This Medication Can Kill You

This is difficult for me to write.  Occasionally, I’ve written about health issues, such as sinus infections.  This time things are more serious.

Last week, my ENT specialist prescribed a different medication for an ear infection that appeared in December and doesn’t want to leave.  I picked it up the prescription from the pharmacy and after getting home, began reading the 9 pages; 5 titled “Medicine Information Sheet” and 4 titled “Medication Guide”.

In the third paragraph of the “Medication Guide”, in bold letters it says, “Some of these serious side effects can happen at the same time and could result in death.”

I’ve not started taking this medication and honestly, don’t know if I will.  Only, it doesn’t stop there.

Yesterday, I got the frightening news from a diagnostic surgeon that I might have malignant cancer.

Now, out comes the soapbox.  I miss the old days when there were neighborhood physicians who took care of mostly everything.  Back then there was only hospitalization insurance.  Doctor visits costs $20 to $50.  If the neighborhood physician decided surgery was needed or tests, he would admit you into the hospital so the insurance would pay for it.  All providers would be together, and staff made sure that you received the proper diet and medication on time.

Now, patients might have several doctors.  Indeed, I have 6, and if we count the nurses who take vitals and asks questions, that doubles the number of times that I have to repeat the same thing.  Shall I add in the physician assistants who I see me more than the actual physicians?

Why do they ask for all the medications you are taking, to prescribe a medication that when you get home and read the inserts, it tells you not to take it if you have certain health conditions, or are taking certain other medications when they should know your health conditions and prescription meds?  And, you find that there are conflicts.  For example, I read in the inserts with the medication that can cause death that if I’m taking Vitamin D, that it has to be taken 2 hours before or 6 hours after taking the medication that can cause death.  Yet, in my chart it is documented that I am taking prescription strength vitamin D.   If I was going to take that medication, it’s a good thing that I read the inserts because the ENT Specialist told me nothing about that requirement.

What would you think of having your physician tell you that he is making extensive notes on your chart, and you sit and watch him do so for at least 10 minutes.  When you get to the Specialist you are referred to, you find that they haven’t taken the time to read the notes, so want you to repeat everything in 1 minute or less — but only the issues that they specialize in.

After neighborhood doctors went the way of the dinosaur, came the HMOs and with them, limited physicians and limited hospitals.  Subsequently, that changed with the addition of more physicians and more HMOs entering the market.  However, with HMO’s and PPOs, came almost a complete elimination of hospital service unless you’re admitted through the emergency room.  Don’t get me wrong.  Outpatient surgery has its advantages, but when a patient has multiple issues with 5 different doctors prescribing medications and ordering tests, and none of them know what the other is doing, I can see the advantage of admitting a patient for a day or two until all providers get on the same page.

And, what’s this thing now with having to talk to a nurse before you can make an appointment, and having the nurse ask if you want a referral to a specialist?  Isn’t that for the doctor to decide?

The routine. Once I got a referral and my insurance company approved it, I paid the co-pay, see the new provider who wants to perform a procedure because the tests show that I have malignant cancer.  To be sure, they want to perform an invasive biopsy.  I contacted my insurance company and they told me that I need pre-authorization.  Then I learned that the provider’s office doesn’t submit pre-authorizations but the network does.   A week later, I received documents in the mail from the network of the scheduled procedures.  I received a phone call from the network regarding the preauthorization.  On the day of the procedure, I arrived to learn that;

– The insurance company had not approved the preauthorization.   This means I had to wait an extra 15 minutes until calls are made to get all that properly through.

– I went in for the procedure to learn that although I was sent documents that two procedures were going to be performed, they were only going to perform one BECAUSE they don’t perform the other. Their excuse for the document was that it’s standard in their system.  That would carry some credence had I not been told that I was having TWO procedures by the first nurse who scheduled me for both.   But, the second nurse doesn’t check with the first nurse and automatically blames it on the “system”.

– No one on staff has discovered that the system needs to be changed so that patients don’t feel they have been misled or deceived? No one seems to be concerned that getting a pre-authorization for a procedure they say they don’t perform might raise eyebrows about possible insurance claim fraud?

