Dec 7, 2010

Medical horror stories, part I

I've edited out names of specific staff, replacing them with Nurse A and Nurse B, and at the expense of some grammatical awkwardness, removed all references to gender.  (Why doesn't English have a neuter pronoun?)  A reader writes:
This winter I came down with the flu, although at the time I didn't realize it was the flu because it came on so suddenly. I left school early with a stomach ache, took a warm bath because I was getting chills, and when I got out of the bath was super dizzy and had the feeling I was going to pass out and puke, although I had never passed out in my life.  I remember trying to puke with no luck and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the bathroom floor in a puddle of my own vomit. So I was quite shaken because I didn't know what was wrong with me so logically, I called the duty phone. [Nurse A] answered, asked me a few questions, and said [they]'d call me back in a few minutes once [A] was back at the office. [A] called me back 2 days later. Luckily, my mom was available for some good old motherly comfort over the phone. But seriously, is a phone call back from my primary health care provider too much to ask?

Over the last few months I've spoken to both [A] and [B] several times about an injury in both feet. The first time I tried to speak to [B] in [their] office [they] said [they] were too busy to talk to me. After a request for 5 minutes of [B]'s time [they] conceded. I told [B] I had plantar fasciitis and [they] interrupted me to ask me what that is. After I explained it, [B] googled it and confirmed that I was correct, highlighting everything I had just told [B] on the printout from [B] said the best thing would be to send me to a podiatrist but Peace Corps wouldn't pay for a podiatrist so [they] sent me to physical therapy instead. After two weeks of physical therapy that wasn't helping I spoke to [A] about the problem. [A] scheduled me an appointment with the podiatrist, and said that yes, Peace Corps will pay for it.
The lack of a simple call-back is something you'll be seeing time and time again. A professional failure at the most basic level.

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