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Archive for May 28th, 2013

Two Letters

I have always been told not to get stuck in the hospital on a holiday weekend, when anyone with seniority stretches their little vacation and you are left in the hands of neophytes.

Sure enough, as Michelle’s stay in the Summa in Akron stretched into Friday she saw a definite lapse in care. The fledging doctor (the “resident”) who was caring for her was visiting her when she noticed something amiss in her chart: he was about to assign her a double dose of insulin. He corrected this when she mentioned it.

The same resident wrote her insulin prescription early Friday evening, when she was being discharged. As it was around 7:15, and our pharmacy, a half hour away, closed at 8, we decided to fill the prescription at a drug store just across from the hospital. The pharmacist told us it would be ready in 15 or 20 minutes.

The hospital is located just west of downtown Akron, in a poor and working class neighborhood. Just after we got there the place began to fill with people; the line grew long and many in it expressed impatience.

Our 15 or 20 minutes quickly stretched into a longer wait. After about 50 minutes one of the young pharmacists apologized for the delay. “This dose- 500 milligrams- seems way too high; I am trying to reach the doctor to confirm it.”

After another long wait he said “This was wrong; the correct dose is 100 mg.”

He had written a prescription for five times the correct dose.

If the young man had rushed the order, which would have been entirely understandable, given the grumbling folks in the line, Michelle could very well have had a stroke, been paralyzed or even died.

As we paid for the drugs a few minutes later, another young pharmacist, an African American my bride had noticed being very helpful to customers, finding ways to trim their bills, apologized for the wait.

“No!” I said, “Really, you could have gotten us out of here in 15 minutes and my wife might have died! Thank God you all were conscientious!”

Needless to say, two letters will be written, one to the drug store commending the vigilance of their pharmacists, and one to the hospital, reporting the negligence of the resident, and recommending that he not see patients without supervision.

Which leaves us in a quandary; Michelle had been referred to that practice by her obstetrician, as she is considered high risk and they specialize in such pregnancies. But we sure don’t feel safe with them. It may be difficult to find a doctor to take her on this far into a risky pregnancy.

More prayers, please, and thank for those already offered.

And now we have a new reality, one with a highly regulated and monitored diet, with needles and insulin.

We were always put off by Natural Family Planning, even before the long thread on that subject which has appeared off and on here for the last two years (as well as first hand observance of friends’ experiences) led us to believe that it is highly unreliable. It just seemed too scientific and data-oriented,with its charts and thermometers and whatnot. Our temperaments are poetic and intuitive, daunted by such an approach.

But this new diabetes regimen? Makes NFP look sloppy.

Lord have mercy.

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