Do More with Less? Nurse Says That’s Nonsense!
The need for a pulse-ox device becomes extreme in the hospital when a patient who had been stable suddenly gasps for breath and begins to turn blue.
Some machines cost a couple hundred dollars, but the cheapest retail for around $20.
When this nurse worked at a teaching hospital in the UPMC system in Pittsburgh, her hospital floor usually had two or three of these devices. Although nurses begged for more, they were always told the money wasn’t in the budget, despite their hospital system’s obvious wealth (operating revenues of $14 billion in the first nine months of 2018).
This is the paradox of modern health care. The clinical space where patient care occurs operates on a model of scarcity, while the back office of CEOs, pharmaceutical companies and large hospital systems functions in a world of plenty.