Sunday, December 12, 2010

Insured US patients denied care when speak up about patient safety

Sometimes I wish I knew what the next step of osteomyelitis will feel like or how it will feel to die with the infection.  In those times, I read on the Internet and try to extrapolate what I can expect.  But most of those patients have physicians, surgeons, medical support.

Physicians warned me.  "Create an environment where physicians will want to help you" a Chicago orthopedic surgeon recommended.  "You need to take the pictures of the wound off the Internet" he further recommended.

I tried to be deferential with surgeons and physicians during the three years that I cared for my dad.  I worked within the system.  I tried to explain to the Hospital Risk Management Office that there were internal communication problems.  It never mattered.  Dad still died and communications between clinics at Duke remained horrible.

My last conversation with dad's Duke oncology office was two days before his death.  I was told that my dad was "fine" and that he could wait until next month to come in for the routine office visit and labs.  No one told me that dad's  osteomyelitis and other infections had spread.  Presumably no one knew.  Despite all of the fancy machines and computers and Smart Phones, the clinics and offices did not communicate and a man died in pain and fear.

That should not happen.  It should not happen to anyone's dad.

Fast forward 11 months.  December 15, 2010 will be 11 months since dad died and I feel as abandoned and scared as he did.

I wonder if God wanted me to go through the time with dad so that I would be prepared for my destiny/death.  

Or, rather, perhaps God is putting me through this pain and fear so that I truly understand want dad endured before his death

Either way, I feel a close bond with my dad today.

My fever is 103.2 but I am able to control it with alcohol rubs and ice baths.  Unlike dad, I do not have severe cellulitis.  

I am unable to walk upright and so I crawl t the bathroom to vomit and apply alcohol rubs.  I do not mind enduring the routine but my mom is worn out and it is not necessary that she know I am unable to keep food down.

The pain increases with the vomiting and fever.  But whenever I consider seeking help for pain, I remember the trauma of being verbally assaulted by Dr Raymond Wase and I continue the crawl to the bathroom.  I am not a drug seeker.

Like my dad, there is no physician for me to call or medical facility to rely upon.  

It has nothing to do with health reform, Obama Care.  It has something to do with the change in the delivery of medical care and patient safety.  But the change is with the medical care providers, the actual flesh and blood doctors.  

I have health insurance. I have had health insurance every single day of my life.  

It is a truism that people in the United States go without necessary medical care in the US.  But it is not always about access or insurance.  

Sometimes people like me (or my dad) go without necessary medical care because no physician or surgeon cares enough to save a life.  Sound strange?  Sound cold?  It is.  

Very good doctors know how to help me, know what procedures need to be performed.  I have completed all of the pre-op.  I have the valid insurance.  

But, because I am not shy about saying that the "great and powerful" Duke Medical messed up by: 
(1) discharging me with an open wound and 
(2) sending berating reports about me to other medical facilities (violating HIPAA) . . . I am unable to be treated for osteomyelitis.

I have repeatedly said I have no intention of suing Duke.  No matter.  Just saying the harsh words against Duke apparently dooms me to death.  

  • The North Carolina Medical Board is okay with my being doomed to death  
  • The AAOS is okay with my being doomed to death

Patient safety cannot be about sweeping the bad stuff under a rug.  I don't want to be a martyr.  I would prefer to live.  But I think about my dad and the fact that he would have never been able to speak out (like me) when he had osteomyelitis - I guess I have to speak out for both of us.

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