– The surgeon still wanted me to have the first procedure, and he doesn’t perform the second to help eliminate pain because all he does is remove parts of the body for biopsy.  The nurse who blamed the system wanted to hand me a card for a surgeon.  Why?  Because I need a surgeon that does more than just cut body parts for biopsy.

– I will need another referral to yet another surgeon for removal of what is causing pain, and will still need to return to my primary care physician for pain medication because all surgeons do is perform surgery – not pain management.  Oh — and that surgeon can also submit parts for biopsy.

WHY DIDN’T THEY SIMPLY REFER ME TO THAT SURGEON IN THE FIRST PLACE?

 – Then I was asked why I hadn’t asked my primary care physician for pain medication.  UH?  Why would they assume I had not?  The nurse instructed me to stop all pain medication 3 days before the procedure in order to control bleeding. Still, that does not address the fact that after a surgeon has made holes in my body that he can simply walk away and hold another physician, in another location, responsible for prescribing pain medication.

– Oh, but now I get it. I’m responsible for making an appointment with my primary care physician on the day of an invasive procedure and commute to his office for him to prescribe post-op pain medication although he and the surgeon have not communicated with each other.  Did I get that right?

– Then I learned that several weeks ago when the biopsy was scheduled, that I should have been assigned an advocate. This information came from the main office.  However, that information was contradicted by yet another nurse in the local department.  “We don’t do that here. The person who told you that doesn’t work at this location.”  DARN RIGHT SHE DOESN’T WORK LOCALLY!  She works at the main headquarters for the hospital — you know, where decisions are made.

It didn’t stop there. The manager of the department, like the main headquarters, is also of the impression that I should have been assigned an advocate.

Did I keep my mouth shut at the medical center?  Nope.  In fact, I told three specialists that I understand that as a result of their medical malpractice insurance carriers, they can no longer treat patients. Their specialty doesn’t limit them.  Their medical malpractice insurance does.  They no longer work for the betterment of patients but rather, under the constructs of their medical malpractice insurance carrier.

They can’t put on a band aid because if the patient has an allergic reaction, the doctor is afraid of being sued.  Without a band aid, the area becomes infected. The patient is asked why they didn’t ask to be referred to a Dermatologist. (sigh)  Okay, Maybe that is a bit of an embellishment, but it’s an example for how the system is currently organized under a culture of sue happy attorneys, and medical professionals driven by fear of sue happy attorneys.

Dentists and eye doctors have now become clients of brands and upgrading.  The sales pitches for upgrades  resembles visiting a used car lot.   For 3 months last year, I went back and forth with an eye doctor on prescribing a particular contact lens for one eye.  I’ve worn the same prescription since 1998 but oh no!  He wanted to try a different brand that doesn’t make the same prescription.

After trying out 5 different lenses, with none of them working, they put me off for yet another month to make another appointment.  My insurance company then said that it had been too long since my first visit, so my plan will not pay for contacts until October.  It will be a year since I was able to see clearly out of the one eye.  That doesn’t include the problems that I saw an ophthalmologist for last month.

How can medical professionals hold patients accountable for participating in their healthcare when the system  aggressively prevents full understanding of protocols?

Me?  I’m tired, still in excruciating pain, and waiting until Wednesday for a call for an appointment with a surgeon.

Posted on 09/11/2018, in open discussion, Potpourri, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I was once prescribed medication that nearly killed me. It was a brand new medication. I was a guinea pig. If a medication is brand new, don’t take it. It may not have been tested .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Micheline,
      See?! I’m not anti-medication, but this has taught me to take time, sit down, and read the inserts fully.

      Like

      • Most of us have to take medication, but we must be extremely careful. Drug companies do not always test a medication sufficiently before releasing it. Besides, we are not all the same sex, height, weight, age. Blood pressure also varies from patient to patient. Do read the inserts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel you! Some of my family members are going through similar ordeals. I hope everything works out for you. It’s a nightmare!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Benjamin,
      The best to your family members. Please let them know that they are not the only ones experiencing the nightmare. This afternoon I received a call for an appointment with the surgeon. I go for consultation on Monday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is such a pain… mum my almost died because of one of her heart medicines, but we were non compliant and she was fitted with a pacemaker. Then after discharge the gave us the same drug..i could convine the doctors no we dont want this. The pharamcy person understood. To get discharged i said yes.. we went to gp and said we r not taking this the end.

