Saturday, April 20, 2013

Two Hospital Stories of the Month!

Phone call from one of my patients, “They want to do surgery and I don’t really understand what they are going to do or why.” “Did the doctor get a chance to talk to you?” “Yes. But I get confused and I’m kind of nervous.”


“Can you talk to my nurse? She’s right here.” “Sure. Put her on.”  “Yeah?” “Is this the nurse?” “Yeah. What do you need?”  “Can you please explain the surgery to the patient again?  He doesn’t understand and he is a little afraid.” “I don’t have time for that.” Nurse of the year – well until I got the next call.


Phone call from another patient who recently had open heart surgery and had to call emergency services because he couldn’t get a handle on his pain. “Hey I’m here at (hospital A) and they won’t help me with the pain because my surgeon is at (hospital B.) I told the guys not to take me here but they said they had to. I’ve been here for two days already. What do I do?”


Phone call to hospital A, three times, because “connect me discharge planning” is evidently the equivalent of “please connect me to utilization review leave-a-message purgatory.”


Eventually I tracked down his floor nurse and requested to know his status. “Well, we’re going to discharge him and he’ll be on his own to go home or whatever.” “Why can’t his pain be managed?” “Well the doctor here says he has enough pain medication.” “Why wasn’t he transferred yesterday?” “Yeah, we didn’t know the situation.” (You mean the situation of the lucid, cognitive patient who, I am sure explained the situation as he was being admitted?)  


“Why can’t he be transferred instead of having to handle and discharge and readmit when he is in pain?” “Well, I don’t know.” “Has his surgeon been contacted?” “I don’t think so but I don’t know.”  “You have been very helpful.”


Left a message with patient’s surgeon. Patient called back later saying he had his daughter take him home.  The surgeon’s office called him back and told him to wait for his appointment next week. 


“I don’t think this was handled the right way.”  “You got that right. Trust me, I’ll be making some calls starting Monday.” “Cool. I’m glad you are on my side.”


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