Sunday, September 19, 2010

My week at Duke University Medical Hospital

Against my better judgment and my gut, I was persuaded by two doctors that I respect very much. I agreed to be admitted through Duke Medical ED and (G*d help me) allow a Duke orthopedic surgeon to perform surgery on me.

The thought was that I had an infection. As such, I would need Duke Orthopedics and Duke Infectious Disease to work as a team. The surgeon boldly assured me that they would get it done because "that is what we do." I squarely told the man that my dad relied on Duke Orthopedics and Duke Infectious Disease to work together and they did not and my dad died in January 2010. I told the Duke Orthopedic Surgeon to "prove me wrong. Prove to me that the two departments can help me."

The Duke Orthopedic Surgeon was unable to prove me wrong.

I was admitted 9-10-2010 and discharged on 9-18-2010. I have a worse gash on my leg than I had on 9-9-2010. With every pulse elevation and flood of blood, the gash enlarges.

I seriously contemplated a second opinion. There was no medical health professional from Duke Orthopedics or Duke Infectious Disease that had enough human compassion or medical knowledge (or perhaps interest) to convey to me what was going on in my body.

I even kept a PICC line in my arm in case I decided to continue the recommended antibiotic regime for the diagnosis of osteomyomyelitis.

But now I have decided to focus on using my time and energy for the cause of patient safety. I do not intend for the legacy of my dad's death to be lost as I become weakened by the same indifference and lack of care for the patient that killed my dad.

I have to stay strong enough to get out the message about dad and to warn others about the importance of remaining vigilent about your personal health.

The medical care system has changed. Doctors have changed. Hospitals have changed and it is only going to get worse under Obamacare.

I have had my full of egotistical doctors who refuse to answer questions and think of lives as merely a means of making money. I have met them in Chicago and Duke. I am sure they are in your town.

Take care of the ones you love.

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