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Blue Ivy Carter was born among the lavish extravagance that could only be the product of the second richest celebrity couple in the world, parents Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z (Shawn) Carter. Her arrival in Lennox Hill Hospital was enshrouded by partitions and restrictions in the neonatal unit.
There were covered maternity windows, and the security cameras were reportedly taped over. Some parents who were present on that same night are angry, because they were restricted access from their newborn babies as a result of the extra security measures. A man was separated from his wife and daughter for three hours, for reasons unknown to them.
Even the State Health Department was interested in the accounts of disruption to all of the other hospital patients. The spokeswoman for Lennox Hill, Ann Silverman, said the hospital received “no formal complaint” about security measures. She stated that, “The security plan was designed not to limit access to patient care areas.”
According to accounts, one guard went to far as to tell concerned parents that the extra security in the maternity ward was due to hazardous materials. The special treatment given to Blue Ivy was not singular to her parents, nor to Lennox Hill Hospital. Rather, executive suites are popping up all over the country, in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Baltimore, among others.
The services that accompany these accommodations can include gourmet food, butlers, and in the case of Blue and parents, four flat screens in the delivery room. According to the New York Times, health care specialists say this is part of an international competition for wealthy patients, who have no problem with shelling out the money for these services. The idea in part of the hospitals is that this money will trickle down through the system an benefit the ‘regular’ patients.
As we witness the amount of growing amenities for those who are able to pay for them, the government is scaling back hospital reimbursement, in an attempt to streamline the health care system, and make it more equal, as well as affordable.
The same hospitals with special accommodations have crowded emergency rooms filled with long wait times and uncertainty. According to the Times, many New York hospital rooms are still at double occupancy, even as single occupancy is becoming the national standard. The extra space is optimal for infection control, as well as for quicker recovery time. The higher standard, though, appears to be reserved for those who can afford to pay for it.
Wealth can also serve as a target for fund-raising within a hospital. In a presentation posted online, titled “Grateful Patient Basics,” by a company called Blackbaud, fundraisers are urged to send hospital admissions lists to the development center in order to determine a patient’s wealth.
They are urged to do so shortly within admission to the hospital, preferably within hours. Hospitals are encouraged to make haste with a potential donor in their midst, with more visits from hospital staff, as well as special efforts to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
This would indicate that for those who are uninterested in becoming donors, wealth can also be a crutch in the healthcare industry. Although they may be made to feel more welcome during the hospital stay, it is not out of a gesture of selfless kindness. They too are placed in a position of disadvantage, albeit a different one, as someone who has to wait for hours before they are even called to triage, uncertain when they too will feel some measure of relief.
There is an unquestionable gap in the way patients are treated in hospitals. Those who can, pay for hotel accommodations in an institution where space is limited and precious. Their money is welcome, as is the possibility of future donations.
All others must languish in the emergency room, until a space is made in a double-occupancy hospital room.