Hospitals Can Kill You

collected by Ray Jones

These are real statements by real people about  hospitals:

Sandee Curry: I spent five hours in the waiting room here with a kidney infection. The bathroom for the ER waiting room was filthier than a truck stop restroom. The sink was clogged and I couldn’t wash my hands. When I finally saw a nurse (never got to see a doctor) they gave me a non-narcotic pain medication because the nurse said kidney infections are the number one way drug-seekers attempt to score drugs from hospitals. What about people who aren’t addicts but are in excruciating pain?

Kevin O’Conner: Where to begin about this atrocious hospital? I’m a homeless, alcoholic veteran who’s trying to piece my life back together. My last bout of drinking in October, the staff of the shelter I’m at got worried, and decided to call Good Sam. When the EMTs arrived, I asked several times about the cost of transport to the hospital. They lied and said for veterans it would be free; two weeks later I got a $1500 bill. Not to mention the nurse and doctor were brash, rude and jotted down vitals for me that they didn’t even take! If I have to choose between meeting my maker and staying here again… I’ll choose death.

Beth Vargas: I was admitted to this place after feeling sick, with my blood pressure dropping and losing consciousness several times. After the ambulance dropped me off, the staff said they no rooms available and only one doctor working. The paramedics said, Ok – what do we do? The medical staff said the only place is to sit me on a chair in the waiting area, where I spent several hours in and out of consciousness and barely breathing. I could hear people screaming in pain not being attended to. As I regained more consciousness, I knew I had to get out of there. I called my friend and she picked me up from the chair in the waiting room, and I hobbled out without ever being admitted. Stay far away from this place if you want to live to tell about it.

Marjorie Arca: I had the very difficult experience of losing my mom while she was in the hospital. She was on different floors, the CCU, the MICU and the regular floor. I’m a physician and my sister’s a nurse. I was very disappointed with the lack of compassion the nursing staff displayed. Nobody helped my mom when she was ill (vomiting). We stayed with her overnight, and nobody woke her up in over eight hours, but somehow her heart rate and blood pressure got recorded on her chart. She got pressure sores from failure to turn her. There were only two nurses who displayed compassion in her six weeks there. I hope the caregivers in this hospital have more compassionate nurses when it’s their turn to lose a loved one.

Si Mone: Two years ago, the doctor here was horrible. My head was splitting, and I had been vomiting, including blood from my stomach, and when I complained about my pain, all he gave me was a Tylenol. I think it was discrimination pure and simple. The other two patients he treated so kindly were white, and I am Latino/Black. This was horrible treatment, and he wouldn’t even treat my sky-high blood pressure. Never go to this place unless you are white and have great insurance. ERs are not supposed to deny you treatment because of your skin color!!

Change Links invites readers to send in their comments, opinions, reports and complaints about their experiences with personnel and problems with big businesses, corporations or government agencies and services. Tell it here — tell the world!

Editor’s note: Go to your nearest library and check out “Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do” by Matthew Syed. He contrasts the approach of aviation — where black boxes record all the instrumentation on flights and every thing the crew says and does in order to identify what caused errors and how to correct them — to medicine, where CYA rules, and all defer to medical authority figures (and cover up errors with settlements that require a gag rule), and law enforcement/criminal justice (where cops and prosecutors never admit error even after falsely accused people are exonerated).

Photo credit: Sandro Hoici, Visita ao Hospital de Câncer de Barretos, flickr/creative commons, httpss://

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