The Wheel and Axle

Medically Blonde

by on Aug.20, 2011, under My Life, Snark

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I’ve never experienced so many screw-ups from a hospital as I have with Makati Medical.

Today, more than a week after I got discharged, and when you would think everything’s already good, I found out they still screwed up yet again.

Perhaps it’s best to start from the first screw-ups, somewhat discussed in my last blog post.

On August 1st, I had my first trip to Makati Med’s ER. I was advised several days bed rest and a check-up with my HMO, Maxicare, the next day. Okay, no real screw-up there, except maybe if they recommended confinement then, I could have been cured earlier. Then again, they couldn’t really figure out what was wrong other than I was having on/off fever.

On August 2nd, my birthday no less, the Maxicare doctor asked me to buy a different set of (expensive) meds for a week or so’s intake. He also advised me to go to Makati Med to have several lab tests. Then I was to return two days later to get the results from Makati Med for Maxicare’s doctor to interpret. Again, it was all about bed rest at home, never mind that I was still feverish. No real screw-ups, I suppose, except the meds will later on turn out to be useless when I got confined and was given different meds yet again. The old meds are still with me, unused except for a couple days’ worth (it was for a week). Granted, this was not Makati Med but Maxicare, but I might as well include this in my little rant.

On August 4th, two days later as scheduled, I returned for my test results and went to Maxicare. I brought my mother with me, even if she lived out of town, because even with several days bed rest, I still felt like shit, and those are the times when you really want your mother with you no matter how old you are. At Maxicare, things were taking so long, and I started to feel dizzy. I asked to lie down while waiting because I felt like I was going to faint. They finally decided to send me to Makati Med’s ER rather than wait for their interpretation of the test results.

So there I was at the ER again, and this time, my mom insisted I be confined. The ER doctors finally agreed. Why wouldn’t they when they have this pale patient who was about to faint any moment and they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong?

And so it began.

It was around 4pm that the confinement was agreed upon. My mom took care of the papers while I was in the ER. By 5pm, my mom was told the room was just being prepared. By 7pm, I was still in the ER, unable to rest properly because of all the noise. My mom followed things up, and she was told I was being held in the ER while waiting for my first test – a CT Scan – so that I won’t need to be brought up to my room then down again. Sounds fair, but by past 8pm, no CT Scan was forthcoming, and the ER was making me feel worse with all the noise and bright lights. By 9pm, my mother practically twisted the arms of the folks there, insisting I be brought to my room to rest and just be brought back down for the CT Scan when everything was ready. Bless my mother. They said yes, as though it was their idea all along and not because this woman was breathing down their necks.

Guess what? I went for the CT Scan past 11pm, almost midnight I believe. Imagine if I was in the ER all that time going crazy and probably getting worse due to improper rest. Plus – hey, Maxicare was paying for my room already, I believe I had a right to use it.

That was the first indication this was not going to be a hospital of very good service.

A couple of days later, the IV on my left hand was starting to feel uncomfortable. It was decided to transfer the IV to my right hand because the left was starting to swell. A doctor was present, and she began dismantling the IV on the left. Fumbling, really. A nurse came in, and the doctor (probably not thinking) announced to the nurse, “Ikaw na lang dito, hindi ko masyadong alam gawin ‘to.” (“You take care of this. I don’t really know how to do this.”) Gaaak. This, by the way, was witnessed by my best friends as they were visiting at that time. All of us shared “the look.”

I felt like RoboCop.

To date, my left arm still feels bruised. My right hand and arm are fine, though during my confinement, the IV needles just kept on being dislocated.

A few days later, another doctor came in – the specialist. The prior day or so, he’d mentioned that it looks to be salmonella because the initial organism in the culture of my blood sample was showing such, hence my typhoid fever; however, the culture needs a few more days for final certainty. So the specialist came in a couple of days later, and he said the same thing, though he wasn’t entirely sure because now the culture had three organisms growing in it – which he said was impossible as there should only be one. In short – the med tech or whoever was handling my case had contaminated my blood sample.

The doctor just said it was likely enteric fever, which is pretty much similar to typhoid or something. So the diagnosis was that, and the good thing was that the antibiotics they were providing me was also good against this type of fever. Because otherwise, wow. Just wow. At least the antibiotics were working.

After my colonoscopy, another of the series of tests, they waited for me to have at least 24 hours without fever, after which they allowed me to be discharged.

You would think it ended there, but apparently not. On my discharge form, I was instructed to have follow-ups one week after and two weeks after. The names of the doctors were there. One was unfamiliar, but I assumed it was an associate of one of my primary physicians because each of them had a posse of associates who were ever-present when I was visited daily.

So today, I went for one of the follow-up check-ups… and the unfamiliar doctor? Well, she was the incorrect doctor! I was wondering when I got to her clinic why I was seeing a pulmonologist, which was unrelated to my confinement. She and I finally figured out that she had the same last name as my infectious diseases specialist, and the nurse who filled the form up screwed up. Thank goodness she said she will help file a complaint – because she’s very right: what if it wasn’t the doctor’s name that got mixed up? What if the meds on the discharge form were incorrect? Talk about a health risk.

The only good thing that came out of the otherwise useless visit was I took advantage and asked advice for my occasional experience of shortness of breath. She gave medical advice and will help monitor if I might have asthma (which runs in the family).

All in all, Makati Med screwed me up a lot – during a time of low health and great personal fear, not to mention my birthday month.

Lesson? Next time (though hopefully there won’t be a next time), I’ll go to St. Luke’s.

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