.

Attorney, Lawyer…they are all empty threats when I KNOW we are giving appropriate Evidence Based Care.

The nurse manager summed it up best. She said that the people who are the most belligerent are the ones who are inconvenienced. THEY don’t want to wait in the hospital all day. It has absolutely nothing to do with the patient we are doing our best to treat.

So, what did I say to this well dressed lady who was inconvenienced by her mother-in-law’s hip fracture?

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

The patient was taken to the OR and fixed that night…a mere 26 hours after admission…suffering no complications from her “unacceptable wait.”