Over time, you learn more about things going on around you, just because they are part of your life experience. If you take the opportunities to learn, then your knowledge base because both wide and deep. Unfortunately, some people fail to learn and consequently are doomed to repeat their mistakes a la “Groundhog Day.”

As I write this, I am sitting in an outpatient surgical center waiting for my husband to have a relatively minor procedure done. All around me are the standard warnings about wearing a mask if you have cold/flu symptoms. Wash your hands frequently. Make sure your trash is thrown away. Big, bold signs with pictures for those who can’t comprehend the words.

Moving into the pre-op holding area I see more signs. The “5 Moments of Hand Washing” is particularly prominent. I guess this is where the downside to being medically involved comes in. The pre-op nurse appears to not understand the importance of basic sanitation. I didn’t see her wash her hands even once. She pulled on gloves…and then picked things up off the floor. She pre-filled syringes of lidocaine and dropped them into a workstation drawer. She dropped an IV set on the floor and picked it up for later use. Sharps were thrown in the trash instead of a sharps container. The whole time I wanted to say something, but I’m trying to not freak out on my husband, who I’m sure is freaking out in his own way.

To answer your question…I’m sure these centers work great for most people. Personally, I’ve had the “it only takes one germ to kill you” lecture many, many times. You won’t find me signing up for this. It’s really kind of scary how casual the staff is here. Maybe I’m just hyper-aware. Constantly on alert for ways to reduce the risks I face every day. Yeah, I’m probably over reacting and high strung.

But, there it is. RTFP- read the fine print. In this case, just read the print. Make sure you understand what’s going on around you. Speak up. Don’t just randomly agree to things. We all have a stake in improving things. Anything from the safety of our vulnerable members of society to ensuring our personal safety. Don’t go quietly into the night. I will be filling out the satisfaction questionnaire when it shows up in the mail. After all, if you don’t make any effort to enact change, who will?

2 thoughts on “RTFP

  1. This is completely disturbing. Yikes!!

    I have had to learn the hard way about speaking up in medical settings, and I don’t like that I had to. I didn’t stand up for myself or advocate when things went terribly, terribly wrong before and during Daniel’s birth. But in addition, I didn’t stand up at other times because I had no idea that what was happening was wrong. I try to be informed but I can’t possibly be as informed as I need my providers to be, and so many times, both as patient and mom of the patient, I have just not understood the science well enough.

    As I prepare for labor and delivery with this child, I have had actual flashbacks of the last time I had a baby, and I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to happen. I have arranged for support to be with me and arranged for pressuring/opinionated people to not be with me. But in the end, I’m still at the mercy of the medical providers. And frankly, that just sucks.

    • I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I didn’t have so many poor experiences that I now recognize so many “little things” that medical staff do that aren’t supposed to happen. Here we are, surrounded by all these medical services that should be making our lives safer/better and it still comes down to the same thing it did 100 years ago. Does the medical staff give a hoot? I hope things go smoother for you this time around.

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