From time to time, I hear from folks, sometimes even extended family members, that when you are ill you need to go to a major tertiary care hospital, aka a "real" hospital. Never mind that you are insulting the hell out of me as the CEO of medium-sized health system in rural Maryland; but quite honestly, it really isn't necessary.
I will agree that if you have a rare illness or need to have an uncommon surgery or if your child has a serious illness, a tertiary care center or teaching hospital may certainly be a better option. However, before you feel that it is necessary to transport mom or dad to one of those "real" hospitals consider the following experience.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of those so called "real" hospitals, an urban teaching hospital (not in Maryland), and it was, in a word, FILTHY. I was amazed that in today's environment that such places exist. It has to be an infection control nightmare, especially on a Trauma Unit. The section of the hospital that I visited was relatively new, but not well maintained. There was absolutely no attention to detail. Clutter in narrow hallways, bugs in light fixtures, dirty air returns, stained ceiling tiles, stained floors in patient rooms that could have been removed with the swipe of a mop, dirty hallways and elevators, finish molding off of the walls and laying on the floor, bags of garbage being transported by hand through hallways and list goes on. Not to mention the staff who could have been friendlier as you walked through the hallways.
The care that was being provided to the patient I was visiting was very good, the nurses were well trained and friendly and the physicians seemed to be on top of their game. However, my concern was infection based on the types of patients who were being cared for on that particular unit.
Every time that I visit another hospital, I try to take something away from the visit. For this visit, I will be hardwiring rounding into every executive, director and manager's work life at WMHS. Not only will we be interacting with patients and staff, but we will be continuing to assess the facility to ensure that it is clean and free of disrepair. We will also ensure that the care that is being delivered to our patients is appropriate, safe and effective.