Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Madness Of Modern Medicine...


Let me tell you a real life horror story.It's about my mother, who is in her 80's. Now, I must interject here that I know some retired and working nurses...and they are wonderful people. This little take is NOT directed toward any of them!

Yesterday, my mother went to the doctor's office around 9:00 in the morning as she wasn't feeling well. Three hours later, she got back to her house. When I went to check on her, she said that she had to go into the hospital because of a Staph infection, She was running a fever and had a headache, with achy joints....

I was to take her to the doctor's office again by 2:00 P.M. to pick up the paper work and then across the street to the hospital. In typical fashion, the doctor's office had her come in at 1:45 for a 2:00 appointment to pick up papers.

At 2:30, the papers were finally ready and we went to the hospital to get her checked in. They sent her from the main desk to another examination room to have her vital signs recorded. A Nurses Aid took her temp and another drew blood. About 3:15 we left the second examination room and finally went to a room!

Now keep in mind, all this time she had not been given anything for the headache or the fever, had not eaten lunch, had not even seen a nurse, much less a doctor! After she was in her room, another Aide came in and did the vitals again, and came up with a totally different set of blood pressure readings and temp. Of course, all the readings were being done by machines so that the patient never had to be touched by human hands!

Finally, about 4:15 a nurse showed up. She proceeded to take yet another set of vitals, came up with a completely new set of readings, and gave this poor old lady instructions on how to use the phone and the bed lift. Mom asked for something for the headache and the fever, and was told that no doctor had authorized any medications as of yet!

So there was my mother, finally in her bed, checked by three different people with three different machines, all with three different sets of vital signs, and no one authorized to give any relief from the pain or the illness! I left around 4:40 in the afternoon, disgusted with the so called "modern health care providers".

Just so you know their heart was in the right place, do you know what the first stop was inside the hospital? The Finance office! That's right...an elderly, sick old woman was first taken to the finance office to see if she was covered by enough insurance to get treated by modern, inhuman, inaccurate medical machinery!!

There are very few examples of the humanity that should be there in that hospital. As far as I'm concerned, The medical profession has, for the most part, has lost touch with the individual and can only see the dollar signs! I would rank the private sector right along with the politicians as far as being worthy of nothing more than my contempt. I'm sure that there are those that really care, I just haven't seen them as of late

So today, I'm going to be working on getting my positive attitude back. Too much negativity yesterday and that spells trouble for me.

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee, and sit on the patio for a bit. Maybe you'll help me think positive thoughts!

27 comments:

molly said...

Just one of the reasons I left the nursing profession....sad days indeed when our patients become "clients" and we consider the dollar before their comfort & wellbeing:(

Rae said...

Jim,
I feel your frustration. In 35 years as an RN, I have witnessed this sort of situation many times.

It sounds like you got caught up in the shift change shuffle. Off going shift doesn't want to get involved in the new admission because they just want to go home and oncoming shift is too busy organizing stuff leftover from the previous shift.

The hours between 2:30 and 5:00 PM are typically the worst admission hours of any day.

The whole system is dysfunctional. It isn't designed for patient comfort, it is designed for hospital flow and operation, even the financial thing you describe.

As difficult as it may be, sometimes the only way around the system is to be emphatic and assertive. Request the nursing supervisor-not the floor charge nurse- the next one in command. I assure you will get a response.

Hospitals and supervisors love their patient satisfaction surveys. They don't want even one to be tarnished because it messes up their high percentage approval rating.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease so go high and let them know your dissatisfaction. Offer that you are going to have to write a letter of complaint or a bad satisfaction report and you will see results my friend.
Good Luck,
RAE

TEAM HALL said...

I'm really sorry to hear that Jim! Your poor ole Mom, in pain and not getting anything for it...that pisses me off! Boggles the mind, doesn't it? Everything around us is run as a "business"...no one matters! Very sad!!!
Hope your Mom gets better real soon!
Cath

Anonymous said...

I hear that. Had to spend some time in the hospital last year, due to a CHF diagnosis. I don't know which was worse, the vampires coming in at all hours of the day / night or the finance office making sure my insurance would cover my stay. I
ve heard that June is one of the worst times to check into a hospital, as hospital staff is being rotated with new graduates coming in and people assuming new duties. No idea if true, but it does sound entirely possbile

I hope your Mom is feeling much better - have a better day HJ.

Catman said...

Jim,

My prayers are with you and your mom. I hope she recovers, and soon! The hospital is the worst place to be when your immune system is compromised.

Anonymous said...

I know this will get a lot of pantie's in a wad,but it's a perfect example of why we need national health care.If we could eliminate the "for profit" motive,it would eliminate,or at least reduce,a lot of paperwork!Just like wall street,the ins executive's get monster bonus's for saying no to as much as possible!Leave the big money for doctor's and nurse's,not the corporate office!
Dean in az

Kyddryn said...

Oh, dear, Mister HermitJim...I AM sorry! I think it's so easy for good, caring, compassionate people to get worn down, chewed up, and spit out by the industry of medicine...

