Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Today's word of the day is "NO."

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I called one doctor's office, from my pregnancy in 2001/2002, to get my medical records to take to my specialist appointment on August 9th. They were so nice...made the copies right then and had them ready to be picked up after lunch. I was so impressed. Then I looked at what they gave me and my interest was piqued. I was only given hospital records...everything from my delivery and the pathology of my placenta, but nothing from my pregnancy. No blood test results...nothing about my gestational diabetes...basically nothing about my prenatal care whatsoever.

So I called and asked about that.

The first nurse said, "Oh, the gal who got those for you probably didn't know that you wanted those to, let me check."

Then the very nice lady from my first call picked up the phone and she wasn't so nice.

She told me they don't normally give out those records. Why did I need them?

I told her I was going to see a specialist and the specialist requested I bring my complete record with me.

She said, "Did he TELL you that?"

I really felt like saying, "No...he said it'd be ok to discuss my preconception issues with only half my file and information," but I figured that the sarcasm would be lost on this nitwit.

So I just said yes.

You want to guess what she told me? No, don't guess, it's more fun to tell you...

"Well, I'm not comfortable with this, so I'll have to contact our medical records supervisor. There are just too many legal issues involved here."

Oh.My.God! I just about laughed in her ear.

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I called the liar OB's office and requested my file. Of course, I was told I had to go sign a medical release to release my record to myself...oy! On their medical release form I could pick and choose what I wanted to receive, or check the box for "entire record." We'll see if it really means I get the entire record...

So I signed the form and was promptly told that it is about a two-week wait right now. I told the receptionist that I have an appointment on August 9th and could we do something to make sure I have it by then? Here's the thing, see, they're only working one person in the office at a time because of vacations, so they're just really backed up.

Again, I felt like saying, "I can certainly understand how your vacation-induced inconvenience might be more important than the future possible addition to my family," but again, I was sure the sarcasm would be lost on the desk nazi.

So...I said, "OK...thank you," and walked out seething.

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My husband came home to do all this travelling with me, because he had the minivan with the child seat in it. So while we were driving in the car, he called to check on the status of Alex's headstone. When we first went to the company, the sales lady told us we could probably get the stone for about half off because the owner would "do a deal" for the family of a stillborn. When we went back about a month later, the story had changed and there was no "deal" in sight. We were irritated but we just wanted to get it done and this company has a good reputation. I suppose we should be more in the habit of trusting our first instincts.

So, we were told that it would cost us about $700 for the stone, and we could have "anything put on it that we want." I asked if we could have Alex's footprints actually put on it like I had seen elsewhere and I was told "sure." I waited five weeks for a drawing that was supposed to be the final before we had the stone actually carved. Did I tell you about the "drawing" we received? It looked like something my three-year-old had drawn. Alex's footprints were outlined like some cartoon picture...nowhere near the life-like picture we had asked for. After a back and forth and much stonewalling by the lovely Michelle on the telephone today, they tell us it will be another $190-$350 dollars to get what we want done. Apparently we can't get "anything put on it that we want."

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Of two law firms consulted, one called to tell me that their team reviewed my email inquiry and decided that they would not be able to recover for medical negligence. According to the OB nurse on their team, the standard of care was met for me. I asked if the fact that nobody even considered uterine infection as a possibility wasn't negligence in itself and she said...you guessed it...no.

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There was a point today where I certainly could understand why someone goes postal and randomly hurts people. It seems like everywhere I turned today I was faced with someone with their own agenda telling me "no" and not really giving two shits about me as a person. I didn't want to see a single other person...I wanted everyone to go away and leave me the hell ALONE. I had this hard-to-control urge to just slug the next person I saw.

It seems the rest of the world is working in some parallel universe of which I'm not really a part...I just visit it every now and then. I told Steve that, after today, I'm going to start talking to people with an attitude...because that's the only way to get heard in this mad, mad world.

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Now I'm off to self-medicate. I may write Cask & Cream a letter thanking them for their services.

6 comments:

Jill said...

Catherine, you have had a BAD week. One of those weeks where everyone and everything exists purely to make you feel miserable and thwart your plans.

I have had such weeks, but never where the stakes were so high. I'm assuming your self medication is ice cream, which in itself is a wonderful thing. Might I suggest that you take said ice cream, pop a scoop in a double shot of irish cream, a squirt of chocolate sauce and a splash of milk and shake it all up. Then add a lot more irish cream and have the happiest milkshake you ever did taste:)

I do not know how you get through weeks like this. The temptation must be so great to simply run away and pretend it isn't happening. Let's hope karma (at the very least!) takes care of some of these people for you:)

holley said...

I cannot believe that the standard of care was not breached. If that is true, the standard is really, really low. It makes me almost want to take my chances with a home birth.

And HIPPA is supposed to make it easier to get your own records. You might want to threaten them with reporting them for violations. I'm certain you should be able to personally receive your entire file.

Huge hugs to you.

Julie said...

((((((((((((Catherine)))))))))))) It really blows my mind that ANY of these people can get away with treating you like this. It is just not right. It totally disgusts me the total disreguard for life these bastards have. I am so sorry you are going through all of this hell. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

lauralu said...

jill, cask and cream IS irish cream, or something close to it. it's a u.s. label.

who needs ice cream when you can have liquor???? i don't want to encourage any abusive or addictive behavior, but let me just say, drink up!

Dana said...

{{{{Kate}}}}

I am so sorry they are being such asses about giving you your records. Really, how dare they. They are YOUR records and you are legally entitled to them. Grrr! Really, makes you wonder why they are so paranoid. I have never had any troubles getting a copy of my COMPLETE medical records. I'm sorry. I hope they get them to you quickly.

Hang in there.
Lots of love coming your way...

Anam Cara said...

Catherine, I am so sorry you have been treated so horribly. To use a nice (or not-so nice) English expression, they are all a bunch of f?$%ing wankers. Sending you lots of ((hugs)).