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Stroger patients sick of this treatment

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by Elwin Denard Trammell I
Letter to the Editor

Recently, my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been going to the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, formerly Cook County Hospital, for the last six months. On June 21, she had an appointment for 8 a.m., arrived at 7 and was finally seen at 2:30 p.m. This is the norm.

The doctor prescribed her some pills for pain, and we went to the Stroger pharmacy and waited 15 minutes in the wrong line, then one hour in the correct line, just to drop off the prescription and to be advised that the medication would be ready on Friday. On Friday we called the Stroger pharmacy to make sure the prescription was ready and were hung up on 10 different times. On July 6 at 7:15 a.m. we went to the Stroger pharmacy and stood in line until 4:30 p.m. just to pick up the pain medication. The Hispanic couple in front of us stood in line those nine-plus hours just to be told that their medicine was not ready and were threatened with arrest when they complained.

People waiting in line who left to use the restroom were often threatened with arrest for disorderly conduct or kicked to the end of the line. Patients were being verbally abused by a few of the staff that they questioned about the service, and two employees who were pushing the mail-order pharmacy refill program stood by and watched as several patients entered the wrong line or butted in the lines, and they lollygagged with each other instead of doing their jobs.

I am a patient person and appreciate the medical care provided by Stroger, but the service, level of care, employee apathy and waiting time is just ridiculous, even for indigent patients. There are several doctors, nurses and staff who take pride in their work and it shows, but it appears that the majority of the staff just doesn't care, and they prove it by their actions.

I have a simple suggestion that may solve this problem: Instead of paying millions of dollars in health care benefits for Stroger employees, require the staff that works at Stroger to receive their medical care at Stroger: to wait in those same long lines. If it's good enough for the citizens of Cook County, it's good enough for them. President John Stroger's name is already on the deteriorated forest preserve entry signs. He should take his name off of that building because it's a disgrace to his legacy and what he will always be remembered for.

Elwin Denard Trammell I,

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