Now here's a rain story

Blogger Steve Smith describes what happened when his 90-year-old grandmother fell and broke her kneecap, got taken to Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys for a cast, then was sent home during Sunday night's deluge:

It took about ten minutes to drive/float the two miles from hospital to home. When I got there, I discovered that the wheelchair still hadn't arrived. So my grandmother waited, in the front seat of my car, for about five minutes, while my uncle and I, not wanting to leave her alone, stood ankle-deep in water, waiting for the wheelchair. When it was finally delivered, it took another ten minutes to maneuver my grandmother out of the car, taking great pains not to twist her leg or put any undue pressure on her cast, before we were finally able to put her in the chair and wheel her to the house. It took four of us: my uncle and I, and the two caregivers who had delivered the chair, to complete the task in a driving rainstorm. It was like a scene out of King Lear.

I'm certain that many of the people reading this have had similar, or possibly even worse, encounters with hospitals (and mind you, this was a hospital, not an H.M.O.) The thing that struck me the most was how dehumanizing the entire experience was. The hospital treated my grandmother not as someone who was sick and needed care, but as a thing, a commodity, for whom it provided the absolute minimal service possible before they shipped her on her merry way. The hospital itself was immaculate, its facilities state-of-the-art, its medical practitioners top-notch, and its nurses unfailingly polite and dedicated, but all to a point. Once the patient's needs began to conflict with the bottom line, she was no longer a significant factor, so they got rid of her.

The first commenter at Smith's blog skips over all that and invites him to "study the Bible with me."


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