A three-hour trip to the local ER was very disappointing and I wasn’t even the patient.

My 96-pound, 86-year-old Mother in law has cellulitis. Because getting into a primary care doctor nowadays could be anytime between now and her funeral, most likely closer to her funeral. They’re booked months out, they’re short-handed and there are very few in town.

We walked in and waited by the registration window. The admissions representative wasn’t there, no big deal, they’re constantly running paperwork. It was when she came back that things went south. She didn’t even glance at either of us let alone smile or acknowledge our presence. She sat down and began typing. I watched the clock, it was a full two minutes plus when she finally said, “I’ll be with you in a minute.” I chuckled to myself and thought, “That ship has already sailed.” but I didn’t say it out loud; I doubt she would have paid attention. After a minute, as stated, she said, “Birthdate?” still without as much as a glance in our direction. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have been holding a severed body part in my hands and she wouldn’t have noticed. Then she said, “Name?”, “Last Name?”My mother-in-law answered, still not a glance. Unbelievable, but true. I must tell you that this was extremely odd. My mother-in-law has the last name that usually draws a look or two, a comment, and an obvious question. My mother-in-law’s last name is Trump.  Still nothing. She stood up without looking at us and it wasn’t until after she asked my mother-in-law to extend her arm for the plastic bracelet and my mother-in-law complied that she finally risked a quick glance but that was it.

They were busy, I thought maybe she was having a bad day. We had a seat and waited to be called. While waiting, I watched her check in two more people and she didn’t act any different toward them. She never made eye contact. She wasn’t rude, just without social skills; not the type of person who should be front line in an ER.

These are sick people coming to you for care and compassion, do you think maybe you could possibly flash a smile, maybe look at the person you’re talking to, something to show a bit of care and compassion?

 

You really couldn’t miss the walker in the doorway

We got called and walked down to the “overflow room.” The room is usually reserved for patients under security watch. There is a stationary bed in the room, it’s permanently mounted to the floor but they did manage to shove an extra gurney in the room with it. There wasn’t room for my mother in laws walker to fit between beds, so it half blocked the doorway in front of the gurney and stuck out into the hallway.

The question and answer portion took place with the nurse in the doorway and went something like this:

Q: Have you received any vaccines? Flu?

A: “No, I get one every year but I haven’t yet this year, it’s not flu season yet.”

Q: “Pneumonia?”

A: “No, I don’t really see the point.”

Q: “Covid?”

A: Emphatically, “NO and I won’t be!”

Adding the extra bed made any expectation of privacy impossible
Patient’s family member has been blocked for privacy

When they pushed the gurney into the room, they pushed it up against the open door making it impossible to close the door and there wasn’t a curtain in the doorway. I don’t know if it violated any HIPPA laws, everyone passing by was privy to what was going on in there, but it most definitely violated and privacy consideration you should expect. I also had both excellent eye and ear shots of the gentleman across the hall as his door was left wide open without obstructions. It wasn’t just us, many doors/curtains were wide open as we walked down the hall to get to the room in the first place. Don’t you think patients deserve a little privacy and dignity anymore?

My mother-in-law also has an ulcer on her backside that Mesa View Home Health Care had been treating for 9 months with no progress. We hired a new home care agency and it’s been healing for the past two months but she is still under Mesa View’s wound care clinic orders NOT to put pressure of any kind on the wound. We told the nurses but they insisted she get up on the gurney anyway where she sat for three hours on the wound she was not supposed to put pressure on. A second nurse came in and we repeated the concern. She asked if my mother-in-law would like a pillow to take the pressure off, she said, “Yes, please that would be wonderful.” The nurse started an IV, left to go get the pillow and we never saw her again.

A half an hour late a third nurse came in to remove the IV and discharge her. She moved the walker several times while working her way around the two sides of the bed she was able to get to. Handed me the discharge paperwork and said, “Sign this for her.” I didn’t, my mother-in-law is not feeble-minded, she’s quite capable of signing her own paperwork. When my mother-in-law began to get up from the bed the nurse said, “Oh, you walk?” I’m no spring chicken but I certainly don’t look like I was the owner of the walker she jockeyed around. I had all sorts of sarcastic comebacks running through my head but said nothing. We took the discharge papers, and thank goodness the nurse gave the instructions orally and they were very easy.

