First of all, I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, I do have an opinion on the facility based on my past and recent visits thereto. Secondly, if you find yourself at Erlanger for anything other than welcoming a brand new baby or something else that’s happily miraculous, you’ve either done something stupid (me); somebody else did and you’re paying the price, or, God gave somebody you love an urgent reason to be there. Either way, visiting Erlanger for fun is not on anybody’s bucket list.
Having said that, I can report that I had the opportunity to visit Erlanger on many occasions between the years 1993 and 2004.
It was during that time that if you looked at my wife in the slightest funny way, she got pregnant. She did this four times- one was a twofer. When people stupidly and constantly asked “Hey boy, don’t you’ns know where them babies come from?” I began to seriously wonder. Regardless, combined I guess I got to spend the night at Erlanger for about ten days to two weeks during that period. It was different then.
Although I believe we received excellent healthcare, the place felt like Alcatraz or something. Nobody was happy and nobody wanted to be there. That mindset translated to me wanting to do whatever it took to get the heck outta there. I don’t recall if that was the period of major money blood flow but I do know they weren’t making a lot of money then.
Fast forward to the summer of 2015, June 13, 2015 to be exact and two years after Erlanger regime change, when an “event” occurred that could very easily have changed everything. I stood over the bed of my bro who’d had a brain explosion that afternoon and his whole body was sick blue. The odds were horrendously against any return to normalcy and we were warned to be ready for any and everything.
But I didn’t know who Dr. Blaze was and I had no idea that if you have a major brain injury and can get to Erlanger in time, it’s one of the best places to be on the entire planet. Seriously! I don’t recall who the other docs were but, Lord, we are sooo blessed. I am blown away at what could, really should, have been. They saved his life and he’s 100% now. It’s a real-life miracle and I get teary eyed in my sappy just beyond mid-life years.
And, like I said, I have my personal experiences as well. They include several son’s run-ins with sharp, affixed, objects that result in lots of blood and guts and stitches, as well as extremely professional corrective surgery. Then, about three months ago, I tried to swallow a giant piece of General Tso without a lot of thought going to to chewing. Don’t do that. It got stuck, big time, and nothing was going anywhere but right back up. It wasn’t exactly an emergency, I could breathe and all and it wasn’t all that painful but it also wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy. You know? It scares you when your body says it wants some water now that it’s ten o’clock at night but you ain’t been able to get any down since lunch.
I got to the ER and I was met by this kind old guy who had a soothing way about him and he led me in. I don’t know, there’s just this safe feeling I get when a confident, older black person is trying to help me. It puts me at ease. This is the front line. From there, it was clean smiles and lots of effort to make me happy. These folks want to be there and you can tell. I think it comes from the top down.
Remember, I don’t know what I am talking about and I am opining from a street customer’s point of view. It just seems to me, though, that if the front line is this good and you can suffer a major, major life threatening "event," somebody is pointing the boat in the right direction. Do I care if Erlanger is making money now? Not at all. They’re earning it.
Good for them.