Why does it take so long to see a doctor?
What happened to the Danbury Hospital I knew and loved?
Seems like policies, scheduling and practices have changed along with the front entrance. The outdoor fountain entices you to enter the lobby, which looks more like a hotel than a hospital. Money well spent? Certainly if you’re just a guest, but what if you were a patient?
The decline I’ve experienced between Danbury Hospital and Western Connecticut Health Network disturbs me being that it affects my care as well as the care of others.
I was encouraged by staff in various departments to voice my opinion. Hearing one employee say they were now embarrassed to work at WCHN was just the nudge I needed. It also confirmed my fear that patients and staff alike are dissatisfied. My incentive is to make health care less complicated and smoother for patients.
Let me first say that if WCHN distributed flyer miles, I’d be a world traveler. My health situation is complicated so I’ve spent countless hours at Danbury Hospital and am currently racking up the hours at WCHN.
Making an appointment seems to be universal across departments. Four to six weeks wait. Begging and pleading for help, but there’s only so much the scheduler can do. They are all very sincere with apologies, but it’s out of their control. The changes are from the high management.
Someone in great discomfort shouldn’t have to wait a month to see a doctor. That’s only step one.
Next are the tests. Test times seem to be only half as bad. Whatever happened to squeezing in an urgent case? Having a physician not associated with WCHN places one at the end of the line.
Having a port-a-cather gives me the extra burden of making sure a nurse will be readily available to access it for certain tests. When I questioned a department why wasn’t a nurse on duty capable, the response once again was the higher management didn’t warrant it. Ironically the head of the department was happy to see me stir the waters a bit expressing maybe I could make the changes necessary where the staff could not. What? If the head of a department asks for a specialized nurse, even for one day a week, why would it even be questioned in such an enormous hospital with hundreds of nurses? I’m wondering now if anything has changed — I’ll see next time I’m there.
Each doctor now has a specialty and never the two should cross. This entails more appointments and worse, wasted precious time. I remember a time when appointments for another doctor or test were made in my presence by my doctor which was set for the next day at the latest. I miss that person. That special doctor/patient trust and bond is now a memory. Now I listen to nonsense recordings of — how important you are to us, please hold, and the like, all the while adding my own comments to the recording.
To sum it up, the responses to my questions are consistent — it comes from the upper management. After how many overheard whispers is a rumor then considered true? It’s time to start listening to those recorded messages and acting upon that voice. It’s time to put the patient first again — please.
This letter might help or hinder my own care but in the end, some things just need to be spoken.
Marlene Cioffoletti is a resident of Southbury.