I was hurt at the time; I had worked hard to get there--working full-time and completing pre-reqs as well while trying to see my newborn daughter every once and a while--and he was telling me I was entitled?
But now that I've seen more patients, and seen more of the system, I see that I was--admittedly a bit spoiled--but also just the last straw for an ID doc who was sick of people whining about wanting antibiotics, vaccines causing autism, people not doing their jobs and patients wanting more, better, faster, and cheaper.
Over at M.D.O.D., the posters have little, if any, patience left for the people we treat as a community, who think health care is a right, and that anything less than perfect, enjoyable care is not good enough. This goes in line with the 'quality' movement sweeping through health care based loosely on the six-sigma line of thinking.
I don't know yet how much this affects the field. I will note, however, that the ED I'm about to begin training at has all private rooms, with flat screens and cable TV in each one. I'll also note that they hand out consumer satisfaction surveys to patients. In theory, this may sound great. In practice, it worries me.
Patients are not customers. Putting cable TV in the rooms certainly improves the wait, I'm sure, but aren't we sending the wrong message? When we spent trillions on health care with only so-so outcomes, are flat screen TVs really where we should put our money?
I happen to favor national health care a la the system seen in the UK, the NHS. However, I also acknowledge that this is often advocated in a very indignant way, as if it is an injustice that we don't yet have it. I used to feel the same way. How can the US, which is so advanced and spends so much money, not yet have universal care? Being a schizoid combination of realism and idealism, I like the idea of universal health care, but having watched our government screw up a lot of other things--public education, welfare, land management, and so on--I'm pretty sure we'd screw up health care, too. Instead of decreasing
We are becoming a nation entitled. They say it's bad parenting now to tell your children that there are starving kids in Africa that would gladly eat those carrot sticks, but isn't it totally true?
We should tell patients that, too. You just waltzed into this ED at 2 am because you need a refill on your Percocet and got seen within an hour while you sat in your private room and watched the Top Chef marathon on the Food Channel. You personally will not be charged for this visit because we won't be able to find you, and because I am totally exhausted you might even get some narcs out of me. Then, you'll complain how I wasn't compassionate enough on the survey the nurse is required to hand you, knowing full well that the parent of the pediatric resuscitation that went perfectly down the hall won't have the time or energy to fill out a survey because they have more important things to worry about. There are patients in Africa who would gladly take this level of health care.
It's nice going into residency being pre-jaded. At least I won't feel the pain of my ideals burning away.