P. Edronkin

Personal Attention In The Emergency Ward? Not Anymore!

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The more you apply force with your hands, the more things will escape thorough your fingers; this is a metaphor of modern medicine indeed.

Personal attention in the realm of medicine, particularly in the emergency wards of hospitals located in big cities is disappearing. The number and nature of accidents - above all, because of road and street disasters of varying magnitude -, the constant influx of injured people and patients, forces doctors and nurses to treat patients according to standard protocols that equalise all cases in order to attend each person in a timely fashion and with fewer errors; however, the problem also lies here, because this means that they pay very little attention to each case in particular, and this brings the possibility of serious mistakes related to the characteristics of each patient, which are indeed ignored or allegedly left for later.

This may be understandable when doctors confront an avalanche of people coming from a big accident or catastrophe, a situation in which they even resort to 'triage' techniques to determine who will live and who will not. However, such extreme survival practices are in fact, used every day, and the risk is that people may - and in fact many times do - receive a substandard first aid or immediate treatment.

Secondary, collateral and side effects, rehabilitation, psychological fall out from an accident, survivor's guilt, and such things which have indeed a deep influence but do not become apparent are usually not treated at all. Only the treatment of symptoms and what seems urgent is paid attention to, and nothing about an integral picture of the person in question is considered.

As we just wrote, within a first aid context there is no other way to do things, but once the initial emergency passes, there is no real reason to justify what could be described as plain indifference: integral treatment never comes.

This is important because such indifference may leave the patient with serious problems, otherwise perfectly preventable and curable.

We recommend you not to let others treat you as a potato bag in a hospital; doctors have an aura of infallibility and many people are afraid of being impertinent. But it is better to be impertinent once than to leave the hospital with permanent sequels for nothing. Ask the doctors what they are doing, bring your family doctor if at all possible, and question what they are doing.

Remember: it is YOUR body at stake, not your car's engine.

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