Coming soon to an American hospital near you — Misery, Thy Name Is Bureaucracy:
Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire, England is an example. A retired government risk assessor had been asked by a patients’ group to examine the feasibility of installing bedside telephones for the patients. Once you get past the fact that there exists a hospital in a major industrialized nation such as Great Britain that does not already have bedside telephones for patient use, it is instructive to note the conditions the risk assessor found as he moved about the building. In the emergency room waiting area were chairs with “congealed blood smeared on torn cushions.” A general filth could be seen, from the grimy floors to the sinks encrusted with God-knows-what. These are the same sinks used by doctors and nurses to wash up before procedures. Restroom floors were covered in urine-and-feces-soaked bathroom tissue.
A more comprehensive listing of the squalid conditions may be found here.
More compelling is the brusque behavior that passed for medical care at this facility. Patients went for hours without pain medications, screaming and crying to no avail. Food service consisted of placing a tray in the general vicinity of the patient’s room, whether the patient was able to feed himself or not. Family members of patients frequently took the bedsheets home to launder — because the hospital would go weeks, sometimes months, without providing fresh linens, even after a soiling accident by the patient. Those patients not fortunate enough to have regular visits from loved ones often lay in their own waste for weeks at a time, resulting in infections and secondary diseases.