Great Doctors Are No Better
Than The Staff
Who Surround Them
I doubt anyone includes hospitals in their top ten list of most desirable places to visit but whether by accident or pre-planning, it is a visit everyone makes, probably more than once.
Not counting my birthday, I’ve been in the hospital six times myself and I’m neither sickly nor accident prone. Hospital visits happen quite normally. It’s inevitable so it only makes sense to know your hospitals before you go.
That isn’t a choice we usually make but maybe it should be.
When looking for good medical care, most begin by asking folks to recommend doctors. It’s not a bad plan but that It isn’t the best strategy.
GP’s and specialists are usually attached to a hospital. If you need hospital care, it will be done in whichever hospital the doctor is contracted with. Once you’ve picked your doctor, you’re locked in which means choosing a doctor is choosing a hospital. They come together as a package so you might ask about hospitals as well as doctors when investigating.
After experience with a few different hospitals, I now ask for doctors who have excellent reviews and who work in hospitals with the same reputation. A doctor, any doctor, can be great but their performance is no better than the staff who surround him or her and hospitals, like doctors, aren’t all equal.
One procedure, even a minor procedure, involves many people and processes. All you need is one weak link and you have a formula for undesirable outcomes.
When weak links are apparent, it is scary to watch. And you’re witnessing the whole thing except when you’re out.
Tale of two hospitals
I’ve used two hospitals over the past year. One, Umhlanga Rocks Hospital, I’ve been in three different times. The other, Gateway Private Hospital, I visited just a few days ago for vascular surgery and what a difference. The experience at Gateway gave me some interesting insights and spurred me to write this comparison.
The two hospitals are so close geographically you could throw a stone from one and almost hit the other. But geography is the only metric in which they are close.
Gateway is relatively new so in the early days, Umhlanga was the closest hospital for folks in our area. It made logistical sense to go there.
The differences between the two institutions are numerous and they diverge significantly as the following comparisons will show. All these observations are based on personal experience. I’ve been in both hospitals. My wife has been in both hospitals. I know others who have been in both hospitals and there’s consensus. One is stellar, the other not so much! [Read more…]