Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Sad State of Healthcare

Last night was one of those nights that made me wonder yet again if people in the health care profession actually care about the people in their care. Why? Because they "released" Jayson from the hospital. It was more like they expelled him.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Jayson is my niece Mel's husband. They have been married for three years, but together longer than that. This past year has seen Jayson's health deteriorate rapidly. He has had extreme pain in his back and legs and was told on one or two occasions that it was all in his head. When he went to the doctor about three-four months ago because he was in pain and his right leg was paralyzed, a doctor broke the unspoken rule: he ordered an MRI for a patient that didn't have insurance. It was discovered Jayson had a mass in his spine and was promptly shipped to University of Kentucky Hospital.

Jayson's pain level is high. His pain is massive and so intense he has had seizures because of it.

Eight days ago Jayson had a very long, very intense operation to remove as much of the mass from his spine as possible. It was a 15 hour surgery. When he came out of it he was in excruciating pain and his battle with the pain management group began.

It seemed as if "pain management" didn't believe he was hurting, or that he was needing such high doses of the pain medication. At one point a pain management doctor told Jayson, as well as those of us in the room, he, Jayson, was receiving a cocktail that would actually bring down a bull elephant and it still wasn't helping him completely control his pain. Jayson was accused of very childish behavior and when his PCA--the pump attached to an IV that gave him a boost of pain medicine every 6 minutes-- was removed and he went to oral medications the pain, of course, was even less under control, but Pain Management didn't care at all, and neither did the doctors apparently.

Last evening when Jayson's doctor came in he was told he had been discharged from the hospital and arrangements had been made for him to begin radiation therapy in Hazard, KY on Monday! Jayson had no one with him. It was only by the grace of God a cousin had decided to stop by on the way to Florida to see him. They took him home, once a great and horrible prescription battle was fought.

University of Kentucky Hospital sent the man home in an open-backed hospital gown and didn't want to send any prescriptions with him. The drive from Lexington to where we are from is a three hour drive at the least and he was expected to make the journey without pain meds to help him endure it nor were they encouraging to him at all, just begin radiation therapy on Monday and come back in 10 days so they could remove his stitches.

The super disheartening thing about this is the fact that he was told, in the presence of witnesses he wasn't going to be discharged for 14 days because his body needed to recuperate after the surgery for at least that long before he began the radiation therapy treatments! It hasn't been 14 days yet, but the treatments are already scheduled. This has me concerned, but there isn't anything I can do about any of this situation.

What has happened to health care in this country? Do doctors out there care about their patients any more, or is has health care become nothing more than experimentation and money? I am convinced this is what has happened to UK Hospital. It is a research hospital and Jayson has an extremely rare cancer. The doctors did a very dangerous surgical procedure on him. This procedure gave the doctors performing the operation as well as the assistants a great something to place on their resumes. Once the surgery was over Jayson was no longer any part of a person, a human being. Even just before the operation he was looked upon as a "thing" rather than a human. It made me, and still makes me, physically ill when I think of this!

No, this isn't new to me by a long shot. It has happened to me on and off my entire life. In the beginning my case was unusual and unique and then, when I survived, they (the doctors) decided I was no longer an interesting case. My parents didn't give up on me, however, and they kept fighting until they found doctors that actually cared and placed me in their care. It is even more sad that this has happened to someone like Jayson who is fighting to stay alive and have as close to a normal life as possible.

If you live in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and your doctor(s) want to send you to the University of Kentucky Hospital, find out if there is any other place you can possibly go, because no one cares there except for a few nurses and CNA's I have actually witnessed being kind and nurse-like. As for doctors, only one. One out of who knows how many hundreds.

What has happened to health care in this nation? Doesn't anyone become a doctor any more because they want to help people? And, if they do, what does the profession due to them? How do they punish them to change them or encourage them to be the way so recently witnessed?

One day they will have to answer for their behavior. I firmly believe this. Karma, for want of a better word at the moment, may just turn around and devour them, forget just biting them in the ass!

1 comment:

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