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Old May 18th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Default medical care for the elderly

Sometimes when we cruise, we feel our greatest worry is leaving the elderly relatives behind. Our recent experiences with my mother in law have only served to reenforce that worry.
Gram's mom (Rose) was not feeling well on Monday. She described herself as feeling dizzy. It got bad enough that she convinced my father in law that she should get some medical attention. When they could not get instant response from their doctor, 911 was called. Off Rose went to the nearest hospital. Quite frankly a place I would not let treat my pet fish, never mind a sick adult.
Well 6 hours and a few tests later she got sent home. This is despite the fact that on entry her BP was 170 over 110 , she was unable to stand and was somewhat incoherent. Tuesday morning she was no better and you could add slurred speech and a drooped lip to her symptoms. Off she went, this time at least to a major hospital center where her regular doctor at least had rights to practice. About 5 hours later the attending physician tells my father in law he is sending Rose home, nothing wrong except maybe a slight inner ear infection.
Luckily at this point Gram was there. What happened to the neurologist she was supposed to see and what happened to the MRI that was ordered by her doctor??
And in addition, did she not have every classic symptom of a stroke? Well, no one was going to question this doctor so he stomped away . Luckily a few moments later the neurologist arrived, He looked at Rose and said "MRI now!!, this lady has had a stroke".
MRI confirmed the stroke. Rose is resting comfortably in the hospital.
Gram's comment when she got home last night, was " if an elderly couple goes to a hospital and they don't have a younger relative to act as an outspoken advocate, they die".
This follows similar experiences only a few months back with wrong medications being given , wrong food being given, no medication being given when it was due and some else's IV being hooked up (all when recovering from surgery in a rehab facility).
One fellow worker here whose wife is a Resident at a major hospital in NY says his wife will not allow any relatives to go near a hospital unless she can go with them to keep them from making a mistake.
I think we have pushed our medical system to the brink. Workers are iverworked, underpaid, hospitals are under staffed and there is too much pressure to "treat and release" patients rather than "observe, test carefully and properly diagnose , THEN treat.
Makes us worry that we cannot leave . Brings up the whole subject of elder care once again. (they swear they are independent and can handle this stuff).
Thank you, it was cheaper for me to write this out than going to therapy for me .
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

Oh, PapaBill, I'm so glad this story had a positive outcome, meaning at least she finally got treated for what was the problem. So much damage could have happened in all that time they wasted. Makes you want to scream. Even a lay person could recognize those symptoms. It really is scary. My brother is in a nursing home down here in Florida, and he has gotten nurses that don't even know how to change a catheter. Makes you wonder how they get through nurses training. I know there are many outstanding and wonderful medical people who go out of their way to give topnotch service and thankfully that is more the norm, but situations like these do cause a lot of concern. For all of you in the medical field that are overworked, underpaid, and extremely dedicated I say a great big thank you.

Phyll

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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:15 PM
venice
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

good point..also health insurance companies get into the act..our premiums are raised but they challenge hospital stays or treatments..I had a major back operation where they "forgot" to give me my pain medication for 12 hours and then they told me they were sending me home the next day because the insurance company would not authorize any more days...I was lucky,my GF contacted my doctort doctor who interceeded and raised much noise...I also discovered hospitals have "patient advocates" who in fact work for the hosptial. not the patient.

An elderly person without a younger relative to champion their cause is in a tough situation
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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

Bill,
I completely agree with you. So many people are afraid to question a physician and hold them in too high of esteem. The symptoms you are describing should have been caught by any medical student.

People need to be much more assertive with their care and be an advocate for their family!!! If you feel that something isn't right PUSH and push hard to have something done. You have every right to get the hell out of there and go to another hospital, go to administration, or get in someone's face; especially if they are releasing you or your loved one. Do not be afraid to confront a doctor. They are not gods even though some think they are, but most do not.

The vast majority of physicians I have known are great people who do the very best for their patients and go the extra mile in almost all situations.

I also believe that outsourcing of ER's has a lot to do with the situations that are occuring across the country. We take for granted the quality of medical care we have but I see it slowly deteriorating.

Take care,
Mike

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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

Bill,
This is what we have to look forward too?
Makes you wonder; Do Canadians have the same problems? The US is lacking in many areas and I think our Medical is one of the major problems.

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Old May 18th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

I think the medical system is broken. There are many competent physicians and then there are many who are not. How do people in need of medical services know which one they are choosing?

Doctors are also followed around by investigators and lawyers, malpractice suits, and insurance companies. Then they are always under scrutiny by the medical boards and Medicare programs. They are in effect their own business. So they also have to worry about discrimination and harassment charges from employees, discipline problems with employees, office squables and the like. Add to those worries, they are also human beings with families and the family emergencies and problems with parenting.

And we expect them to treat us with undivided attention and as if we are the only patient they ever had. So, I think it's always wise to question them, make them answer all your questions and then seek a second opinion too.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old May 18th, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

I have seen the Canadian and British public medical systems in action and IMO we have a long way to slip to hit that level of treatment.

Take care,
Mike

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Old May 18th, 2005, 06:38 PM
heney
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

I. too, have seen the Canadian system as well as the American system in acyion - and you can please give me the Canadian system anyday. My wife had a very painful injury while we were recently visiting in Florida, went directly to a medical clinic and had to get a taxi back to her hotel to get her credit card before she could see a doctor.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Lynne &Trevor
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

We have some Canadian friends who tell us that their system is slipping as well, but that is a different discussion. I believe that the Drs are "managed". Some outsource their billing, some have incompetent staff that cause a patient to leave because of them,and many of them now are told what they can treat and not treat to get reimbursement for services. I have worked with several doctors over the years while a volunteer in hospitals (USAF) and talked with Drs. in their offices. I believe that the majority of them are good and sincere and really care. However, they are overbooked, given erroneous information, and called away on other "emergencies".
I'm glad that Rose got diagnosed without any major consequences and was finally treated. That is the good news.I would hate to think that all our lives hinge on the competency or incompetency of staff who have pulled double shifts or have been helped through by colleagues covering for them, etc. Let's hope it doesn't deter you from your life-and cruise, PapaBill.We shouldn't have to give up our life or those we love and be held for ransom by fear of medical error.
Gone are the days when Drs in offices and hospitals had genuine relationships with their patients for many years and we could and would trust them with our life.
Best regards to Rose and good luck to you and your family. Lynne

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Old May 18th, 2005, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: medical care for the elderly

Believe me, it's just as bad here in Canada. I swear if I had not been at my mom's bedside night and day for the 2 months she spent in the hospital, she would have died alot sooner. During on stay in isloation in the ER, they forgot to feed her 3 meals in a row! Don't get me started..... Thank goodness, when we finally got her into Palliative Care, the nursing staff were angels who knew what they were doing.

donna

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