Sunday, April 27, 2008

Guest services

Strange word, that, "Guest Services". I was told that was the place to go to for grievances, to complain about medical treatment issues. First of all: Guest? Is a patient at a hospital a "Guest"? I suppose in a very loose way--if you consider a hospital a place to stay, as in a hotel,--a patient is a "Guest". The fact that Stanford Hospital calls its grievance facility "Guest Services" is meant to make it difficult for a patient to find the complaint department. It is meant to obfuscate. It is meant to start the patient on a process that, from the beginning, leads the patient to an odd feeling of not being taken seriously. If I, the patient, can't take the word "Guest Services" seriously, I am not likely to expect much from them.

My husband and I have spoken to "Guest Services" several times. The response was of a "cordial" nature. But did "Guest Services" appear to affect a really sincere response? No, the response appears like a conversation that has not gone beyond the narrow field of those working on the complaint. It is like being in Mobius strip. The actors are never really agents of serious change. They wind up as they started out, dissatisfied and alone. The real problem is not addressed. The people in risk management have arranged it that way. They are happy because they know that dragging things out is a win. It eventually drags things beyond the statute of limitations. Is that a way to treat your "guests"? I am interested in changing things. The statute of limitations has run out a long time ago. And the hospital doesn't even know how little risk there is in improving patient care if they could only break out of that endless loop.


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