The Hidden Dirty Secrets Hospitals Don’t Want to Tell You

No one looks forward to a health crisis, but our insights and tips will help you get better medical care, cut hospital bill costs, and get out of the hospital alive.

We bet on (or against) you

“Hospital staffers have placed bets on patients. Guess the Blood Alcohol is a common game, where money (or drinks) changes hands. Others try to guess the injuries of a patient arriving via ambulance. Surgeons have been observed placing bets on outcomes of risky procedures.” —Alexandra Robbins, author of The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital.

We’ve seen it ALL

“We see crazy things. I had a patient run buck naked into the ER waiting room. A patient asked me out while I was holding a basin, catching his vomit. We pull bugs out of people’s ears regularly.” —An ER nurse in Dallas, Texas.

We’re not prepped for Ebola

“Hospitals say, ‘Don’t worry. We’re prepared for a serious disease like Ebola.’ But nurses on the front lines treating these patients are scratching their heads and thinking, We are not prepared at all. We are fighting to get the right equipment and training to take on these infectious diseases.” —Karen Higgins, RN, member, National Nurses United.

Hospitals are getting violent

“There is more violence than ever before. Nurses have been attacked, bitten, spit on, and choked. It’s partly because hospitals are no longer prescribing pain meds to addicts, and addicts can get very aggressive. It’s also because our mental health system is broken, so some of those people are coming into the hospital and acting out.” —John M. White, a hospital security consultant.

Hospitals cut chaplains to save money

“Spiritual care is not a profitable area for hospitals, so it gets cut. The vast majority don’t have enough chaplains, and some U.S. hospitals today don’t have chaplains at all.” —Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, a New York City-based nonprofit.

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