This has been an appalling week, but I’ll spare you the details. The final straw for me was when I phoned the hospital to find out how my suddenly-struck-down husband was, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: I’m phoning to find out how John Stott is.
Very Unfriendly Receptionist (after some scuffling): he’s being transferred to the ward.
Me: but how is he?
VUR: oh, I can’t tell you that.
Me: but I’m his wife!
VUR: I’m afraid I still can’t tell you that; it’s a matter of confidentiality.
Me: well is he okay?
VUR: I can’t tell you that, either.
Me (after more protestations): IS HE ALIVE?
Phew! But I’m seething. Confidentiality is all very well, but this is ridiculous. Would it be so unethical just to say someone is okay? Or to use hospital-speak (which I hate) comfortable? Apparently it would. In my day as a nurse, we always informed next of kin how a patient was. Not any more. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but there was no compassion or understanding. People in A&E departments are frightened and anxious, and so are their relatives. They deserve better than this.
(Btw he’s on the mend now, but we’ve had the week from hell. And it was his birthday!)