I say that because we didn’t look at the papers until we got back to her house. They were completely in Spanish, with no English translation, my mother-in-law doesn’t have an accent, she’s pale white with blue eyes, why would anyone think to give her health care instructions in Spanish? At the very least, you’re dealing with people’s health care, could you perhaps pay a bit closer attention?

The only thing that kept it from being “the ER visit from hell” was the temperature, it was freezing in there; my goosebumps had goosebumps.

The general consensus among many hospital employees, both past and present, is incompetent departmental management and possibly nepotism. The hospital runs like a “Four Ring Circus and it’s only getting worse.” There are serious supply issues that have nothing to do with backorders and the supply chain. Eight weeks ago they were out of basic wound care supplies and someone had to be transferred to St. George for minor surgery. While we were waiting for the transfer papers, someone in the hallway promptly announced the hospital was out of chest tubes. Something that is a basic stock item in any ER. They have PAR levels for all stock items, it’s not that difficult to pay attention.

From start to end or the three-hour trip to the ER, they really never paid attention. Like my mother-in-law, who can walk and sign her own name, and myself, patients are noticing the lack of attention. When you’re talking healthcare, diagnosing and treating disease or injury, and elderly patients, you better damn well pay attention to what you’re doing and who you’re doing it to.

Many patients who used to go to Mesa View are now reaching out to Doctors in Las Vegas or St. George. They have been for a while. Many don’t feel they can receive quality health care in the local hospital. If they do find a health care professional they trust, it isn’t long before they’re gone.

Just an FYI, the revolving door you’ve been using for employees, works just as well for patients: they will use it.

15 thoughts on “Healthcare is more like Hellcare lately”
  1. You were lucky. I’ve had a couple of experiences up there and based what I read it sounds like you got the courteous receptionist.

  2. Unlike the above comment we had a very good experience with the ER at Mesa View. My husband was admitted with chest pains. We were taken right in (he was brought in by ambulance if that makes a difference) Tests were immediately preformed. Turns out that chest pains were 2 broken ribs and pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital for the pneumonia. The ER doctor was really good in my opinion.

    1. I’m glad you had a great experience and your hubby is good.
      The ER doc was great but the overall experience was not what anybody deserves or should expect. I hope you never have to go back and experience what my mother-in-law did. I’m not saying they didn’t try to solve her issue at hand, they just ignored everything else. Care is all encompassing.
      I see my mother-in-law’s bills, for what they charge, patients should get red carpet treatment. The hospital is wasting quite a lot of money on hiring traveling nurses instead of keeping the good staff they had who were local and far more cost-effective. When they fire the local staff, or they quit, the hospital has to pay triple wages to travelers and offer tens of thousands of dollars in housing incentives…who do you think ends up paying for the extra costs? I guarantee that the stockholders aren’t losing their fair share of the profits.
      I know many past and present hospital employees. Over the past two years, morale is horrible. One year prior to that it was waning. When Patty Holden was the Admin, staff members loved working there; the hospital had an upward momentum going. That all ended when Patty left and the “Corporates” took over. “Corporates” all play the political games both internally and externally…it’s all about money and very little about actual health. the word care certainly can not accompany health anymore. They’ve gotten too far into the “business” end of things and forgot about the care end.

      I worked in health care for 22 years before I thought about this: Doctors take the HYPOCRATIC oath. Doesn’t the very word make you question the oath? I was questioning a lot, so I quit. They don’t offer cures, they offer bandaids so they continue to have repeat customers.

      The etymology of hypocrite (n.) is circa 1200, ypocrite, “false pretender to virtue or religion,” from Old French ypocrite (12 century, Modern French hypocrite), from Church Latin hypocrita “a hypocrite,” from Greek hypokritēs “stage actor; pretender, dissembler,” from hypokrinesthai (the etymology suggested I then see hypocrisy for more detail)

      Sooooo…

      hypocrisy (n.) also circa 1200, ipocrisie, “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness,” from Old French ypocrisie, from Late Latin hypocrisis “hypocrisy,”

      also “an imitation of a person’s speech and gestures,” from Attic Greek hypokrisis “acting on the stage; pretense,”

      metaphorically, “hypocrisy,” from hypokrinesthai “play a part, pretend,”

      also “answer,” from hypo- “under” (see hypo-) + middle voice of krinein “to sift, decide” (from PIE root *krei- “to sieve,” thus “discriminate, distinguish”).

      The sense evolution in Attic Greek is from “separate gradually” to “answer” to “answer a fellow actor on stage” to “play a part.” The h- was restored in English 16 century.

