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How things have changed!
November 15, 2010 - Jim Smith
It's been nearly 30 years since I had been in what is now called the Ohio State University Medical Center, which means it's been so many years that I got lost Sunday when my wife and I drove there to visit her ailing sister.
When I was a police reporter at the now-defunct Columbus Citizen-Journal, I knew how to get around in every hospital in Central Ohio and was on a first-name basis with every nursing supervisor from whom I would obtain information on victims of violent crimes and/or traffic crashes.
Times were different then. It was before federal laws that limit what information hospitals can release, even though many patients want their families and friends to know their condition. Granted, some of the conversations with head nurses were pretty dark, but then we dealt with pretty dark topics when it involved shooting, stabbing and traffic fatalities.
The conversations, many times, were "Hi Gail, it's Jim. Is he (she) going to live or die (the victims of a violent act)?" "He'll make it: call me back in an hour for more information," or "He's not going to make it; call me back in a couple of hours and I have the full name and cause of death."
The worst calls, though, were when it dealt with children. Those cases touched everyone and made it far more difficult for all those involved: police, medics, hospital personnel ... and reporters. I remember a multiple fatality accident on I-71 in downtown Columbus where a car was going the wrong way on the freeway at a high rate of speed and struck another vehicle head-on filled with kids in beggars night costumes. Five youngsters and at least one of the drivers, as I remember, died. That was one of the worst nights I ever had as a reporter!
OSU Hospital, as it was called back in the 1970s, was easy to get around and easy to get in and out of those many years ago. Such is not necessarily the case now. We had directions to the 12th Avenue parking garage because we were told it was the closest to the building where my sister-in-law was a patient. But once inside the building, we had to find Rhodes Hall through the maze of hallways and building connections. Three times we had to ask directions before we finally found the rest of the family in a waiting area near the room we were hunting.
Getting to the medical center still is pretty easy, but once there, look out, the "fun" begins on getting to the "hall' and room you are seeking. The only bright spot was how friendly everyone was when we out-of-towners asked directions.
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