Saturday, November 15, 2008

The "art" of communications

They cancelled Elliot’s ear tube/upper airway scope surgery. I OFICIALLY HATE hospital politics and do you want to hear what I loathe even more? An anesthesiologist who has the audacity to call me and imply, then actually say, that I would intentionally put our son’s life in danger by feeding him before surgery.


Not only do I know exactly what this could do in the form of aspiration, but why oh why would someone (particularly a physician) think that I would lie to cover up Jeff’s miscommunication just for convenience sake. Oh, and she tried to “school” me on proper anesthesia pre-op procedures. My blood began to boil at that point!

Long story short, Jeff got confused as to when our son ate last and told the nursing staff (who, by the way, was to call me with any red flags upon check in because dear hubby simply does not know our son’s medical history like the back of his hand) that Elliot ate at 10:30 in the morning.

Jeff then called me to tell me that they cancelled – without calling me to confirm questions as I had asked previously – and filled Elliot’s surgery spot within minutes. Something smells terribly fishy. Boy, they moved really fast…

Needless to say, back in on Monday morning before 7 a.m. in Omaha! Have to love that! I pray that Elliot stays in good health until Monday, especially since Nora has been vomiting with a 103 degree temp. Jeff now has to take Monday and Tuesday off from work, hence losing his overtime pay for the week.

My questions? Why did the nursing staff and the anesthesiologist lie to me about filling a surgical spot (a 30-minute surgical spot) within a few moments? And, when will they actually follow communication protocol in the patients’ best interests? I consistently bend over backwards for my PR clients – I adjust my schedule to accommodate client calls during the dinner hour; I find sitters to attend meetings; I do an awful lot just to make people happy. I’m just a mom who tries to work at the same time and I treat people like gold. Why are doctors holier than thou? Why are they exempt from the claim that the “customer is always right?” I will never understand it. I suppose that I can see just a wee bit of their point: the point that my husband and I were not on the same page and they could not risk E’s life based upon a communications error. But when they accused me of endangering little E in the name of convenience – that is what set me off. How dare she. How dare…


Kari said...

UGH How frustrating! Sending well wishes and hopefully Little E will get this all done on Monday!

Jay Hill said...

Navigating the medical system can be viewed as a pain. Sometimes medical personnel can come off cocky and snobbish. While I don't deny that we are sometimes cocky, I don't think non-medical people understand the pressure that is faced on a daily basis. A lot of them haven't seen their families in the last 24 hours, been up all night and have a stack of people waiting to be seen. It seems like a daunting task to most people but most of the people in medicine that I know, love what they do and wouldn't do anything else. I wouldn't get too frustrated with them as they probably have your sons best interest at heart no matter how it comes across to you. When it comes to children, the Physician becomes the advocate for the child. These children are innocent bystanders that can't speak for themselves. Not to imply that you are a bad parent but we often see our share of bad parents. Hope everything works out good for you on Monday. Advice: try to steer away from making it an adversarial relationship...Hope I didn't offend anyone.

Anonymous said...

I have a very low opinion of most of the medical profession myself based on many personal experiences and from those of others. Misdiagnosis, lack of the "bedside manner" that is to put people at ease, professionalism, a genuine and visible concern for patients have all been lacking in most of my contacts with a lot. I am sorry that things are not going great for you and yours, but I pray things get better.

Michelle said...

No offence taken, Jay, as I adore and respect the majority of Elliot’s medical staff and surgeons. And, needless to say, I have been accepted into a nursing program to obtain a BSN beginning in 2010. Interestingly enough, that speaks to my love of the medical profession and the admiration that I have for the majority of said medical professionals. However, the anesthesiologist in question was nothing but rude, and I know rude, I have learned a lot about how to deal with rude in my many years as a PR/communications professional.

She crossed the line, and although I know deep down she must have had my son’s best interests in mind, and the hospital would indeed be held liable if “something” were to happen in such a routine operation, the fact remains – she was rude, insinuating and down right vicious with her tone. She was far from cocky and snobbish – she was cruel.

The hospital failed to hold up their end of the “bargain.” I noted many, many times that I was to be called if something was amiss with my husband, if there were any questions at all when he checked in, and going on a few hours of sleep himself, something was certainly amiss. I know he knew when Elliot ate – and the hospital personnel (whom I have worked with on many occasions) know me and our personal situation. They acted inappropriately this time.

Regarding the physician as advocate…yes, they do play that role. However, no one will ever take my place as primary advocate. I am not a doctor, and understand their position and respect their wealth of knowledge, however, I would NEVER EVER endanger our son’s life.. That’s what got me. That’s what the doctor said to me. It was wrong.

I know – I need to play the game. One never wants an adversarial relationship when it comes to patients and physicians. I’m not one who ever wants an adversarial relationship anyway.

Again, no offence taken – and I did leave out a great deal of the “story” so as not to offend anyone myself. Take care.

JaybirdNWA said...

Michele, I appreciate your comments and I agree that there are some real jerks in the medical profession. Unfortunately, it is these people who paint a negative picture of the system. I don't know about your hospital in question but our hospital administration is very interested in patient feedback, especially when patients are treated disrespectfully.

That is good that you have been accepted into the BSN program. While I sometimes do not agree with the way some medical personnel interact with patients, I think the medical profession is a noble and worthwhile profession.

Debbie Yost said...

Here's my theory: Many medical doctors are highly intelligent. I have found that sometimes those who have high intelligence are lacking in the common sense and peronable department. My brother is probably the smartest of all of us kids, but the guy is somewhat of a social reject. I often say he missed the line for common sense. My Peanut may not be a rocket scientist, but she has the common sense, problem solving and people skills (and she's pretty smart, too) that will get her far in life. I like the fact these doctors are smart enough to take care of our children, but it is sometimes hard to find those with both a good bedside manner and reliable skill. I also think many of these individuals see everything scientifically and don't always see the "human" side to issues.

That being said, there is no excuse for it. If you don't have those skills then you should let someone else deal with the bedside manner side of things. I'm sorry you were treated like that and I hope Elliot will remain healthy till Monday. Keeping you all in my prayers. ((Hugs!))

Debbie Yost said...

I don't want to confuse anyone, my brother is not in the medical profession by any means. :)

datri said...

Oh, that is frustrating. There's a reason I don't send my DH to my kids' doctor appointments!

Incidentally, reading the previous comments, I'm totally convinced that a lot of people in the medical profession who have a horrible bedside manner have Asperger's syndrome. I say that only half jokingly as a parent of a child with high functioning autism.