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Warning: Medical Rants

Cut for the peace and quiet of people who don't like reading medical rants.


There is something seriously trasked with the general practitioners in this town.

One of my elderly friends, whom I've known since I came here, recently had a cancer scare that turned out to be a nutritional deficiency. How long did it take the GP to get the results of the cancer screen? About a week. How long before the friend found out? A month. My friend had to call in to find out - and to add insult to injury, the reply was: "aren't you taking the supplements I prescribed"? Pardon my Francais, mais, double-u tee eff?

"I could have been well on my way to having the problem treated by now, without the extra three weeks of delay," my friend complained. Gah. Time for the tub of idiot proofing. Slather, dry, repeat.



Some of you know that my parents have both had operations in the last five years. Well, this morning my dad went to his GP and was told that one of his tests indicated that, as a precaution, he needed to schedule a medical procedure.1 It turns out, though, that this procedure would obviate a bunch of screening tests. Did the GP cancel them? Noooo, the patient had to. Or rather, the patient whose wife is a medical technologist with 5 years' experience as a registered nurse and 20 as a hematologist.

The tub again, s'il vous plait!

Disclaimer: I should add that my dad's specialist (who performed the previous surgery) is fine. That's when he's actually consulted on things, of course. What is this, polling-driven health maintenance?



The same GP, after three years, didn't order a hemaglobin A1C test for my mom. Of course, she went and asked his nurse for one... and was informed that he didn't know she was diabetic. :sigh: Riggs...

1 Details are given in the Other Place, just so I don't forget about them myself.


Slather, slather,
Banazir

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
thanatos_kalos
Jul. 21st, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
The sad thing? I've seen worse.
banazir
Jul. 21st, 2004 04:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I believe it
... this is just a layperson's view, and an individual one at that.
But it's a lot of less-than-competence in a less-than-large place in a less-than-long span of time.

I'm wishing for celli's Ctrl-Alt-Smite about now.

Care to talk about what you have seen?

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
Jul. 21st, 2004 05:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
let's see...4 cc of morphine instead of 4 mg (10 mg/cc) given. 4 MDs and an ER staff who futz around instead of fixing an ET tube. "Super-Ventricular Tachycardia". others that I can't think of in my exhaustion...
banazir
Jul. 21st, 2004 06:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
let's see...4 cc of morphine instead of 4 mg (10 mg/cc) given.
Auugh!
Was that a sublethal dose?

4 MDs and an ER staff who futz around instead of fixing an ET tube.
:nods:

"Super-Ventricular Tachycardia". others that I can't think of in my exhaustion...
Hm?
The hyphenation?
Or did I miss something?

Now go get some rest!
Sleep. Good.

--
Banazir
sui_degeneris
Jul. 21st, 2004 08:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
I suspect that the correct term is "Supraventricular Tachycardia", and that the misnaming was done by someone who should have known the correct name.

But that's just a guess.

Well, your tales just go to confirm what I've suspected. You can't trust the medical professionals to be on top of everything about your health. You have to take responsibility for a lot of it. And that means being a pest about having tests done, and about finding out the results, if need be. And it means having an advocate, someone who will be a pest on your behalf if you are ill enough not to look into things on your own.

thanatos_kalos
Jul. 22nd, 2004 08:04 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
the guess is correct. And it was said by the asshole paramedic trainer who by and large wreckwed my career. Supraventricular tachycardia and Ventricular tachycardia are also treated very differently, and we were looking at a very obvious v-tach.

and the 40 mg morphine wasn't lethal, b/c the pt was still in pain (it has to do with how morphine works.)
banazir
Jul. 23rd, 2004 11:31 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
the guess is correct. And it was said by the asshole paramedic trainer who by and large wreckwed my career.
Gah...
Karma does sometimes work in these sorta cases, now.
Not that you'll have time in med school to even look up hear the sad tale of the FT's failure. :-)
You keep at it, y'heah?

Supraventricular tachycardia and Ventricular tachycardia are also treated very differently, and we were looking at a very obvious v-tach.
:nod: So this person actually thought of it as "super-v-tach" as in a higher-severity v-tach? :shake:

and the 40 mg morphine wasn't lethal, b/c the pt was still in pain (it has to do with how morphine works.)
Yeep. Lucky break, but I wouldn't bet on it not being repeated...
Ugh.

--
Banazir
banazir
Jul. 23rd, 2004 11:33 am (UTC)
Advocacy
All true.

And, sadly enough, I see similar syndromes in education and hear of related woes in social work and human services (especially child care).

Please be on the lookout for a more thought-out post on "advocacy" when my brain comes back from the shop.

--
Banazir
yodge
Jul. 21st, 2004 11:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, I believe it
let's see...4 cc of morphine instead of 4 mg (10 mg/cc) given.
Auugh! Was that a sublethal dose?

