kkatowll: (Mexican moon)
[personal profile] kkatowll
So. We have had a HELL of a month and it's all due to medical...incompetence? Let me tell you the story...

February. After working nonstop for a week, selling thousands of cupcakes over the course of three days, and meeting tons of people, Sandy catches some sort of awful cough. After a day and a half of rest doesn't help, and leads her to pull a muscle in her back, she goes to her doctor.

The doctor sends her BY AMBULANCE to the hospital (oh and the bill was $1700, isn't that great?) on the theory that maybe she had a blood clot in her lung since she was in the car for 3 hours, two days prior. Even though she stopped and walked around after an hour. So...okay...many hours in the ER, I worked from home, arranged for an emergency babysitter, etc. ER determined there was absolutely nothing wrong with her, diagnosed bronchitis and a pulled back muscle. Gave her pain meds, sent her home.

Then Sandy's doctor looked at the cat scan of Sandy's chest and decided she saw fluid around her heart, diagnosed possible congestive heart failure, sent her to a specialist. Sandy spent the next week freaking out.

At the specialist, they found absolutely nothing wrong.

Then Sandy's doctor read the report of the exam on her heart and said the specialist had found aortic stenosis, and sent her to another specialist.

Sandy spent the next two weeks freaking out.

At the specialist yesterday, the cardiologist said:
1. It's totally normal to have fluid around heart, lungs, etc. during acute bronchitis. And while perhaps it might be something to check, it was gone a week later, so there's nothing to worry about.

2. The lab report actually said, flat out in these words: "These results are consistent with no aortic stenosis."

Yeah.

After running up INCREDIBLE bills with the ambulance, ER, and specialist, her doctor MISREAD the report.

The cardiologist gave us a copy of it because she was so upset by what Sandy had been put through.

It's one page - and not even a whole page. It's three paragraphs of details, about eight sentences total. Then there's a paragraph that starts with SUMMARY: and lists four bullet points, all of which are normal. One of them, though, is aortic schlorosis, which the doctor apparently misread as stenosis.

Now, aortic schlorosis can be an indicator of potential heart problems in the future. Those who have it should consider it a warning sign, like high cholesterol, and take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.

But the heart itself is fine - none of the deposits that cholesterol can leave that can later block the arteries, no problems with blood flow, etc.

So in other words, her doctor should have called her up and said, "This report says your heart is fine, but you are obese, and the report indicates that, and you should really lose weight to help your heart stay healthy."

I am SO MAD that we got stuck with all these medical bills (we pay 100 percent of the first $4,000, plus a share of the rest) for nothing. I mean, at first we were like, hey, better safe than sorry. But three times wrong in a row? Not cool.

Sandy is also frustrated because three times she's called to talk to her doctor, and her doctor never calls back. She's thinking about switching to a doctor with a practice nearby, which would be way more convenient. And maybe the new doctor would be more competent.

From my point of view, it would be great if she had a local doctor, because a doctor who is 45 min. away is really, really inconvenient when you have a baby.

But mostly I'd like a doctor who could accurately diagnose, say, whether or not fluid in a chest was related to bronchitis!

Date: 2016-03-30 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stadred.livejournal.com
To be honest, it sounds like you have a legitimate claim on your hands. I'd dispute the charges. From what I heard when Rob and MJ went through some hospital bills, they can be amenable... But I'd absolutely change doctors after that fiasco...

Date: 2016-03-31 02:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kkatowll.livejournal.com
I don't think we can dispute the bills, since the doctors Sandy was sent to gave her reasonable care. I mean, it's not their fault she was sent to them for no reason.

Date: 2016-03-31 11:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonlady7.livejournal.com
That's fucking inexcusable! OMG.

Date: 2016-03-31 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kkatowll.livejournal.com
Yeah. The bills are UNBELIEVABLE. But what can we do? We chose to go to each of those doctors...on really bad advice, apparently.
Not that we could afford an attorney, and it would probably be wrong, but I'd love to sue the doctor for three weeks of anxiety. Isn't there a "pain and suffering" thing? Sigh. I suppose I shouldn't want to sue a doctor, because then she would be less inclined to take risks on diagnosing people, and what if she's right next time? But, as the cardiologist pointed out, doctors do different specialties. There's a specialist who does nothing but look at CT scans and the like, and write up any concerns, diagnoses, etc. The general practitioner does not have the skill of the scan-reading doctor. So it's apparently crazy to have your personal, "hey I might have the flu" doctor reading your scans and coming up with different conclusions from that of the scan-reading doctor.
But I don't even know what I would do with that knowledge. I mean, if a doctor tells me some other time, "Hey, I think the other doctor missed something, I think you might be dying," I don't think I'm going to say, "Nah, I trust the other doctor, I'm all good."
Ugh.
I hate that there are no perfect people.

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Kathleen

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