Archive for the ‘Electronic Medical Records’ Category

Abandoned...like a polar bear on an ice floe

This is me.

I’ve literally been abandoned by my last remaining health care providers.

This is exactly how I feel as another boot strikes the edge of my ice floe. I float out farther into the icy waters, towards a slow and certain demise.

Each of those boots belong to a health care provider – a staff member of a hospital – even a “Patient Advocate” at a world-famous hospital in Boston. Names will follow. I will not go silently into that good night. They will be decloaked. Stay tuned.

Who put me on the floe?  I was forced there by the medical “professionals” that refuse to be proactive. They can’t be bothered to pick up a phone and call a colleague to see if they can help me or even ask, perhaps, if they know someone who might.

They can’t be bothered to do a simple internet search to find out how to treat someone with my rare and complex conditions.

(I’ll even tell them where to look…Medscape, Mayo Clinic, NCBI, Vanderbilt University, Google Scholar.)

It takes seconds.

If I do that, I will be labeled and ostracized (remember the “Seinfeld” episode where that happened to Elaine Bennis?) and my fade-out into black be hastened by their turned backs.

They forget I’m intelligent. They forget I have medical background and medical training and decades of experience advocating for myself and my mother.

[How tragically sad it is when I think about how poorly she was treated. I am being treated just like she was, so she ended her suffering. She too was shoved onto an ice floe. And suffered for 9 years despite of everything i tried to do to help get her some “care.”]

These so-called experts don’t and won’t even pay attention to any of the recent FDA approvals for treatments that could help me.

They won’t pick up the phone and reach out to specialists in the area to dee if they are interested in helping me.

They mindlessly throw out referrals to random places that I have already been (they don’t bother to read my record – to learn about ME), They tell me to “learn to meditate” or “do yoga.”

I have. I did. I am unable to do so.

Then, they insult my counselor. They tell me to talk to her – or that I need to find a new one.

Read my file. (Oh no – that would take time! Doctors are far too important and busy to read a patient’s file. “Only 5 minutes” – “only 2 questions” – “what ONE condition do I want to talk about today?”

Learn about my medical conditions. Read my file. Care about me. Please. Someone just CARE.

Don’t treat me as if don’t matter, as if I am a waste product – isn’t the first line of that all important oath that you take, “First, do no harm?”

Well, your acts and omissions ARE doing harm. Wake up. Pay attention. Realize what you are doing.

Every time your shove me further out into the icy waters, away from you so you won’t have to deal with me, you hurt me. You hurt my husband.  You hurt human beings.

As in the excellent movie, “Gattaca,” I am reduced to the status of being an “in-valid.” One that is not worth the time to help; to waste resources on; to listen to; to treat. A lesser part of society. Disposable.

Shove my floe again. Go ahead. Perhaps you will get lucky and YOU will be the one to cause me to wither and die sooner and the you will not have to be bothered with another patients like me. You can spend your time treating sniffles and GERD and Type 2 Diabetics. Tell them to meditate their problems away and be mindful to help their conditions improve.

But one day, your inattention to patients like me will catch up to you. I promise.

I intend to be on that list of those that YOU ignored and let languish on our ice floes.

Any talents and contributions I had the ability to make to the world will vanish as my floe heads farther out to the horizon – out of sight, out of mind. Good riddance.

I will expose you for your acts and omissions –  that will be my last act. That will be my legacy.

TOO harsh?  Well, that is too bad. This is how I feel.

I have been kicked out of the human race, shoved out into the cold, icy world alone to slowly die. All the boots that have shoved my ice floe farther into the icy waters – my former PCPs, my PCP’s practice, my former orthopaedic surgeon, my anesthesiologist, my former autoimmune doctor, my former cardiologist – all have turned their backs on me and returned to their warm and spacious mansions and forgotten about me. I am just an insignificant blip in the world. After all, there are 7 billion others (and counting – God help us…) Why care about just one?  Especially another one over 50. The world belongs to GenX and the Millenials. Those of us that are Boomers, well, we are just wasting the resources that should be reserved for THEM. the sooner we perish, the better.

I am disposable and useless.

At no time in my life have I felt this hopeless and alone.

I have been forced to return to scouring the web to find any information about my chronic conditions and any doctors that may be interested in seeing a 51 yr old with 4 chronic issues and multiple drug resistance genes. No one is interested. Not a single doctor in the Boston area.

You would think I live in Antarctica. No. I live in Boston. Great medical care?  Cutting edge medical care? Bullshit. Not when I actually have to explain to a physician what an :Autonomic Nervous System dysfunction is, and I watch them blink-blink-blink with wide doe-like eyes during my explanation. Are they even listening to me? Or are they just thinking about buying another Berkin bag or the color of their next Bentley.

