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Craig B. Garner, Founder, Garner Health Law Corporation

TikTok Does Not Like Your Hospital

By Craig B. Garner
Garner Health Law Corporation

See all this Month's Articles

Original Publish Date: March 12, 2024

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” Sir Winston Churchill

In a medical emergency, avoid social media algorithms. Similarly, neither dating nor gambling applications have much to offer. For the prospective hospital patient old enough to drive but not quite eligible for Medicare, TBBH, the next several hours may be savage. In matters of life and death, the preeminent institution most equipped to save your life may also be incredibly uncomfortable. By better understanding the modern day hospital, coupled with a modicum of self-awareness, recovery is possible.

The Disconnect Between Hospitals and Gen X, Y and Z

Even with advances in medical science over the past few decades, the foundation upon which hospitals exist began with the Baby Boomers. In 1946 Congress passed the Hospital Survey and Construction Act (commonly known as the Hill-Burton Act), a federal law responsible for constructing nearly 40% of hospitals and expanded access throughout the nation over the following decades. This is the blueprint for the hospital institution upon which most individuals rely in times of crisis. For those Gen X, Y and Z patients, however, IFYP, and probably no combination of racemic amphetamine, dextroamphetamine or levoamphetamine will help.

Even with technological advances in hematology analyzers, radiological modalities (still no Tricorder), and cutting edge procedures such as keyhole surgery which take the sus out of brain surgery, the hospital experience may wreak havoc in the delicate mind of an Influencer. No matter how epic the external upgrade, successful outcomes at the hospital still rely upon a team of health care practitioners who practice these mystic arts IRL only. Said differently, the speed at which medical treatment flows in a hospital setting may be the functional equivalent of dial-up internet’s predecessor (Usenet). At the same time, it is highly unlikely your health care practitioner will text you “TL;DR” upon receipt of your test results.

What Hospitals Must Understand About Patients

Modern day hospital patients redefine fragile. Patients often arrive with a plethora of salient information collected from Google University and the College of Web M.D., all of which may be readily dismissed by any nurse or physician. The scope of such disillusionment can compare to the eventual realization that Santa Clause may not be real, and he does not travel across our Flat Earth each year delivering Christmas presents to all good boys and girls. To add insult to injury, this realization occurs over a period of hours, not minutes, which can lead to catastrophic loss of posts that may never go viral, would-be followers that are never found, and an Influencer that no longer influences.

Health care practitioners around the nation must incorporate into their bedside manner enhanced sensitivity to this patient demographic. The life hacks adopted by Gen X, Y and Z maximize efficiencies to afford more time spent on gaming, SMO, UGC, UI and crypto. Hospital stays shut this process down, something rarely experienced by these patients who have yet to attend a Beyoncé concert. Like it or not, understand it or not, welcome to 2024, and this is the reality with which health care must contend. The interaction between patient and provider ultimately shapes the UX. Make no mistake, IANAD nor an Influencer, but with a health care system edging closer to collapse each day, it may not be the worst idea to know your new audience.

What Patients Must Understand About Hospitals

Hospitals are not the Husks of Fortnite. The average age of a physician is about 54 years old (early Gen X), but more important, most spend 10-12 years preparing for this profession. While enduring more than a decade preparing for any profession may seem strange to those handing out cash to strangers while driving a Lambo, do not forget that your life may depend on these professionals.

It should also be noted that the order in which emergency departments admit patients depends on the patient’s degree of medical acuity and not the number of followers. Patients should also be mindful that hospital emergency departments are not named by chance. Patients with medical emergencies should present at the hospital, and for those without such severity of illness, other viable options exist. Finally, hospitals are no longer a pharmaceutical dispensary, and the patient seeking non-emergency recreational drugs is no better than the errant driver slowing traffic on the freeway to avoid missing a coveted offramp. Both examples unnecessary clog each respective infrastructure, not to mention upsetting those in the general vicinity.

Finally, the Internet cannot diagnose or cure you, a message anyone reading this should RT. Health care is part science and part art, a delicate combination that today at least AI has not yet mastered.

Why Emergency Departments Do Not Suck

If the emergency department landscape was not problematic before, the 2020 global pandemic created an almost insufferable experience. Lacking financial and human resources to accommodate the needs of an increased patient population presenting with medical and mental health concerns, it is almost impossible to predict what transpires inside the doors of any emergency department. Unfortunately, the variables which convene within these four walls often exist outside the control of those charged with the front line of protection.

While some emergency departments are less than ideal, in most instances the performance of emergency department clinical staff is exemplary. Responsible for all emergencies inside the hospital as well as its adjacent areas, no other individuals in this nation are more equipped to save the lives of those in physical and mental crisis. Few institutions exist as a universal beacon summoning all who require such services. Moreover, although no law obligates a patient in crisis to visit the nearest emergency department, federal and state law require emergency departments to screen all patients in determining the existence and/or level of an emergency. This is sacrosanct within health care and a fundamental tenet upon which hospitals thrive.

Navigating the Next Medical Emergency

The emergency department, albeit imperfect at times, should not be forsaken. Would-be future patients can take certain measures before the next medical emergency. Take a few moments to learn about those emergency departments near home and work, as well as the level of services offered. Not all emergency departments offer the same medical care, and unless your ride to the hospital is in the back of an ambulance, a little bit of non-clinical information can go a long way.

Health care may never fully extricate chaos from emergencies, but only through education and some meaningful thought can the overall hospital experience improve. Consider this a patient CTA, with an informal agreement to let medicine work its magic once inside the hospital. In this context, knowledge is truly power. In return, the hospital will not stop its patients from exploring online the true meaning of the designs on the one dollar bill.

Craig Garner is the founder of Garner Health Law Corporation, as well as a healthcare consultant specializing in issues pertaining to modern American healthcare. Craig is also an adjunct professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law. He can be reached at