A reader of Dr Gott's column is upset because her family medicine doctor no longer goes to the hospital and she asks Dr Gott, the notable newspaper doctor, for his opinion. In a nutshell, here's what Dr Gott says about hospitalists
- We are here to stay
- We are extremely qualified
Here is Dr Gott's hospitalist column. A reader sent me this article because a friend of hers who's mother (probably in her 80's or 90s) died at the hospital and she is suing the hospital for a bad outcome and is upset because her primary care physician was not allowed to come to the hospital. The reader wants her friend to know that hospitalists are an asset to the patient care experience. Most hospitals do not exclude physicians from admitting privileges. You can read here about the hospital admission process. If you have a medical license and clear the hospital credentialing process without any red flags, you can admit patients to a hospital. I just applied for credentials to a smaller hospital in Happy's state for possible moonlighting opportunities. The packet of papers was 36 pages long and required my signature in 14 different places.
You don't simply get to show up and admit patients to the hospital and start billing the Medicare National Bank. You have to earn admitting privileges and those privileges do not come easy. More than likely, the primary care doctor chose not to come to the hospital and instead chose to use hospitalists. We have our fair share of primary care physicians who cherry pick which patients they let the hospitalist see and which patients they admit on their own. Often, the high maintenance, highly complicated, highly time consuming patients with angry and emotional families get cared for by the hospitalist service and the quick and easy dehydration and orthopedic post operative consultation patients get followed by the primary care physician, if they still come to to the hospital at all.
All studies have shown that hospitalists provide the same, or better care with reduced length of stay and no increase in readmission rates. In fact, hospitalist programs are a driving force behind many hospital quality improvement initiatives. More than likely the bad outcome in this lady was because the patient had advanced age with multiple medical problems, bad protoplasm and ten chronic medical conditions. More than likely, the bad outcome was a matter of biological predetermination rather than medical negligence.
Sue the hospital. Sue the hospitalist. Let your lawyers scour the records. Let them look for negligence. More likely than not, they won't find any. It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to litigate, if it ever gets to that point. And in the end, short of cutting off the wrong leg, you will discover that 90 year old ladies die in the hospital because 90 year old ladies die in the hospital. Your pain is real. Your search for closure is probably misguided.