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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Be Kind to the hospital staff!

(Shutterstock image)

Having a child in the hospital can really rock your world. I should know - my kids were hospitalized 12 times when they were younger (including 2 times in ICU when my son almost died.)

It seems like my kids were ALWAYS sick when they were little. They would wake up with a runny nose and I would think, "Oh we go again!" Their runny nose would quickly turn into a nasty cough that required many breathing treatments with the nebulizer.

 And of course, the kids would always get worse at night! After carefully watching them for hours, there would come a point where we knew we were in over our heads and needed medical help. By then, we were sleep deprived parents driving one of the kids to the Emergency Department while Fabulous Neighbor stayed at home with the other kids.

(You can learn the warning signs of "When to Go to the ER if Your Child Has Asthma" from Nemour's hospital.)  

I have a hard time when I don't get enough sleep and I am very worried about my child not breathing well.

But, I was always kind to the hospital staff. After all, they are there to help us! 

Many families are scared and take it out on the hospital staff, yelling at them, being rude, etc.

A new study from The New York Times called "What Happens When Parents Are Rude in the Hospital" is a real eye - opener!

According to the article, if you are rude to the hospital staff, it can affect how your child is treated. And cause the hospital staff to make more mistakes. 

In the article, they had a "simulated crisis scenario" in a NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) with rude "parents" (actors) worried about their baby (a plastic life like baby).  When the parent actors said something rude or unpleasant to the medical staff, they found:

"But even such mild unpleasantness was enough to affect doctors’ and nurses’ medical skills. Individual performance and teamwork deteriorated to the point where diagnostic skills, procedural skills and team communication were impaired and medical errors were more likely, compared to control scenarios in which the mother would just say something general about being worried. The team’s ability to perform in critical medical situations with sick babies was affected for the rest of the day, the findings suggest."

Woah! That's the last thing I want is for someone to make mistakes while they are caring for my child in the hospital! These doctors, nurses, respiratory therapist and CNA's are part of my team! I want to their help and I want to work with them. Part of being a team means treating everyone well and with respect. 

It's okay to disagree. I know the pattern my children follow with their asthma, and I know when they are getting worse. I have disagreed a few times with doctors who weren't listening to me. I would try to tell them that my son with severe asthma has a habit of "dropping" his oxygen levels - FAST! 

When the doctor came skidding into my son's room in the ER with wide eyes and a look of shock on his face, I would politely say, "This is what I trying to tell you would happen."  

Advocate for your child. You know your children better than anyone else and what typically happens with their asthma. As part of the team, you can KINDLY share that with the hospital staff. Be a good team player so you can all work together to make help your child get better. (Even if you are scared, worried, and have a horrible headache from lack of sleep.) 

Together, you can do great things for your child!

And remember the line from the live action Cinderella movie, "Have Courage and Be Kind." 


  1. I feel for them!! I worked retail in an affluent neighborhood, not quite the same but people can be rude. There are plently of good people thohgh

    1. Yes, it seems like no matter where you go, people can be rude. What's the point? We all have tough days and you never know what someone else is going through.

      I try to remember the first rule they taught me in Kindergarten, BE NICE! :)