I’m running back and forth to the Alexandria hospital’s Emergency Room today (don’t ask why). It’s been at least 6 months since the last unpleasant visit, and something new has been added in the check-in area. It is a large sign warning that “aggressive, threatening or inappropriate conduct or language” will not be tolerated, and may result in refusals to offer treatment.
It was immediately evident why the hospital felt such a threat was necessary. The place was a disaster. It was obviously understaffed, and the staff members that were there were rude, distracted, slow and harried. I watched a 90-year old woman stand at the check-in window as the woman behind it left without explanation abandoning the potential patient who was literally whimpering as the minutes ticked by. “At least there’s no emergency,” I said to the angry lady. She was not amused.
As with so many other places in which professional, timely service is expected and once, before the pandemic gave them an excuse to go with skeleton staffing, was delivered, the ER was lowering its standards and telling people that they could like it or lump it, but they had better not complain or express frustration.
And life in the USA gets just a little bit shittier.