The Customer is NEVER Right - A Nurse Practitioner's Perspective
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A Mistake in Identity/Intent

Another airline dissatisfied customer intended to take down an airline carrier when instead the airline may have been looking out for those without a voice. In The Customer is NEVER Right I mention that customers have no idea of the bigger picture when they complain. Here is a possible case in point. Possible, as I am not certain but a good probability based on my gut feeling which for the most part has been a pretty good indicator that something just isn't right. When reading this story from another point of view, mine instead of those who complained, I clearly saw a mistake in identity with good intent rather malice intent from the flight attendant. Mind you, I was reading the story as the complaining party described it. Yet, I could not see malice but rather a bigger picture for the greater good that was simply incorrect, which happens to ALL of us as none of us are perfect. However, that mistake was not malice and instead was intent to look after those without a voice.

Because human trafficking is such a horrible reality and because of the work I do it is constantly on my mind when interacting with others I decided to share my point of view with the parents of this story. However, I did not want to stick my nose in what was not my business either thus the thoughts of replying versus not replying lead to strife in my brain for a number of days. For me the bigger picture was more significant than the complaint. Thus, I sent the parents the reply below.

I understand your frustration and am on your side. My disclaimer, not that you asked for it, I need to provide or owe it to you or anyone, or to be apologetic. I am a frequent flier with United, however, I have no stocks, investment or financial interest with United. I wrote “The Customer is NEVER Right”, which is about customer service in healthcare but its premise crosses ALL industries—that being that customers are UNAWARE of the bigger picture of any industry they do business with. In the book, I coined three statements: 1. What others put in their mouth is NO business of mine—that covers every age, disability, ethnicity, gender, political ideology, sexual orientation/preference, race, and religion (those simply in alphabetical order without any other distinction between them). 2. I do not have white, black, red, or yellow friends nor friends that are bi, straight, or gay and no Jewish, Christian, or Muslim friends either as I ONLY have friends. Although I have few friends I DO NOT qualify or justify my friends by telling others I have black friends, gay friends, or Muslim friends. I simply have friends and their individualities are NO business of mine or anyone else’s. 3. When others tell me I DO NOT know them or anything about them my rehearsed answer is, “It DOES NOT matter who you WERE. What matters is who you ARE (behaving) this moment.”

Since reading your story I have struggled with reaching out to share with you as my intent is informative and NOT offensive. That said, you, like others, will either accept, reject or react what follows. I ask you to read ALL I have written to you in good faith before you chose any of the three. My intent is NOT to change your mind, as I said, I am on your side. My intent is to ask you to look at your experience from another point of view.

Like you might say, I agree, this is none of my business. That said, this incident lingers in my conscious thus I am sharing. Again, you will either accept, reject or react. I simply ask you read ALL I have written in good faith.

I work in healthcare and have done so, in some capacity or another, for over 30 years worked in emergency care. In the book, I compare healthcare to the airline industry in several ways. One of those comparison is that healthcare and the airline industry must deal with society’s worse at any given time and most definitely more than any of us want to. For the past decade, if not two decades, human trafficking has been on the forefront of our minds and what we do. For me, and I am sure for colleagues around the nation and around the planet as well, it is on our mind with every patient, every shift, every day, and even when away from work as human trafficking, around the world, has exploded. Maybe not in the hundreds of millions worldwide but one is too man. Not to mention, human trafficking is a $50-100 billion per year industry, yes, industry. I realize this has nothing to do with you, however, I ask you to bear with me.

As a healthcare worker, my greatest fear is NOT that I get the wrong diagnosis or even that I might cause injury and/or even death to a patient. My GREATEST fear is that I will discharge someone to their abuser. More than eighty percent of those rescued from human trafficking, children, boys or girls, adults, men or women, whether in sex, slavery, or servitude trafficking, 80% of them have said that during their captivity they sought medical attention. Of those, almost 100% of them for emergent, urgent, and/or pregnancy/delivery care. Because of that, I have made it a concern of mine, and I am sure colleagues around the nation and world as well, to seek training which helps us in identifying those held against their will. Despite ALL that training, I find it a challenge to identify those lives.

As if not enough, child and elderly abuse, whether physical, psychological, and/or sexual, is another MAJOR problem. Again, not in the hundreds of millions but even one is one too many. Overwhelmingly, the abusers are well known to the abused. This population as well frequents healthcare for emergent, urgent, and/or pregnancy/delivery care. Again, has nothing to do with you, however, I ask you to bear with me.

The airline industry also must deal with these same concerns of society’s worse and in likewise numbers, if not more, as flight attendants attend to 1,000’s, if NOT 10,000’s every month. Thus, their changes of crossing paths with someone being abused or held against their will is tenfold, if not more, than what I would see. One of many reasons I applaud flight attendants and why I would NOT want to be in their shoes, and I work in the emergency department. Especially if they are being second guessed by others or are second guessing themselves as to if they should have spoken up about a passenger.

Not to mention, those abused and/or held against their will are living among us and right under everyone’s noses.

Every year I see between 3,000-4,000+/- patients. Of those, I report 3-5 patients, child, boy or girls, adults, men or women, or elderly, men or women, to police as either someone being abused or an abuser. NEVER, do I follow up those cases. My rationalizing, 1. The fear of knowing that I saved someone from such a horrible existence would cause me to question, how many I missed? An overwhelming thought that would cause my mental health’s demise and that of my practice. 2. I would not want to second-guess myself because I caused an inconvenience to some, like yours or someone else’s inconvenience.

In the book, I mention several times I been inconvenienced by police for one reason or another. Although at that moment I am angered and frustrated with being delayed and inconvenienced once the dust settles and the drama is over I am grateful they were paying attention. Because if they get one LOW LIFE off the street, for whatever reason, that is one LOW LIFE removed from the equation of harming others, however that might be.

At airports, we are inconvenienced by TSA not for malice intent towards ANY one of us but for the greater good of preventing the FEW who will cause harm to innocent others. We are inconvenienced for the same reason when we go to museums, sporting or entertainment events, etc.. NOT to inconvenience the masses but to prevent the FEW who will harm innocence.

My specialty is NOT forensics, which are far and few in between. That said, in the emergency department I refer patients with cardiac problems to Cardiologist, those with gastrointestinal problems to Gastrologist, those with women problems to Gynecologist, those with mental problems to Psychiatrist, etc.. Thus, those needing forensics collection I refer to those agencies.

In the emergency department, have I inconvenience some? Absolutely! However, like the airline industry, our intent is NOT malice but instead to save JUST one from such a horrible existence. Imagine your child is kidnapped and goes missing for a decade before you are reunited thanks to a flight attendant. NOT a flight attendant who was attentive, we ALL are, BUT a flight attendant who DID NOT care he/she might have inconvenienced others.

Because of that, I ask, again, you might accept, dismiss or react, to step back, take a breath and see it from another point of view [of looking out for those without a voice] rather your point of view. Just my two sense [sic]. My only apology is that of my grammar and spelling as I took the time to write you rather sleep. Thank you for your time and attention. TheKnittedBrow (Twitter)

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