Who the F**k is in charge???

Playing off Samuel L Jackson’s “Wake the F**k up!” campaign, I would like to share a recent healthcare experience and ask “Who the F**k is in charge?”

Being in the healthcare industry, I am genuinely excited about the prospects for Reform. In particular, I am hopeful for better coordination of care and an improved patient experience. But a recent personal experience with the healthcare system has really set me back. My daughter just spent a week in a hospital for febrile seizure related issues. Thankfully, she is fine. However, the entire episode could have been a nightmarish reality show called “Who the F**k is in charge?”

When we brought our 7 year old daughter to the ER, the experience in the ER was generally positive. However, from the minute the decision was made to admit her, our daughter was in the hands of the the good old fashioned American healthcare system. Once my daughter’s fever subsided in 24 hours, here’s how we spent every hour the remainder of the week:

Parent – “Hello Nurse, who is in charge here? We’d like to speak with someone about how our daughter is doing.”
Nurse – “The Doctor is in charge”
Parent – “Which Doctor?”
Nurse – “The Doctor that admitted her”
Parent – “Well, that was the ER doc”
Nurse – “Oh. Well, do you have a pediatrician?”
Parent – “Yes”
Nurse – “Then your pediatrician is in charge”

So then we call the pediatrician:

Parent – “Are you in charge of our daughter? Can you give us any info on what the plan is?”
Office Manager (when she called back the next day) – “Well, the pediatrician says the attending neurologist is in charge and he’ll be by at some point to discuss”

So then we try like hell to get in touch with the attending neurologist:

Parent – “It’s been 2 days since any medical professional has given us any insight. Who is in charge?”
Resident on behalf of the never seen before attending neurologist – “Well, your pediatrician is in charge.”
Parent – “UGHHH…they said YOU were in charge!!”

After a few days of this, I wanted to strangle someone and went up to the nurse’s station:

Parent: “No one seems to be in charge here and my daughter seems fine, so as a parent I am taking charge. I am taking my daughter home now”
Nurse: “Oh no you’re not! You’re not in charge!!”
Parent: “UGGGHHHHHH… Who the F**k is in charge???!!!

And so, this experience has made me more determined to play a role in improving the coordination of care and the patient experience (not to mention the experience of patient’s family). I need to work harder to bring Reform from Theory to Practice. It ain’t gonna be easy, but maybe I’ll put someone in charge first.