Saturday, February 20, 2016

Predatory Physician Practices

Who was that masked man? I picked up my father from Providence Park Hospital today. He's been there since Saturday in the cardiac care step-down unit. Not his first tour. He's been twice on the 5th floor, entering from ER with congestive heart failure, and other issues attached to being 85+ years old. This visit went Twilight Zone. Keep in mind he's now 88. This entry was precipitated not by heart issues, but an onset of blindness in his left eye. Associated nausea. This is the first time he saw a stretcher come into his house - he was not breathing the last two times. He was responsive and all signs normal when he left the house. Near as I can figure, within 10 minutes his lungs were full of liquid and he landed at the hospital straight into the trauma unit. From there he was transferred to cardiac care. A different floor. No idea what the difference between the 5th floor and the 2nd floor cardiac care, but the doctor portion of this stage was bizarre. We left today with a list of 8 Practice Attendings. That's groupese for opthalmalogy (2 regular, one surgeon) cardiac (1 who knows, and his crew), one neurologist and a couple of crew. And that's the list of Practices, as the nurse told me. Does not include the rest of the Crew who will bill. The opthalmic issue is serious. He had a CRAO, and is blind in his left eye. A Saturday to Friday stay, and several attempts to talk to a heart guy, and no response. Cardiologist attending - and blimey here's his name - Dr. Raina ordered a stress test. On an 88 year old man with congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, a blood clot roaming in his left brain that BLINDED HIM IN THAT EYE, and didn't consult anyone else. Dad thought this was a test he needed to get the hell out of the hospital. He wasn't asked to consent to this procedure until he was being wheeled into the unit. Where am I going, he asked. Sidebar: the photos taken after the chemical stress test had to be redone because they took a picture of the monitor. Another 20 minutes in the tube. And they banged his elbow coming out the photo unit, which is still sensitive. Raina's mission I believe, because he told Dad what he thought should happen was at the least a carotid artery reaming, a heart catheterization, and next a pacemaker. My father had no evidence of any symptom that would require a pacemaker. He doesn't have arterial fibrillation. He hasn't had a heart attack. He has a fucking weak heart because he's 88 and he's got arterial problems. What I found out today, checking his discharge paperwork is that he hasn't been getting his normal course of medications. Two of the heart meds (the ONLY two he's been taking were 1) filled at a cost through Providence Park when he has a 90 day supply from the VA at home and 2) were being delivered to him in the hospital at, in one case 1/2 the dose he's accustomed to taking, and second, 1/4 the dose he's accustomed to taking. I don't do math good, but 30 mg is about a quarter of 120 mg. Perhaps there was a medical reason for this. And here we are. When I called to ask for Raina to call me back, he didn't. He may or may not have told my father he had no intention to call his daughter. My father, bless him, is confused. And that's where this type of medical person steps in. Doctors in specialties dealing with elderly patients and trolling for procedures. One of these birds called me after I was in bed, and then reached my sister, the second on the list to find out if the DNR was real. If the DNR was real. What the fuck is that about? Absent an involved family, your loved one is a potential target for procedures. And billing. I'll fight Raina's bills. And the rest of the Practices that showed up. Opthalmic surgery? My Dad won't because he's that generation, and he has good insurance. This will never happen to me. And I hope it doesn't happen to you.

1 comment:

  1. Our medical system is broken. I advocated for my mother's care (by myself and while working full time) and it was AWFUL! They ignore legal paperwork. They ignore common sense. They only want to schedule procedures and more procedures to make money. It is appalling. I decided if ever diagnosed with a fatal illness, that's it. I'll be dead within a few months, probably by my own hand and that's fine. I do not plan to allow them to experiment with my body. It is unfair to those who must care for me and/or oversee my care, and it is spending money for needless 'procedures,' in my opinion. It is a hopeless and heartbreaking affair.