HOSPITAL SHOOTING: Underscores Consumers’ Anxiety
Although Tuesday's shooting at West Anaheim Medical Center by a man upset over the medical care his mother had received there was "shocking," many "doctors have come to expect hostility from patients and family members in a world of managed-care medicine and inadequate insurance coverage," the Los Angeles Times reports. For some patients, the boom in managed care has translated into shorter hospital stays, more difficulty in getting appointments and less personalized attention. The resulting frustrations usually materialize in the form of complaints via e-mail and phone, said Jamie Court of Consumers for Quality Care. He receives about 40 complaints per week from "annoyed patients." But Court explains that if patients' aggravations are "not dealt with systematically, [it] can lead to inappropriate explosions and social alienation." Court predicted that Tuesday's shooting of three unarmed hospital workers, will not "be an isolated instance." Anaheim Memorial Medical Center's Dr. Stephen Groth said, "Rightly or wrongly, there is a great deal of pent-up anger on the part of patients ... who feel they are being jerked around." Some in the health care system are taking action to alleviate the situation. In an effort to stop "the dehumanization of medicine," medical schools are increasing the importance of doctor-patient communication, which they hope will help lead to the practice of "compassionate medicine" (Warren, 9/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.