Access Denied: A few cases Too Many

A cartoon showing an anry patient storming into a doctor's office hangs on the wall of the receptionist's desk at UHS's after- hours urgent care unit.

"I'm know you had to sit in the waiting room for four hours Mr. Hardtrue," reads the caption. "That was your stress test."

But for many students, this cartoon would not be funny. While some of the 80 studentd interviewed in the past weeks griped about inadequate care, many more complained about access problems.

Whne Jose M. Hernandez- Pol '94 cut his finger to the bone at an engineering lab, he walked into the after hours urgent care unit expecting immediate service. But despite the fact that blood was dripping through his makeshift bandage, a nurse told him he would have to wait for an hour and a half.

"I left and took care of myself," Hernandez- Pol said. "I don't bother with UHS anymore. They are inefficient.


Hernandez- Pol now has a scar on that finger. He says the next time he needed care he went to Massachusetts General Hospital.

The nurses at afer hours urgent care told Ashraf S. Hegazy '96 that the doctor would be with him soon. Two hours later, Hegazy, who had a pain in his ankle went to the desk to see what was wrong.

"They had misplaced my (appointment) card," Hegazy says. "all these people kept coming and going in two hours. They finally found my card somewhere where it wasn't suppose to be."

the complaints are hardly limited to afterhours care. After James N. Miller '95 broke his collar bone, he wanted to see a doctor to follow- up the emergency room care.

"They told me it would take three weeks to see a real doctor," Miller said.

After two weeks, Miller's father, a doctor at Yale, told his son the waiting time was "ridiculous" and called UHS to complain. That day, Miller got a call from UHS saying he could have an appointment with a doctor as soon as he wanted. "That was an inordinate amount of time to wait," Miller says.

Mica Pollock '93 also tried to make an appointment when her eye began to burn for no reason. But nurses told her the next opening was several weeks later. They sent her away and told her to return if the pain increased.

By the time she went tot he emergency room, her eye had blurred over completly. "That night my eye was so inflamed that I couldn't see," Pollock says. "It felt like my eye was going to pop put."