Regarding the finance office - insured or not, I always have two words for them: Hill-Burton. It's the act that mandates hospitals receiving public/Federal funds MUST treat a patient regardless of ability to pay.

Meanwhile, I hope your Mum heals swiftly and without complication, and is home soon.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Did it MY way said...

My prayer's are with you and your mom. Good luck, and may god bless.

2 Tramps said...

Hope your dear Mom is faring better today. Sounds like some of those folks need to role play being a patient rather than the caregiver.

When Tramp 1 had his first back surgery, I had to go to the finance office and write a check for the percentage not covered by insurance while they were prepping him for his operation! But the second surgery at another hospital was a totally different experience - much kinder.

Surprisingly, the hospital in the largest town near us had to close their emergency room yesterday to all but critical care due to an unusually high volume of cases. All others were being routed to another hospital in a smaller town 17 miles away. Makes you wonder about what it might be like if there were an actual disaster in this area...

JoJo said...

OK Mr. Hermit,
First my parayers are with your mom, hope she gets well soon.
Next I will try not to go off to badly on this sub. since you really don't want anymore negativity today. When I took my 92yr old father to the hospital with breathing difficulties 3 weeks ago we spent 11 1/2 hrs in the er. And the next day the finance lady was there wanting 5days stay worth of money she called his co pay I told her she was getting 3days and no more unless he was still there, Since she couldn't or wouldn't answer me about the return of the money if he wasn't there that long. And no a nurse wouldn't even fan you with a piece of paper if she doesn't have a Dr. order. Ok I will not go on for your sake.:)
And I made some lousy coffe this morning so can I please have some of yours?
JoJo

TEAM HALL said...

To Dean in AZ:
Sorry Jim, I'm going to hijack your blog for a moment...
Nice thought that national health care would eliminate the problems but I'm Canadian and I'll tell you it won't help! Jim's Mom would still be stuck in a hallway waiting for a bed/room and her meds if she was here! It goes deeper than that...our society has this "not my job" mentality! Nobody gives a crap about the next guy! Makes me so freakin mad!
Sorry Jim for overstepping...
I think I need another coffee...better skip the sugar this time! lol

YeOldFurt said...

HJ,
One thing I learned from my folks and that I practice: Raise a Stink!!
Tell those nurses aides to go fly a kite, you WILL have an RN or walk out. YOU WILL HAVE pain meds or prescribe em yourself!! RAISE A FUSS!! You do have the option to leave and tell em to stick the GD paperwork where the sun don't shine. Works for me anyway. People come out of the woodwork. (Also you get a rep as a "difficult" patient).
YeOldFurt

HermitJim said...

Hey Molly...
It is, it is indeed! I want to thank you for your service in the nursing field, and I want to thank you for stopping by today.


Hey Rae...
Good to see you. I figure it was something like that! What ever the reason, I was NOT a happy camper!

Sorry to go off this morning, but I'm glad yo could stop by...


Hey Cath...
That's the part that makes me angry. Not being willing to treat the patient as a person with an illness! Can yuou imagine "Sorry you don't feel well, but here is the TV remote and the phone!"?

What's wrong with these people? Hey, thanks for the visit...


Hey Anon...
I sure appreciate the visit this morning and the good wishes!


Hey Catman...
Right about that! I would pull her out in a heartbeat if she wasn't so ill.

Hey, I appreciate the kind thoughts this morning, buddy!


Hey Dean...
We have to do something to instill in the money grubbers some sense of propriety in dealing with people.

Sorry to be so hostile this morning, but when I saw the workings of "THE HOSPITAL" up close, I was furious! Time to put the patient back in "patient care".

Thanks for the visit!


Hey K...
Good to have you drop by and visit today! The kind words and positive thoughts mean a lot!

Thank you...


Hey Tony...
I appreciate that, my friend! I'm swo glad you could come by for a bit today!


Hey Tramp...
I'm afraid that we will see just how unreliable the medical structure is in a lot of places when the first real disaster comes to pass!

I'm so glad you could drop by for a visit...


Hey JoJo...
My special friend! Of course you can share my coffee and the patio this morning! Wouldn't be the same without you!

I do appreciate you taking the time away from Dad to come by for a visit, my lady! It means a lot!


Hey YOF...
I think they realized yesterday that I was beginning to get angry. I am on my way back to the hospita this morning, and I do hope that they have thier act together!

Thanks so much for coming by...

Mo said...

I have an number of similar experiences with our medical system - broken leg waiting in the E-room for hours without treatment, misdiagnoses, paying $60 for TWO Tylenol tablets!

My solution to fix the system isn't to nationalize it. Anyone who had to deal with the VA, Workman's Compensation, DMV, Building dept or any other government run service knows that if the private sector can screw it up the government will make it into a fiasco at many times the cost.

When I was a younger man working in the remote areas of Alaska there weren't doctors or hospitals for hundreds of miles. In those areas they had VERY capable Nurses that very much reminded me of the old fashion country doctor - including house calls. The fishing business is very dangerous and she treated everything from heart attacks and amputations to sea sickness and hemorrhoids. Contact with an actual doctor might be days away and reaching a hospital would require an airlift which meant you needed good weather (rare).