Angry, arrogant doctors not interested in listening to a patient with tangible and complex conditions? Yes. Boston is their Mecca.  Don’t believe the hype. Listen to the patients that suffer because of their omissions and arrogance.

I am a compliant patient  – but there reaches a point at which it should be (SHOULD be) apparent these “conservative” (seems to be the latest buzz word) treatments aren’t working. I think 17 years should be good enough. No matter how many times I repeat these “conservative” treatments, costing me thousands of dollars, I get no better. In fact, I often get worse. . But that doesn’t matter. The quicker  I get out of their office – out of their sight – the doctors feel as if they can justify their actions – they have done their job. (Yes, I see you looking at the clock and glancing at your watch every few moments. Thanks for the disrespect. If you would take the time to read my file, I wouldn’t have tor repeat myself very single time I see you. If you would communicate with specialists before you refer me, I wouldn’t be wasting their time, boring them with a life story they don’t want to hear.) HOW RUDE.

Thank you, dear physicians,  for hastening the arrival of another cadaver for the next entitled overachiever to pick apart and insult in their gross anatomy classes. 

 

Remember the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.?” Well, I’ve recently discovered that an “ounce of prevention” doesn’t exist anymore. Must be inflation. You must wait until you need the “pound of cure.” Like loaves of bread for $1.00 and gas for less than $2.00/gallon, it’s a thing of the past. (I will offer a qualifying statement – perhaps that is just what the experience is here in big-city teaching hospitals, where doctors wear multiple hats and patient care is often not a priority but a minimal portion of their daily responsibilities – or that’s what I was told by a doc that works at one of these big teaching hospitals in Boston.) Even if this is true, the text below describes with much disdain my current experiences.

I’ve been absent from the blog world for a while. Why? I’ve had several bad experiences recently with the medical community. These have made me take pause to re-evaluate if all this blogging is really worth the effort I put into it.  And I am mad as hell about what I’ve ben put through these past couple of months. There is no “hope” and “rainbows” and “support systems” to fix these problems – and please – don’t dare mention anything about unicorns – there are NO unicorns in medicine. Only zebras.

What I have learned?:

– Doctor-patient communication is NOT the major problem we all think it is. It is DOCTOR-DOCTOR communication. Most docs make a respectable attempts to communicate with their patients during the office visit. It’s AFTER the visit that everything goes down the tubes. For example, one would expect the specialist that a PCP sent a patient to see to at the very minimum, to follow-up with that PCP in some manner. So far, I’m 0-4 in that category. Even phone calls from my PCP’s office are ignored. Pathetic. So, I’ve spent money and time and received nothing in return.  That’s $35 per visit x 4. Plus mileage, train fares, parking costs, time off from work that my husband had to take to bring me to these appointments. And we get – BUPKUS.

Hey – all of you exalted specialists in those fancy teaching hospitals – please remember that patients can’t get an appointment to see you on their own –  their PCP has to refer a patient to see YOU. Don’t you think they are there for a real REASON?

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– Major teaching hospitals are touted as “the place” to see specialists because they “work together” and “do research” on unique cases. Well, I’m proof that unique cases get kicked to the curb and get ignored.

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– Doctors within the same practice groups don’t communicate or read what is in the charts on the patient they are seeing. I was degraded by a “new” doctor that quite obviously didn’t take the time to talk to my primary treating physician at this particular clinic, and did not even peek at my SIXTEEN years of history of my condition in their computer system. The 6 surgeries and 5 pages of every type of modality that I have tried over the past 16 years was simply ignored. Just more waste of time and money and mileage. Of course, no resolution, or offer of any solution was presented, other than – get this – “have you tried “healing touch?”

– I was told point-blank that my “disease process” was not active enough to be considered treatable. This is in spite of all kinds of abnormal test results, objective physical symptoms (and I take pictures to document them) and bringing my husband as a witness to my appointments to basically say ‘ “do something – she needs help!” So, I’ll come back when my disease process is so advanced, I’m close enough to death – perhaps then I’ll be interesting.

