Monday, January 3, 2011

A Visit to Ocean View Medical Center

When a RL flu bug spoiled my plans for a great SL New Year’s Eve, I had plenty of time to think about SL medicine. I knew a lot of hospitals exist here, but I had never gone to one. I usually try to visit more fun and exotic places. But on Sunday morning, while I was still coughing and sniffling but feeling good enough to visit in-world, I decided to look at the health care options available here.

Some SL hospitals specialize in maternity or a specific time period while others, like Ann Meyers Medical Center, are affiliated with RL hospitals. I chose to visit Ocean View Medical Center, located at Tender Heart (160, 204, 22), because it sounded pleasant. I didn’t know anything else about it, which isn’t too different from RL where the choice (if there is one) is usually based on location.

Ocean View Medical Center is approximately 3 months old, modern, and currently has a staff of about 10 people. Sunday morning was very quiet, not unlike a RL ER room. I was the only patient, and Dr. Geena Inglewood was the physician on duty.

Ocean View’s lobby has a number of informative signs about the services they provide. Many of the notecards emphasize that they are a RP hospital and not really a medical facility. The notecards advise residents who are experiencing a RL illness to contact a RL professional. I had to wonder how many people might try to get medical advice here in SL either due to RL costs or other issues like privacy or time constraints.

One of the interesting services provided at Ocean View is medical insurance, including family coverage for up to 4 residents. For those of us who are uninsured, however, payment for services is due upfront. At Ocean View an ER/urgent care visit is $200L.

While I was reading the information, Dr. Inglewood came to see if I needed assistance. A resident since 2008, she is very professional and knowledgeable. In RL she has worked as a nurse assistant and midwife. Although RL medical experience isn’t necessary to work here, the ability to empathize and communicate with residents is essential. Inglewood said working at Ocean View is very much like working at a RL hospital. Ocean View treats a lot of SL children, who need everything from school shots to broken bones mended. The maternity ward is also very busy.

This SL hospital is staffed like any other hospital. There are positions for receptionists, nurses, physicians, dentists, orderlies, lab techs, and medical director. Each position has different duties and requirements. Applications and information are available in the lobby or by contacting the hospital Chief of Staff, Caramel Luminos

After the formalities of paying the fee were completed, I followed Dr. Inglewood into a treatment room. She washed her hands thoroughly. Then she took my medical history, temperature and blood pressure, and asked about my symptoms. Even when faced with the challenges of treating a foxette, Dr. Inglewood was professional and never broke out of her role as the treating physician. The lab work, which was included in the ER charge, showed that I had strep throat. But I am happy to report that after receiving treatment and medicine at Ocean View, I have totally recovered.

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