Hospitalist – Does your hospital have your family doctor follow you in the hospital or the new “Hospitalists”?

When our doctor’s office sent out a notice that from now on they would not see us when we were hospitalized due to the hospital requiring them to use hospitalists, I was not happy.  I had to do some research into exactly what a hospitalist was and what the whole idea behind it was.

When looking it up, here is the description I found:  Hospitalists are physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their activities include patient care, teaching, research, and leadership related to Hospital Medicine.

I did not want a stranger taking care of me, especially if it was serious enough that I was in the hospital.  I wanted a doctor who knew my history and would talk with me about what was going on and what would be the best treatment for me.  How could a stranger do that?

Would a ‘hospitalist’ have that connection with me that my doctor has? Would they spend time with me, explain things to me? I had doubts.

I even went so far as to change doctor’s offices so that I could be with a practice that did not go along with this new practice.

Unfortunately, our hospital has bought out almost every doctor’s office in our town so I had no choice but to accept it.

However, after thinking it through and living through a dangerous bowel perforation which required weeks in the hospital, I have come to the conclusion that ‘hospitalists’ are not a bad thing.

If your doctor is called to the hospital in the night to care for a critical patient and spends most of the night fighting to save their life, how exhausted are they going to be the next day? Will that mean that the care his patients get that day is not the best it could be? And, what if he gets called back that night? This could be a never ending battle which would not be good for the patients or the doctor?

The bottom line is that the ‘hospitalists’ have your files so they can be up to date with all the important information so it is not likely they will miss anything that is vital for your health. They are able to come to your room for consultation day or night as that is their only job.

They can get in touch with your doctor in case there are any questions.

The only negative I can see is that if you are in the hospital for over three or four days, you will then get a different ‘hospitalist’ as they have to have down time. I think our local hospital has 6 ‘hospitalists’ that cycle through. Unfortunately, I saw all of them of during my visit.

So, bottom line:

You are not seeing your doctor but your are seeing a doctor who is not exhausted and will see you for at least 3 – 4 days. That doctor can be in contact with your doctor at any time if needed. The ‘hospitalist’ can order any tests or meds needed immediately without having to wait while a nurse tries to get through to your doctor causing delays in your care.  I think it is a good practice.

Sometimes you have to admit when you are wrong.

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