Friday, April 24, 2009

Observe and Report

I feel sorry for most security guards. They don't get paid well, they have to wear funny uniforms and people shit on them. Plus they are never going to be police officers.

On the other hand, they for the most part work indoors, there is no lifting, they get to make people's lives less pleasant and they get to wear a uniform. The pay is not great but no-one is lining up to employ the typical security guard type.

Which brings me to my latest brush with hospital security.

We have hospital ID cards which we are supposed to wear all the time. These cards also enable us to get into the doctor's parking lot. At night we need them to get into the hospital thru the ER.

I have never gotten into the habit of wearing a hospital ID. I like to leave mine in my car so that I will be able to get into the parking lot when I need to. But then I usually walk or bike to work which means that my hospital ID is sitting in my car at home or wherever my wife has gone with my car. When I have to go to the hospital after hours, it is because I am on call and I always drive. This is how I have lived my life for several years.

For various reasons my hospital ID left its safe home in my car ; my wife using my car to drive to work, having to get into the hospital afterhours etc, etc. The result was that my hospital ID disappeared.

That is why a couple of weeks ago I had to head over to the parking office to pick up a new ID. The parking office is normally run by a nice English lady who is a huge Who fan judging by the photos on her bulletin board. She wasn't there that day but 2 security guards were. Now one of course could have been on his break and just wanted to keep the other one company but I did wonder why there needed to be two there. I explained that I needed a new ID. The alpha guard told me it would be $10.00. Just to jerk his chain, I pointed out that that I had just finished paying $800 to park for the year (remember I walk or ride most of the time but I need to park when I am on call). He said that the ID wasn't for parking (I guess that's why I had to go to the parking office to get it). Needing to establish his alpha male status in the room, he lectured me on why I hadn't reported my hospital ID missing immediately on noticing it was missing so they could deactivate it. Sure like all kinds on wrongdoers are just waiting to use my hospital ID to get into the hospital.

Anyway he made a new ID (using the picture taken over 10 years ago) and asked for $10. I whipped out my Visa and he tried to run it through the machine and of course couldn't get the machine to work. Major loss of face! I had about $100 in cash in my wallet but after the little lecture I wasn't about to let him off the hook and said, "I guess this pass is on the house" and left to room with my new pass.

Now while I do feel sorry for the individual security guard with his low pay and ill-fitting uniform I have a fair bit of contempt for the whole security apparatus in the hospital. The past twenty years have seen major shrinkage in hospital personnel and we are trying to do more with fewer bodies. The one exception is security whose numbers in most hospitals have exploded. But does this make us more safe? Despite all these individuals in uniform hospitals are more and more closed off. Rooms are locked that weren't locked before. To get into the emergency from INSIDE the hospital requires ID. Over a year ago I posted about a stalker that got into the OR . The thing was; the CofE had a lot of security around, sociopaths know how to circumvent security.

I remember years ago when you had a confused patient, a "special" nurse was brought in to keep the patient company. Often the family paid extra for this or it was covered thru their extended medical. Frequently the nurse was provided because that was the right thing to do. This of course was expensive; one on one nursing usually getting paid overtime. Nowadays a security guard sits with the patient. The first time I saw this I was astounded. Now this is cost effective. Someone who is barely getting minimum wage vs nurse getting overtime. Imagine however grandpas first glimpse of lucidity is the sight of someone wearing a uniform. The securitization of medicine has gone further. In Kamloops BC a confused patient was actually tasered.

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