Time for a rant.
When you call a hospital's main line these days, while you're waiting to be connected to the department you want, they don't play muzak anymore; what you hear is instead some testimonial or advertisement about the wonderful greatness of the hospital you've called. At Memorial Hospital we offer the highest quality care, the latest fancy dancy machine/robot...blah blah blah. For a while, my hospital was touting the miracle of the DaVinci Robot on its pre-recorded hold message. I think every hospital in the country that invested in the Da Vinci has that one. The last couple of weeks, however, I've heard messages that sort of stunned me.
The first one was a pronouncement that my hospital now is being covered by "highly trained pediatric surgical specialists to provide the highest quality of care for your children." Pediatric surgeons from a certain monolithic medical conglomerate are now covering ER calls at my hospital. And I ask myself: why? Prior to this development, all pediatric surgical cases went to the general surgeon on call. Basically this meant that we did a lot of lap appendectomies and drained soft tissue abscesses and took out the occasional gallbladder in an obese 17 year old. You know, bread and butter surgical stuff. How exactly does a pediatric surgeon add anything to the mix? Now don't get me wrong I can appreciate what a pediatric surgeon can do. But my hospital doesn't even have a NICU or a PICU. We just don't have the ancillary capabilities to take care of kids with congenital diaphragmatic hernias or pyloric stenosis or malrotation cases. It just doesn't make any sense from a medical perspective. From a marketing perspective, though, it makes all the sense in the world. Now you can go to the community hospital when your kid has appendicitis and a specialist will be available to remove it. How about that? I mean I get it. I just think it's misleading and disingenuous.
The other hold message was one proclaiming our designation as a level II trauma center, but the way it was phrased gave me pause. The voice intoned-- "this is the 2nd highest ranking a trauma center can attain." What the hell does that mean? Is this some sort of BCS system? Are we ranked 2nd in the AP and 3rd in the coach's poll? It's absurd. It isn't a ranking. It's just a way to communicate the level of trauma care a hospital is able to provide. Level one trauma centers have attending trauma surgeons in-house at all times. As a result we can quickly funnel most major traumatic injuries (gunshot wounds, complex pelvic fractures, etc.) to the appropriate facilities.
Anyway, I just hate the way marketing has infiltrated the practice of medicine in such a way that it obfuscates the true meanings of words and concepts.