The Feb. 3 article “Steward is already a force for change” is missing part of one of its subheadlines. “Cutting costs with tough management, innovation” needs the additional words “and disrespect for patient dignity.”
Robert Weisman quotes a nurse at Morton Hospital who says that, because there are not enough nurses, nurses’ assistants, and security guards at night, post-anesthetic and psychiatric patients who are at high risk are put in the hallways to be closer to the nursing stations. Rather than being an innovation, this is a throwback to the past, where patients were treated as objects, not people.
If Steward Health Care System is the responsible health care provider it claims to be, it has an ethical obligation to refuse to accept patients whom it cannot treat humanely with minimum expectations of privacy and quality care. As the state licensing agency, the Department of Public Health should investigate, as should the accrediting agency.
Or does our worship of profit mean that hallway treatment is now an acceptable standard of care?