Discrimination in Health Care

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Reflection and Professional Growth Journal
As a resident of downtown and a registered nurse, I now feel an individual does not have to venture across the world into a war torn, displaced third world community to see human disparity as it is evident only footsteps away. To say the least, my experience at Streetworks has been absolutely incredible. It has been a great eye opening experience that I believe would be unforgettable to any individual fortunate enough to have such an opportunity. Significant Issue

From the very first day at Streetworks, a prominent issue that has emerged within many client interactions is the discrimination present in health care institutions. Many clients have identified negative experiences present in emergency rooms based on feelings of discrimination and unfair treatment. It is an unfortunate and surprising realization for me as I am a firm believer in social justice and equality. The most detailed and profound example I had encountered was with a particular homeless male client I had met on the Streetworks van. On an initial assessment, the condition of the client’s legs warranted an emergency room visit. The client’s legs were edematous, red in color, shiny in appearance with multiple open and purulent abscesses. He explained to us that he was injecting substances through his lower leg veins and both legs had gotten increasingly tight and painful over the last twenty four hours. The outreach worker and I attempted to convince the client to seek medical attention. The client stated he refused to go to an emergency room. He went on to explain his last encounter at an emergency room. He stated that while an emergency room physician was examining his legs, he told the physician that he was hepatitis C positive. According to the client, the physician immediately drew back from examining, quickly wrote a prescription for antibiotics and threw the paper at the client. The client went on to explain the physician alerted him that he...
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