Sunday, July 29, 2012

Disappointed in hospitals

I have had a lot of frustrating experiences lately with hospitals that have left me feeling very disappointed.  We have 4 local competing hospitals.  They spend a lot of money advertising their greatness, but I'm beginning to think they should all put that money elsewhere.  There was the whole fiasco before my mastectomy in which one hospital forgot to order something essential and forced me to wait and wait and wait and not tell me the truth about why we were waiting.  We got 2 free meal tickets from the cafeteria as an apology for that.  Because of this frustrating experience when I went looking into gynecologic oncologist consult with about my ovarian cancers risks, I was open to trying someone affiliated with a hospital I've never really had any experiences at.  Luckily, our insurance can go just about anywhere, so that wasn't a concern. 

Initially, I love it.  Our school district has some special arrangements with this hospital providing a nurse right at our school and a direct line for making appointments so that we have less wait time.  I really like the doctor and his nurse.  However, he's only here two days a month.  This week I called the number to schedule the lab work that I have done every 3 months.  The direct line couldn't schedule that for me, so they connected me to the regular department, who couldn't schedule that for me, and sent me to another department.  At this department I was told, "He's only here 2 Fridays a month, so why don't you call back next week Friday when he's here."  Really? Now I really didn't explain to this third person I was transferred to what I was calling for.  I just said that I have a question for the doctor.  What if I had an urgent need to talk to this doctor, like after another surgery that's in my not so distant future, your advice is really call back 9 days later?  This wasn't acceptable to me, I controlled my scorn for the person on the other end and simply asked for the number to contact his larger office location where he spends the majority of his time.  About 2 minutes later, she was still saying, "" and flipping through things.  In that time, I was able to pull up the website and easily find the number.  I let her keep looking for another minute (I love that our phone has a timing feature on it) and then told her, "I just looked it up on your website, is it this...?"  I quickly reconnected to the other office.  I got my question answered, labs ordered, and was told "If they ever respond like that again to your question, please let us know."

Now that the lab work had been ordered, I just needed to find the time to stop there and get the quick blood draw.  I had to find a time when I could fast and not have to bring 2 young children with me.  I called the general hospital number, explained that my doctor sent in a lab order, do I need an appointment to come to the lab?  I was told, "Nope, they are open 24 hours a day, no appointment necessary."  GREAT!  I figured I could go right away when I woke up on Saturday morning.  Fasting and kids wouldn't be a problem.  You know where this is going already, I'm sure.  I arrived as soon as possible in the morning at 6:20 and they definitely were not open 24 hours a day.  I was told, "Sorry, they open at 7:00 but the person coming in today is usually early, so it might not be that long of a wait." She was right, at 6:45 they were ready to check me in.  But of course . . . they couldn't find my lab order.  No blood draw today.  When I arrived back home, to still sleeping husband and children, I called my doctors larger office location, hoping to leave a message for the doctor.  The paging service picked up and person rudely said to me "We don't do messages.  You'll have to call back Monday morning or page the doctor now."  Fine, not that big of a deal, just annoying.  I'll call back but when I finally remember it will probably be more like Wednesday. 

The worst part of this is that I was feeling really good about finding a doctor that is up on the newest research and methods, open to different options, and that I like.  This experience is making me question whether this is the right place for surgery #2.  They do have competition out there and I have probably 2-3 years before I will actually do surgery #2.  Maybe a need to schedule a consultation with another doctor.

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