Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Being a patient Advocate

When you have a loved one who gets ill, you have to be able to become your spouse or loved one's patient advocate.
Not everyone is cut out for this nor do they understand how the MD's work.

Case in point.  
I think I screwed up this past few days.
I trusted the local hospital to keep my husband.  My husband did not want transport to the VA hospital.  I didn't think that was a wise move and told him so when I did see him later that day.

[I'd been out of town when this had occurred.  The scenario would have been much different had I been there in the first place.]
He began taking a new BP med.  Each day his BP rose. He got concerned when it reached 186/112.  The urgent care nurse at the VA told him to go to the nearest ER.

First.  The doctor that took his case decided that it was not the medicine that caused the rise in BP and stated as such to my husband.  My husband was offended by that which set things up for a decline in doctor patient relationship.
I went into the hallway to speak to the doctor [we are talking a nice man, but very small town doc.]
I told him that this had occurred before when the VA changed his meds and that he was having issues with his psych meds.

At one point the doctor indicated to my husband and I that he was a bit reluctant to treat him as my hubby was part of the VA system.  But he wanted to run some tests.  My husband's vitals did come up a bit bizarre and there were some 'things' that showed up 'funky' on his EKG's.
This doctor scheduled my husband for a stress test and echo cardiogram. 
No one, not the doctor, not the nurses, not the techs, said a dang thing about bringing his BP down so he could do the test.

When the doctor showed up in the room for the test he stopped it and by a bit of misjudgement on his part 'seemed' to indicate that is was my husband's fault for having the high BP, indicating that the med he did not take [remember this med was the only thing changed and his BP rose drastically while starting it!] was his fault.
Okay, that is how my husband and I perceived it.

Hubby got very upset.  At that point I realized that even though I had talked with this doctor regarding my husband's mental health status, this guy had not a clue as to how to approach a man with severe and chronic PTSD.
This doctor left the room, he indicated that he had other things to do and this was holding him up.
He left a patient that was having a mental meltdown in a room full of techs who had NO clue as to what to do.

We got back to his room and I must say that the Head Nurse was awesome.  She never flicked an eye and went toe to toe with my husband.  She got him calmed down.

We waited for 4 hrs.  Not a nurse, no one checked on him.  I found that curious and went to 'find out the plan' of action.
It was shift change.  The one nurse couldn't give me answers, couldn't give us a plan.  But she did say that he was to stay as he wasn't stable.

I ran home to take care of some things.  The phone rang.
The doctor met up with my husband when he went to the nurse's station to find out what on earth was going on.

The doctor said he would not release my husband that he needed the stress test tomorrow.  My husband asked if he was so unstable why had no one checked his vitals in 4 hrs?
Blubber blubber blubber...whoops.  No answer.

And how was he supposed to get a stress test if his BP was high?
He then told the doctor to 'go somewhere' and said he was leaving.
Looking back, I think he did a good thing by 'firing' the doctor.

Unfortunately, they are calling him AMA.  Leaving Against Medical Advice.  I can't get any paperwork, but the VA can ask for it.
Funny, I think legally they have to give you paperwork.

The head nurse then walked my husband out to the parking lot [after he called me].  I couldn't find him when I arrived.  The nurse and I went looking for him.
He'd gone to ER to have his IV lines removed.

You can probably think what I am thinking of this medical facility...and it isn't something I can put on a public forum.

VMH, Vernon Memorial Hospital... got a very poor score for me yesterday.  The doctor obviously had not a clue as to how to approach a person with issues.


Debra said...

So frustrating - and scary Val. It angers me just reading it. The feeling of powerlessness is overwhelming. Where us hubby now?

Christina said...

Geez, what an awful experience. I can only imagine your frustration with the whole ordeal. Hope the VA can get things squared away.

Bronco Hollow said...

I can totally understand your frustration. I'm glad he removed his self, it was going no where but downhill. I hope the VA can get this sorted out. Keeping you both in my prayers

Val said...

He is doing better. We got excellent treatment at the VA ER. It makes a HUGE difference when a doctor listens to you!