      Lastly, hypocrisy is attempted to be explained in the following excellent quote:

      “Hypocrisy is the art of affecting qualities for the purpose of pretending to an undeserved virtue. Because individuals and institutions and societies most often live down to the suspicions about them, hypocrisy and its accompanying equivocations underpin the conduct of life. Imagine how frightful truth unvarnished would be.” [Benjamin F. Martin, “France in 1938,” 2005]

  3. The world has changed for the worse. I went into the ER the other day because I have pnemonia. The nurse who was taking vitals jabbed an IV into my hand so hard that I felt like crying. There’s no more compassion in these hospitals at all. Hope your mother-in-law is better.

    1. I am so sorry Donna. The world certainly has. I hope you get better soon too. Peace, love and prayers.

  4. Mesa View Hospital is a totally owned subsidiary of Quorum Healthcare (NYSE: QHC) which filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic. QHC is 58% owned by private equity, hedge, and mutual finds. Wall Street expression, ” if you are looking for a friend, buy a dog” What did you expect in “Business Friendly Mesquite”?

    1. Hi Andy,
      I wasn’t fooled, I have seen it for a long time. I knew what to expect. I’ve only been silenced about it because my hubby worked there for 10 years. He wasn’t a clinical guy but he was in every single department every day and saw what was happening. I asked him after a while to quit telling me; I couldn’t write about any of it. There is quite a lot about that hospital that should have been questioned and fixed for years.
      Employees are dropping like flies because there is no incentive for them to stay. Raises in the past two years were zero in 2020 and insulting in 2021 but the hospital doesn’t hesitate to put out big bucks hiring temp employees with huge incentive packages. Why wouldn’t you just give raises to those loyal employees who busted their asses to take care of business during the “pandemic?” It made no sense and employees were NOT happy. The hospital made a fortune on their covid patients and those who took care of them got nothing.
      Couple that with the fact that they are for-profit and guess who gets to pay for their bad business decisions with increased cost and delclining care?

  5. Terry,so sorry for the terrible experience. It’ll be a “Cold Day In Hell”, as it was for you and your Mother-In-Law, before I ever step foot into Mesa View Emergency. I’ll take my chances driving to St. George, through the Gorge, with back-up traffic before my feet will enter their doorway. Please, Intermountain, come to Mesquite….we need you.

    1. Thank you Margie, yes, we do need Intermountain. The city lawsuit against Mesa View during that whole Intermountain “looking to buy” phase a few years ago really messed things up and then there was the corporate restructuring phase. It was all just too much baggage to take on when they didn’t need to. They just bypassed Mesquite and shot straight for Vegas. Although they do have a Cardiovascular and senior health clinic in Mesquite and I am reading that healthcare partners Nevada is actually part of Intermountain Health.

      786 W. Pioneer Boulevard, Suite A, Mesquite, NV 89027
      Phone Number
      702.345.5000

  6. I take it you spouse is no longer at Mesa View. Our country is the wealthiest in the world but we have third world healthcare. Every civilized country has some form of nationalized healthcare that insures everyone can get care at little or no cost. If you want private care, you are free to get it but you will pay a lot more. Our “for profit” system is ridiculous. Patients should always come first,, not the bottom line.

    1. Yes David, you got that right. My hubby is no longer with the hospital. I’ve had to hold my tongue for so long because he was. Oh the horror stories I could tell but I’ll just refer to my own personal experience.
      Oh, so right you are. Our for-profit system is just FOR PROFIT. I don’t think the patients, who should come first, even come in 3rd or 4th anymore. I know a lot of people who cross the border and go to Mexico. Mexico is ranked way above the US for both care and cost. It’s a shame because we are truly capable of doing so much better. And the outrageous costs. She goes to wound care, 2 minutes with the doc cost her $700 and that is only the doc’s bill…it didn’t include diagnostics (they culture the wound) or the actual visit which was $246 just to walk through the door. Crazy!
      I could go on about our Health system. That’s why I don’t trust them. HYPOCRATIC OATH = HYPROCRACY, it’s plain as day.
      Part of the oath states, “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism’’. They avoid neither.

  7. Just because you don’t like your job or the company you work for is no excuse to be rude to a customer. We’ve probably all had jobs where we disliked the pay, the tasks, or the boss, but that doesn’t mean you can take it out on a patient who is just looking for help. They’re just some nasty people. Not all of them, but a significant number.

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