My proposal is make it legal for skilled nurses to work in communities/neighborhoods and give them a greater latitude to make medical decisions. We still need hospitals but I believe that a little competition and less unnecessary visits to them will reduce medical costs.

It is sad the best and most professonal medical care I've ever had was not in a doctors office or hospital

HermitJim said...

Hey Mo...
I couldn't agree with you more! I think I have more confidence in the nurses than the doctors anyway! They certainly are more caring, for the most part!

Hey, I appreciate you coming by today, Mo!

Felinae said...

Hi, Uncle Hermit,(I hope you don't mind me calling you that)

I am sorry to hear about your Mom being ill.

I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you get her home soon.

Please keep us updated when you get the chance.

Hugs~Felinae~

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
You can call me anything you want, Lady...with the exception of "late for dinner". Call me on time for that!

She is supposed to be in for another day or two...but she is feeling better and that's good news!

I sure appreciate you dropping in for a visit, my feline friend!

Felinae said...

Glad to hear she's feeling better, Uncle Hermit. :)

No worries, I would never call a man late for dinner. ;)

Will continue to keep you all in my thougts and prayers, my friend.

Have a good day!

Hugs~Felinae~

HermitJim said...

Hey Felina...
Glad to know you'call me for the vittles!

I do appreciate the good thoughts and the prayers. I'll pass them on to mom!

Thanks again...Mrs.F...

JoJo said...

Glad to hear your mom is feeling better. I will still keep her in my thoughts and prayers.
I also want to say that the nurses are not at fault for the way things are, it is the way they now run the hospitals. Sad, very sad.
As for us, things are not good. Dad now has pneumonia, and is on morphine to help him breath and keep him quiet and not struggle so hard to breath.
I may start smoking agian over this.
JoJo

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Sorry about your dad taking a turn for the worse. I know it has to be frustrating when there is nothing you can do.

You are right about it not being the fault of the nurses. Just the way things are, I guess.!

Thanks for checking back, Dear!

santu said...

HermitJim, you've just had a glimpse of the future of health care in the U.S.

Missi .... said...

Hi Jim

I too send my well wishes for your mum and hope that she comes out ok very soon.

It sure is frustrating to read about this kind of medical attention. I had a similar issue a few years back ... although I wasnt sick as such ... I had the back of my head split open from a nasty fall. I spent near 9 hours in the emergency department o a stretcher in the halls, I had 1 person check my vitals in that time, many walked by. Every time I asked someone for something to help ease the pain i had same response of the doctor hasnt authorised anything. Doctor? What bloody doctor!!! I had seen no doctor at ANY time... but an hour before they cleared me to leave they were authorised to put 4 staples in the back of my head (to I grumbled YAY I always wondered what being a piece of paper felt like) before they sent me off home .. oh with a script for some pain relief finally!!!

The one bonus here is at least we still have something of a public system left, and still the nurses are the ones at the raw end doing wonders with what they can, so the finance department isnt the first stop for us yet, although looking at the news today Im disappointed to see our government is planning to do away with what free health care is provided by medicare in favour of the user-pays system within 5 years apparently so it wont be long before it becomes our first stop if that happens Im sure.

Ive sent this post to our PM ... hope he is human enough to visit you, has a cuppa, a read and sees a good reason why not to take our country down that road.

Keep well my friend. My thoughts are with you and your mum.

xox-Missi-xox

HermitJim said...

Hey Santu...
I've had all that I care to. I'm ready for a good old fashioned country doctor!

Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to visit!


Hey Missi...
All the good wishes and thoughts are appreciated, my friend!

Good to see you around again!

Missi .... said...

Although I havent been very talkative mate its a very rare day that you are not one of the first people I share my coffee with when Im at the computer. My day just isnt complete without a Coffee with my favourite Hermit.

xox-Missi-xox

HermitJim said...

Hey Missi...
That's good to hear and that, my dear, is why we save you a seat on the patio every morning!

Wouldn't be the same without you!

Ginger said...

I am stumped for words. The treatment your Mother received is unacceptable and frustrating. This is exactly why I finally took my Mom into our home so I could control (be present) for every contact with the doctor, hospital, etc. She got decent medical care for several years from her regular doctor, but he began to prescribe more and more medications that it seemed he had not bothered to research if they worked together or had unacceptable side effects. This caused my Mom to have a much lower quality of life. It was maddening to have to research the reactions of one med to another myself. Ultimately, she ended up on just one or two meds and did quite well for a while. I think the doctor just got tired of hearing me yell at them. I hope your Mother is well now and above the fray. And I hope you have gotten past the anger and feelings of frustration, although I know it's not easy. I do want to note that the Houston Hospice group was wonderful to my Mom (and to me & family) and listened carefully to my medication and medical care concerns. If you ever find yourself needing to make this decision for Hospice (and I hope you don't), they are a good choice.