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– Not one single doctor has taken the initiative to look at all my symptoms and noticed that they ALL fit neatly into a neat package. They are all related in some way. Yet, each is so concerned with treating just the right pinky finger or the left side of the pituitary gland, I am left to get worse and worse and worse. – Thanks to Obamacare‘s EMR mandate – every single hospital I go to has completely different medical history on me. And, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to get this corrected. I have tried. Why?  Because the brilliant author of the ACA forgot to require reciprocity among hospitals’ EMRs…and completely closed up the ability for patients to correct mistakes they find in their health records. I got this info direct from the legal department of a VERY large hospital here in Massachusetts. Please don’t argue with me on this one – argue with them. I’ve been through hell and back with three different hospitals on this one. One of them has banned me from talking directly to the doctor I saw – I have to go through “Legal” – as THEY made an (honest to goodness) Federal case out of the fact that an incompetent tech they have employed at their hospital entered all of my meds, medical history and allergies incorrectly into their computer system, and silly me, I tried to have it corrected.  Bad Lori!! I just should let the hospital believe I’m on meds I’ve never been prescribed, not let them know I have some severe allergies to certain meds, and that I have some serious chronic health issues. How stupid of me. Thanks, Obama, for not letting patients be allowed to correct the mistakes that incompetent employees at hospitals make in their own medical records – and for making sure that was in your 2700 page book of rules, most of which have nothing to do with health care.

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So, what the heck is going on????

In my not-so-humble opinion???

The #1 problem: Doctors are NOT interested in communicating with EACH OTHER.

– They are willing to “play nice” with their patients during office visits (most do) – but beyond that, the paternalistic God complex still exists. (male or female docs can be afflicted with this – it is a term of art referring to the attitude that they think they are immensely better than others that did not attend medical school.)

– The strong belief that women are simply “attention-seeking” as they go from specialist to specialist looking for answers is a prevalent as ever.  Please, see my previous post, “Does Your Doctor Believe You?” for studies that evidence these pervasive and disgusting practices that continue to disparage patient after patient, causing more harm to each of them at every visit.

Will I continue to blog?

Is it worth it?

Does anyone care what is REALLY going on?

Your thoughts – I’d be interested to hear what others have experienced.

This will be a short blog entry.

Promise.

I just discovered two MAJOR hospitals – one of which I’m having an operation at in less than a month, has incredibly incorrect medical information about me in their computer system. How did I learn this? Open Notes. Now you know which major hospital i’m referring to. Incorrect history, medications listed I’ve never taken, incomplete medication allergy lists…
I m scared.
It’s not for lack of trying.
Everyone knows about my multi-page info printouts that contain all this info that I bring to visits. The same ones numerous docs have told me they think are “great” tell me I’m a “god patient” and “wish more patients would take such an active role in knowing their health history, medications and diagnoses.”
But what good does it do if this info never makes it into the EMRs?

The second hospital is in Worcester. A major teaching hospital – I gave my printout to the person takes with entering this info (according to the doctor) and not only couldn’t she read Englush, she dint know what”PRN” meant, nor what basic medications were. In the nail today, I received a summary if the “medical record” this huge and well-regarded center has on file about me.
I was sickened and infuriated. How many times do these people have to be handed computer-printed, legible information – and how difficult is it to scan/transfer this info into their systems? My PCPs network seems to have this down to a science (www.OneMedical.com, for those interested in a competent organization).

This so-called “Personal Medical Record” listed meds I’ve never taken, incorrectly spelled meds, meds that were the incorrect formulation or the wrong dosages…and, my medication allergies: INCOMPLETE – with the most important ones I list first on my printout – the ones that cause anaphylaxis – not even on the sheet. I guess they don’t care if I suddenly die from anaphylaxis on their watch.

I promptly wrote letters to the Patient Affairs offices of both hospitals. I enclosed the poor excuse for a “record” that the Worcester Hospital sent me, highlighted, noting all the errors and omissions.
I also quoted statistics from the IOM: 70% if medical errors are cased by improper treatment. 90% of those are preventable (a 2008 statistic). Also, medical errors are the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. (Another IOM statistic from 2013. (The Worcester hospital refuses to accept email – ill dry to flag down a carrier pigeon tomorrow….come on, get with the 21st century like the rest of the medical community!!)

What a warm and comforting feeling that gives me when I have surgery planned at one if these hospitals in a less month. Perhaps, If I had a death wish, it would.

This oddly follows in sync with an article published by Medscape recently (Oct 24, 2013) that asked doctors what they thought the top ten barriers were to the practice of medicine today. Guess what several referenced – technology. One doctor ( Henry R. Black, MD of NYU Langone) specifically mentioned the incongruence of EMRs – systems that were supposed to simplify and streamline patient care, allowing all doctors access to a patients test results and specialists’ reports. The problem? No practice or hospital uses the same EMRS, or EMRs that can interface!! What are we paying for?

This has become the number one problem in healthcare, hands down.
How can you even worry about doctor-patient communication when the doctor isn’t even looking at The correct information.

Discuss this with your doctors and quietly freak out…and PLEASE check your EMRs for accuracy! If mine are incorrect in 2 of the 5 major healthcare systems I deal with – I fear what may or may not exist in the other three.