If you were rating urgent and elder care in Minnesota based on stories in Friday’s Star Tribune, you’d be looking to move to another state.
The front page story Help Came Too Late in the ER for Stroke Victim, sheds new light on the story of Raymond Newmaster, a 62 year-old man from White Bear Lake, who presented at a local Emergency Room with “difficult to identify” symptoms, which quickly deteriorated into a full blown stroke. A report released by Minnesota Department of Health confirmed that after waiting 90 minutes for care, Mr. Newmaster slipped into a coma and died 4 days later.
Now, this is (hopefully) an isolated incident, but it doesn’t get much better for those who make it to a ripe-r old age.
In western Minnesota, a nursing home aide has been accused of abusing her elderly charges. At least two women in two separate incidents were identified. This “caregiver” threatened one of the women with jail where she would be raped. Yeah…I know. The nursing home aide denied all the charges, but sufficient evidence was found to fire her from the home last June.
Now the fun part. Remember the unallotment-o-rama from earlier this summer? The one where the current administration cut billions out of programs in order to cover our collective hinies for another couple of years? Well get this. The unallotments are cutting the number of beds at nursing homes. They are combining homes without significantly increasing the number of employees at those homes. Which means less oversight for the overworked staff, less care for the residents, and administrators with nowhere to turn.
Now to emergency rooms. And all the services that are being cut, such as dental care, and care for the poor, will send more people to the ER for care, while cutting money to hospitals. Which means more overworked people in admitting. Which means more people could slip through the cracks while seriously ill and treatable conditions become fatal.
I know it’s easy to blame the individuals who were directly involved in these incidents, but imagine 1 in every nursing home or emergency room in Minnesota. Now you’re getting an idea of what it’s going to look like when unallotments take effect next year. Overworked, overstressed people make more mistakes. Life altering mistakes. No one would ever dare excuse what happened in these two individual cases. The facts of these cases does in no way show that overwork or stress had any bearing on these incidents, however it’s pretty easy to assume more mistakes will be made considering the upcoming lack of resources we are bracing for.
I assume that the current administration is assuming that they will no longer be in the state of Minnesota when they or their loved ones need either emergency care or elder care. Perhaps they think that because of any current plans to leave the state, there is no reason to think about the quality of life for their current constituency. Perhaps it’s time for Minnesota to start bracing for the inevitable trauma these unallotments will cause in a matter of months.
You know, if it’s this bad when I hit my golden years, I’m gonna look at securing myself a nice place on an ice floe. It sounds like a much better way to go…
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