Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Year Adventure in Healthcare

Oh, you know the drill:  Stoopid happens, and all too often we are on the receiving end. Amiright???

Having the benefit of a few days to look back and sort out the events of last week, it's more stupid and scary than it seemed when it happened. 

Let me begin at the beginning - of the new year. Normally, on a patient's first appointment date of each month, the patient is required to register - again - each month.  OK, got that.

Arrived earlier than my appointed time to register only to find that with the new year  a brand-y spanking new computer system, process, program was in place. The new program had been in place since late November 2013, yet no training was provided before the system updated automatically on the first day of 2014.  Are you with me so far?  Good.

A grand total of 45 minutes wasted while the poor patient rep struggled to make sense of the new program. A technician was finally called in and - -  he was as befuddled as everyone else. Meanwhile patients continued arriving for chemo treatments and blood products.

There are multiple registration desks but no one was breaking through the bottleneck at all desks, meaning patients weren't getting labs done, or treatment. 

Finally, the technician suggested that patients present all relevant personal data (insurance cards, photo ID, etc) to the patient rep. who would make copies to be entered into the system as things were sorted out. Because of many SNAFU in the past, I carry all paperwork with me in 3 file folders for easy reference and proof, should there be a need.  And see, now there was a need. Waited another 10 minutes as copies were made and my original papers returned, then I was on my way.

Unfortunately, not everyone was as anal as I and were left at the mercy of the damnable new system.  

The lab and transfusion room were clueless as to what was holding up everything, throwing the entire center into chaos, making frantic efforts to move patients along. Since I was the first appointment - and the first to arrive - the lab took the blood, checked the patient bracelet with my ID and blood code info quickly and sent me to the transfusion room. 

All this madness had thrown everything off balance. In the rush and running around, I checked the blood bag to match the code with my type to that on the bracelet and work sheet. They didn't match.  I called for a halt, telling the nurses that the blood products delivered for me were NOT my type. This caused an epic scene worthy of the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello combined. With a smidge of Mel Brooks added for kinky good measure. 

The problem pointed to the source. The hospital distribution system made serious errors. This was not a good sign.  Extra care and confirmations were in order. More time lost.

Heated arguments ensued by phone that could easily be overheard - at least one side - loud and clear. Excuses, finger pointing, blaming others wasn't going to cut it.

Note: Never fuck with a mama head nurse who isn't willing to put up with any shit.  Make no excuses for holidays or short staffing. She will cut your gizzard out and hang it from the nearest pole.   I would have happily taken the photographs.

As stated above, I was the first patient scheduled and due to the fiasco at registration then the blood drama, was delayed almost 2 hours. Same for the person arriving after me. And the patient after that.  Seems nobody had the 'patient care' work ethic going for them on NYE and some orders were royally screwed up.

Vans were dispatched with the corrected orders and eventually the staff got things back to something resembling normalcy. Patients coming after us had no idea what happened earlier, so mass panic was therefore averted.  Smiles were on all faces and the new year had just begun - again.  La-Dee-Da.  I don't care what you say. La-Dee-Fuckin'-Da.

As I tuned out the world listening to Enya, I was grateful when the Benadryl injection kicked in sending me off to dreamland.

All in all, just another day spent where the magic happens. And I get to do it all over again this week.  Yes, La-Dee-Fuckin'-Da!

And so it goes.


  1. Unbelievable. With all your stress, it is inexcusable to put you through this chaos, especially the near disaster of mismatch of blood. It has to get better. I hope it gets better.

  2. Mr. Cajun, I hope someday soon you won't have to do these frequent transfusions. That near miss with the wrong blood type is very scary. Sending thoughts and prayers your way.

    Sean R.

    1. Many thanks, Sean. I appreciate the visit and the well wishes. Feel free to stop by anytime.

  3. holy shitsnax! glad you caught the wrong blood before you drifted off to lala-land.

  4. OMG!!! That is scary as hell, even forgetting the inconvenience! It's not like they had your life in their hands!!!

    The health dilemma is more than enough for you to go through. But the delays, ignoring you, putting you through hell about payment and ways to pay, and questions about the competence of everyone is overwhelming. I am so sorry.


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