Update: Erin Vaught

[Trigger warning for transphobia and medical care horror stories]

Muncie Star Press: Ball Memorial Hospital will train staff in LGBT awareness.

You [TW: transphobia] may recall Erin Vaught, the trans woman who was denied health care at an Indiana hospital despite the fact that she had "coughed [up] almost a cup of blood." The Muncie hospital has just announced that all employees will undergo the sensitivity training that is obviously needed.

I'm still left to wonder what happened to the employees in question. Speaking from experience, I'll argue that there are two aspects to this type of injustice: 1) dangerously substandard medical care that 2) is substantially different than medical care given to members of other groups. Yes, the treatment that Vaught received was discriminatory, but leaving that aside for the moment, it clearly showed that several employees at said hospital are unfit to provide medical care. Unable to figure out what to do with a person who's coughing up blood? Fail.

My family's own experience last year shows a similar bifurcation. Based on our observations over several visits to one of our local hospitals, we feel that the care we received was discriminatory. However, our complaints include:

Patient denied call button (which incidentally, led to my partner laying in bed screaming for help; the ER staff largely ignored said screams)

Patient denied pain medication, including that prescribed by the same hospital for the surgery that lead to the ER visit

Patient denied ice pack

Patient not helped in and out of bed, not given assistance in leaving hospital (e.g., we're done here, you know where the door is)

Yes, we have other complaints including the nasty demeanor of the staff and the ejection of me from the room, but you'll note that the list above has fuck all to do with discrimination, and everything to do with a failure to follow the most basic standards of medical care. This is stuff that our nursing friends tell us is fundamental. I also imagine it's the sort of thing that accrediting bodies look at. :ahem:

FWIW, we received a letter from the hospital administration assuring us that they take our concerns very seriously, that they have core values, and that they're totally looking into it. Yawn. I'm not so sure that this means that they're looking to hire competent staff.

We've pretty much decided not to pursue the matter further, but this kind of garbage pisses me off. Yes, you need to work on cultural sensitivity, but you also need to stop being a sucky hospital. Any word on that?

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