How to Become a “Hospital Warrior”

Check this out. What you will see is the story of a layperson who has learned the hard way, i.e., by fighting for appropriate medical care for her husband, how to work the hospital system.  Terminology is, as always, important. At the Hilton Head Volunteers In Medicine Clinic, we use “Patient Navigators.” Frankly, many of our patients have never had a doctor before, don’t speak English, and need help getting to the right person at the right time. That’s different.

“Patient Advocate” is closer to what is being talked about here, but still falls short of some of the visceral feeling that is being discussed in this book. What we see in this tome is the advice that someone needs to actually get belligerent to get the right care for a patient in some circumstances in some hospitals.

An unfortunate case in point. At a friend’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday night, I met a great couple. Happy. Healthy. Beaming. She in her 50’s, he in his early 60’s. That day, he had won a 5-mile kayak race. They had gone to a wine tasting, and now he was dancing at the party. My wife and I left at about half time, but the party continued until 1 AM. He had a difficult time walking the short distance to his home. Couldn’t breathe. Not COVID. In an ambulance to a local hospital at 2:30 AM. Three days later, I was told he was going to be intubated. The next day, I learned that in the process of being medevacked to MUSC, our tertiary care hospital in Charleston, he had died in the helicopter. A full five days after initial admission to the local hospital!!!

Bottom Line. As I looked at this book’s URL, I wondered. I wondered whether if a “hospital warrior” had been fighting for his care, would the chopper have lifted off days earlier and he might still be alive?

We’ll never know!  

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