There was a time when my great-granmother was admitted into the hospital for something or other, and then they thought she was dying... but it just turned out to be too much morphine. It was horrifying at the time, but it's now one of the those anecdotes that gets told over and over at family gatherings. Ha!

-yoj
banazir
Jul. 22nd, 2004 01:24 am (UTC)
That which does knot trask me makes me teuncier
There was a time when my great-granmother was admitted into the hospital for something or other, and then they thought she was dying... but it just turned out to be too much morphine.
... and then there was the guy in my family who was turned in to the provincial constable in Shandong and executed for being an opium addict. Not a direct ancestor, but I know better than to try any psychotropically addictive drug. Other than caffeine, that is.

On the plus side, I have no alcoholic tendencies.
I'll drink it when the social situation calls for it, even enjoy a glass of wine, a mug of ale, or a shot of single malt, but I don't go raiding the liquor cabinet otherwise. My friends are always marvelling at how it's the exact same since the last time they visited a year ago. I just break out the shot glasses.

It was horrifying at the time, but it's now one of the those anecdotes that gets told over and over at family gatherings. Ha!
Someday, we will laugh at my addiction to not sleeping, too.

--
Banazir
yodge
Jul. 22nd, 2004 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: That which does knot trask me makes me teuncier
You're *addicted* to knot sleeping? Hrmm!

Do yew get depressed when you're well-rested and get happy once you're blinking adn bloodshot?

Oooh, thassa goond name for a band: The Bloodshot Blinkers...

-yoj
banazir
Jul. 22nd, 2004 03:15 am (UTC)
Addicted to Insomnia
You're *addicted* to knot sleeping? Hrmm!
Yesh.
Wlel, to caffeine, mostly, but laso to the feeling of taxing my own melatonin produnktion to the limit.

SPIKE: I'm in love with you.
BUFFY: You're in love with pain.


Do yew get depressed when you're well-rested and get happy once you're blinking adn bloodshot?
Yee. No, rilly!

Oooh, thassa goond name for a band: The Bloodshot Blinkers...
Hey, I'd listen to it.

--
Banazir
masaga
Jul. 21st, 2004 09:43 pm (UTC)
Inspiration from other's failure
If nothing else, this incident (among hundreds) should inspire all of us interested in medical expert systems to work our butts off in the next couple of decades. I'd rather be diagnosed and treated by a machine I helped program than an inexperienced med student any day.

-Masaga
banazir
Jul. 22nd, 2004 01:26 am (UTC)
Fascinating
An interesting twist of opinion!

Have I told you the story of the differential diagnosis system ONCOCIN, which came out of Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project (HPP), the one that produced MYCIN?

--
Banazir
scionofgrace
Jul. 23rd, 2004 11:52 am (UTC)
My mom still can't get over my last visit to the emergency room, after I fell off my bike. My face and left arm were covered in blood and they didn't clean my wounds! My mom had to ask them for a damp towel! Lucky for them none of the cuts were deep. And then there's the matter of x-raying my left elbow when it was the shoulder that was fractured. And then they thought it was a tissue tear so I had to go for an MRI. And THEN the orthopedic doctor thought to do an x-ray on the proper joint.

Always helpful to have a former medical professional in the family, isn't it? My mom was a nurse once.
banazir
Jul. 24th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
My mom still can't get over my last visit to the emergency room, after I fell off my bike. My face and left arm were covered in blood and they didn't clean my wounds! My mom had to ask them for a damp towel!
Yeep. That's terrible!
Glad to know you're OK now.

And then there's the matter of x-raying my left elbow when it was the shoulder that was fractured. And then they thought it was a tissue tear so I had to go for an MRI. And THEN the orthopedic doctor thought to do an x-ray on the proper joint.
Was that the same time?
MRIs take a lot longer than I thought (50+ minutes for a back scan!) On television they show only about 15-20 seconds of them, and I'd never seen one up close until I went to Michigan at the beginning of May. :-P

Always helpful to have a former medical professional in the family, isn't it? My mom was a nurse once.
Yep. Well, until they get really uptight about sanitation. :-D

--
Banazir
scionofgrace
Jul. 24th, 2004 12:54 pm (UTC)
Was that the same time?
The elbow x-ray was done while I was in the ER. I went to a doctor a week later because my arm was giving me a lot of trouble. So two weeks after the crash I had the MRI done (it took 30 minutes), and then there was a week for results, and then I went to the orthopedic specialist, and he thought of the final x-ray. Treatment was a sling, a cold-pack, and physical therapy.

Every time we got a bill for that ER visit (it took months to sort out the insurance), I'd read the part that said "x-ray: left elbow" and think, "Man, if you'd just gone six inches higher!"
banazir
Jul. 24th, 2004 03:41 pm (UTC)
Yeep
What a nuisance.
Still glad you weren't hurt worse by the fall.

Grats to your friend, BTW!

--
Banazir
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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