    It is ricidulous the medication conflict.. the perscribe , they expect u to take, but they dont ask questions, and you are to read the leaflet…

    It is a Stress …

    Aahhhhhhhh

    Is all i say.

    Do they know anything or are we better of being semi compliant or full non compilant.

    And then they give the cheapest one… well here in the uk… another omg fight..

    Are the meds keeping a live or killing..

    Hugs xenia.🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bella,
      This experience has been an eye-opener for me. It’s the first time I’ve experienced being prescribed a medication out of the ordinary. I suspect that if patients tell doctors that they refuse the medication, a note is made of that in their chart WITHOUT the reason for the refusal.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think the uk and usa it sems different. Mum has refused to take other drugs and explain the side effects she read somewher , the gps dont argue that much..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bella,
          I’m sure they do operate differently. Physicians here are so afraid of medical malpractice lawsuits, that they document anything that infers when a patient has not followed their instructions. Monday, the hordy-dordy biopsy surgeon told the nurse to document that I refused the procedure. I spoke up saying, “That is not factually correct due to omission. Because you refuse to perform the pre-authorized second procedure, then you shouldn’t perform the first. It was represented to my insurance company and to me that it’s a package deal.”

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sending you hugs and my best wishes, Xena. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a broken system, and I’m praying for you. Praying that you can beat this cancer. Get well soon ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Praying for your speedy recovery my friend. Love hugs and kisses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dreamer9177

    I hope that you will be OK. Stress about health is a terrible thing. The system is designed to reduce the stress of everyone but the patient at times like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dreamer,
      Thanks for your kind words. One thing a person at the clinic said to me on Monday is that I had choices. I corrected her saying “No, I don’t. The reason why I don’t is because there is nothing I can do about this. I have to depend on medical professionals.” Yes, that is stressful.

      Like

  8. crustyolemothman

    Dear Xena,

    It seems as you and I are both starting to understand the real world of medical care, or perhaps I should say the lack of care? On my med’s I do have a pharmacist that I trust quite a lot, as she will take the time to review all new scripts that I receive and notify me if there is any sort of clash between it and the others that I take currently. Several times we have annoyed my doctors by asking them why they would prescribe a new medication that has conflicts with my others. Now to the rest of the story, I have been purposely backing down on some of my med’s due to adverse reactions and a firm belief that much of the treatment that we receive is only to extend the number of days we exist on this big rock, and not to improve the quality of life during those days. My thoughts are with you and I know that with the strength that you possess you will confront and win your latest battle with your health..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mothman,
      This:

      ” … and a firm belief that much of the treatment that we receive is only to extend the number of days we exist on this big rock, and not to improve the quality of life during those days.”

      Truer words cannot be spoken. I will make one exception, and that is with my Rheumatologist. She’s fantastic, but because she is a Specialist, she has to refer other issues to my primary care physician. Things were going good for awhile until I changed insurance, (the network stopped accepting what I had, which turned out to be a sh**ty service anyway). And, along with the change of insurance, my primary care physician moved out of the area.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Right now, I’m pretty much zapped of strength with the exception of faith.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Awful! I pray you overcome. It would be hard for anyone believe that doctors in the US came to their patient’s homes. Take care of yourself! A lot of people that are suppose to, by the dignity of their profession, help people, have become careless and criminally insane. )-:

    Like

    • Thanks for your prayers. Yes, there was a time when doctors made house calls. There was also a time when doctors had neighborhood offices and patients didn’t need appointments. We can blame things on health insurance companies for giving patients a maze to work through in order to receive services and treatments. Of course, working through that maze means delays in services. Although technology has made it possible for physicians to make better diagnosis, scheduling appointments for tests can mean more than a two week wait. Physicians or the network they work for might save money by not having to purchase the testing equipment, but the benefit to patients’ health suffers at times. They don’t want to prescribe medication for hardly anything until getting test results.

      Like

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