Monday, 18 April 2011

New Jersey Hospital Ratings

I went to the hairdresser (finally) and completely forgot to bring a book, something I never do. I was bent out of shape - it takes about 45 minutes for the dye to soak in, which is all downtime - and I usually don't care to join the aimless twitters of the other customers. Ever notice that? It's usually women in there, and they just yak, yak, yak about mindless things. Or their children, which is where I totally lose interest instead of merely being bored. So I read.

However, without a book, I had to begin weeding through the proffered magazines. Most were perfectly dreadful - Redbook, Home [whatever], Cosmopolitan (I remember my mother read that incessantly, and I never could get into it. It's a terribly stupid publication), etc. And then I came across Inside Jersey, which I might normally have bypassed, but emblazoned on the cover is the phrase "TOP HOSPITALS". Okay! This I want to read.

It's a huge article, and then it breaks down into top rated hospitals (more than 350 beds) and top rated (under 350 beds). Then it broke it down further into categories:

Doctors Surveys
Top hospitals overall
Top breast cancer treatment
Top prostate cancer treatment
Top pediatric treatment
Top coronary surgery
Top hip & knee surgery
Top heart failure treatment
Top stroke treatment
Top high-risk pregnancy treatment
Top neurological disorder treatment

Patient surveys (post-release)
Top rated hospitals overall
Top room & bathroom clean rated hospitals
Top hospitals with doctors who always communicated well
Top hospitals with registered nurses who always communicated well

That is a comprehensive survey. The problem I have with it was that the doctors did most of the rating. Not exactly the best barometer. It's understandable, but they might have wanted to put in a section of surveys by EMTs/Paramedics.

I would have not rated St. Barnabas as number 9 under "Top room & bathroom clean rated hospitals" (and that is 9 out of 10, not exactly a stellar rating) - we've had major complaints when we have brought in patients. The room was disgusting - food remains all over, bed not made with messy sheets on it, just awful. And when we found the nurse for the ER, she dished out a boatload of venomous comments and was slow as hell in having someone come and clean the room. It isn't enough that we are out of service for an hour when we have to hike our cookies and patient to St. Barnabas (who loves to tell us they are on divert because they don't want - anymore patients as opposed to actually being overloaded - and oh, little tip: ERs can't be on divert for overall patients, only specific areas), but then we are abused by the staff because they are behind in cleaning. Let me be clear: THAT IS NOT OUR JOB.

We need to be released as soon as possible. Our job is simple: get the patient to the hospital alive. Sometimes we can't manage that, but that only happens a tiny percentage of the time. Mostly the patients are not all that emergent. But regardless, we can't guarantee a back-up crew to take calls when we are out and we cannot ditch the current patient for another until we transfer care to the hospital or obtain a sign off. So we need to get our butts out of the hospitals as fast as possible.

St Barnabas could care less.

I rate Mo'town the highest for everything except doctors communicating well. That is a bit of torture. St Clares Denville is OK. Mountainside is immaculate and Hackensack is great for hip & knee surgery and also immaculate. They also were great communicators. Overlook is not a great hospital, but I've only been there as a patient. I hate St. Joe's in Wayne (formerly Wayne General) and Chilton. They so badly mishandled my mother that I was pissed off all the time she was at both hospitals. (Bob hates Chilton, too. He won't take anyone there.) Mo'town improved dramatically after I yelled at the idiot that put her on a sugar drip for an upcoming test. (You don't ever put a diabetic patient on a sugar drip!)

(The idiot was a doctor, but he really did take it well - after all, her chart has "Diabetic" written all over it.)

I've been to Mo'town so many times as both patient and EMT that it is beyond count. We go to St. Clares more often, but I'm not crazy about religious hospitals (and I know a few things that I won't post that convinced me I never want to go as a patient). Luis went there for something and his room had a crucifix... BBBRRRRR.

I'm delighted that Morristown (or as we call it, Mo'town) is the highest rated hospital overall. I agree completely. Number 2 is Hackensack University Medical Center and 3 is Valley Hospital. I haven't been to Valley but I have heard all great things about them. St. Barnabas was rated 6 but that is too nice. UMDNJ is 10.

Ah, well. Time for bed.

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