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You’re a symptom, not a person

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Alternative health practitioners talk about understanding the ‘whole’ patient. But whether it’s down to a lack of time or the way disease is seen, doctors in emergency wards take a different approach. For them, patients are viewed only as symptoms, and not people, and are shunted around hospital departments as a production unit, a new study has found.

These attitudes have been seen in two emergency units in hospitals in Sweden-and like everywhere else, the pressure is always on to reduce waiting times, provide efficient care and keeping costs down, a researcher from the University of Gothenburg discovered.

Essentially, it’s down to time, or a lack of it, the researcher was told by one of the hospital managers. Medical measures come first, and there’s no time to explain to the patient why he or she is waiting.

The workload is also falling on too few shoulders, but the cost of training is prohibitive and so nurses don’t get the necessary qualifications they need in order to take on more of the burden.

(Source: University of Gothenburg website)

Article Topics: hospital, patient, Physician
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