Glenn Beck: Put the 'Care' Back in Health Care

Glenn Beck's hospital experience has made him a health-care advocate.

ByABC News via logo

Jan. 8, 2008 — -- Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck returned to the airwaves Monday night with a stern message for the health-care industry, after a recent routine outpatient procedure turned into a medical nightmare and had a severe impact on his mental state.

Beck went in for hemorrhoid surgery and experienced breathing problems while he was at the outpatient facility. His doctors put him on a drug cocktail to ease his pain.

"I had the best doctors," Beck said on "Good Morning America" today. "I had problem with medications."

The doctors warned Beck he only had two options.

"You've got a choice: more pain or more drugs," Beck said his doctors told him. At the time Beck wasn't aware of all the medications he was ingesting.

"I had a drug in me that was 80 times stronger than morphine," he said.

The cocktail had an impact on Beck's mental state.

"I had been convinced that life wasn't going to change. It was just not worth living. It was scary place," he said.

Every time Beck shut his eyes, haunting, horror-movielike images plagued him.

"It's the only time in my life that could have come out of the movie' Saw' — the things coming out of my head, much drug induced with the medication that they had me on in the hospital," a bedridden Beck said on video posted on his Web site. "I had one of the darker moments of my life."

"I was full-fledged suicidal," Beck added. "If they would have come into that room with a handgun. … I would have taken the handgun and ended it all."

Beck's wife, Tania, said she could hear in her husband's voice something was awry when she called home one day to check up on him.

"I could just hear it in his voice that something wasn't right," she said. "He was in and out of sleep a lot just because of all the medication."

In a matter of days, Beck's pain intensified so much, his wife rushed him to a hospital overnight, where Beck said he was shocked to see the lack of understanding hospital employees had for him and his wife.

"When we got to the ER there was such a lack of compassion. I've never seen anything like it," Beck said. "

Tania carried her husband and held him up as they waited for help, Beck said. Two nurses briefly came out and spoke to the couple. Then an exacerbated triage nurse greeted the two, Beck added.

"He never even made eye contact with me," Beck said.

Finally another nurse, who noticed Tania carrying her spouse, rushed to the couple and asked them whether they needed help.

"I started to cry not because I needed help, but because somebody had compassion for my wife," Beck said.

He added his wife was there to help him get through the difficult time, but worries about those, like the elderly, who go in alone and have no outside support.

Somebody needs to be a strong advocate for the patients, he said.

"People connecting with people, let's emphasize the word care in health care."