Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Brutal Comedy Of Errors

I work in an office setting and I don't have hospital privileges. Not because I can't get them, but because the doctors that I work with don't follow into their patients into the hospitals either. This is often a difficult situation because it increases the risk that another provider has no information on a patient other than what they tell them when they come through an ER setting. When I read the admission and discharge summaries, I often cringe at the discrepencies. This can be detrimental to a patient's health as well. It's not fair to the unsuspecting doctor who has a patient that they have no clue about. To help with this, I will call the ER ahead of the patient arriving and send a copy of the patient's med list with them. This works if they leave my office to go in but on the weekends or nights, I am unable.

Often, I am not informed that my patients are in the hospital unless a family member calls. I received such a call last week letting me know that her *** was in for a potentially deadly scenario (can't say to protect the patient's privacy). She had some questions which I answered that relieved her mind somewhat. She said that the patient was having a hard time with pain control and that she was confident that the patient would be feeling better soon and back to the office for a follow up visit. The patient had just been in the hospital for a similar complaint and was told that it was a benign condition and had been feeling really well since that visit, so I wasn't too worried about the current hospital visit. 

Until I got the next update call from the daughter... 

Patient was transferred to a higher level hospital with severe complications and is fighting for their life. HUH? What the hell happened? You would not even believe me if I told you the details. Let's just say that it's that bad. The ball was definitely dropped and NOT by the office NP. A brutal comedy of errors of which I'm holding my breath awaiting the final outcome.

How sad.  I really hope my patient's family can find the strength to hold on and I really hope that I see my patient again. 


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