Patient Efficiency Advocate for Hire!


Patient-with-Lawyer-at-Doctor-Office-Kip-PiperWhat a Manic Monday!  I was busy with coordinating my appointments and dealing with multiple phone calls.  I swear I see an opportunity here to help others.  There should be  a service offered to people that don’t have the stamina or wherewithal to coordinate appointments.   It is not just about coordinating appointments but to keep the communications open between all the various health professionals involved in your healthcare.  Everyone involved needs to be in the loop.    I think eHealth was suppose to help solve some of this but not sure it is doing what was intended.   In actuality, even as a stop gap, til eHealth improves, I think a role should be created called a “patient efficiency advocate”.    If this role was created and covered by OHIP, I bet it would save thousands of dollars.   The overall benefit to both the patient and healthcare system would outweigh the annual salary or cost of the role.

I got down to business and called the hospital to confirm the oncologist appointment.  Good, I am still on for Feb 27th!    I had to call them so they could tell me to bring my OHIP card and list of medicines I take?  Isn’t that standard procedure?   Ok, whatever?!

Remember Mary calling me daily with the dates of my various test appointments which took several days to get?     I am thinking, how can the oncologist on Feb 27th possibly give me a comprehensive or proper treatment plan without the results of these tests that Mary arranged for after Feb 27th?   I tell myself to lower my expectations…but my little Nagging Nettie said not til I try a few more phone calls.

Next call was to Diagnostic imaging at the hospital.  I asked if it was, at all possible, to move the Bone scan up to before my oncologist appointment.   Answer was absolutely and now it’s scheduled for Friday Feb 23rd.  Woohoo!  One down.   I then try to figure out the extension to call to move my mammogram & ultrasound which is needed on the supposed cancer free miracle boob.   After a few phone transfers I get the right department and low & behold my appointment moves from April 17 to Feb 23rd.   The girl was conscientious and said she would put all the tests on the same day for me.   Wow my expectation was exceeded!!

Now this is what I expected to happen when I left my surgeon’s office on Feb 7th.   I don’t understand why Mary from the surgeon’s office couldn’t accomplish this.  I think about the time and effort spent for her to get those appointments.  Plus it made her patient, me, very anxious and stressed.   Anxious patients see their GPs to calm their already rattled nerves…  I did just that and had to talk to my GP to see if she could help explain what was happening back sometime last week.  Even my GP seemed bewildered and she tried to help.   In fact, she at least conveyed my CAT scan was clear OR I would still be worrying about that.     Mary certainly accomplished her task and booked appointments but if you looked at the overall picture of why the surgeon had asked for those tests to be done…it was to help stage and determine my treatment plan.   So it made common sense to me that they should be done before seeing the oncologist.   As my dear friend Carol always says, “Common sense” is not “Common”.

I feel for those people that do not have a great command of the English language or are just too tired or wouldn’t think to bother coordinating their appointments.    For me, as soon as things get organized and coordinated, my anxiety level settle down quite a bit.  Big value add to the patient!  Less anxiety, less stress, less risk of cancer spreading!   All I can say is “Mission accomplished”   I am still keeping my expectations low for the Feb 27th oncologist appointment, just in case, there are still unknowns and other tests required.  There likely will be based on my research.

I called my Mom to give her the latest updates and to celebrate in my coordination achievement.  Then one of my good friends called to check up on me and while we were talking I get a call from an Investigator from the College of Physician and Surgeons of Ontario.

Let me explain.  Before I officially reported Dr. Dick to the College of Physician & Surgeons, I felt after being a patient of 10 years that I should call his office to let them know of my diagnosis that he dismissed.     Back on January 31st, I called and spoke to the receptionist, who must remain unnamed.   I told her that I was diagnosed with cancer and that Dr. Dick had misdiagnosed me and was the reason I left his practice.  I mentioned that I really liked Dr. Dick but was thinking to report him.  Truth be told I was a bit on the fence UNTIL she said after lowering her voice,  “Do it, you are not the first to complain”   She also said there are others.    Well, I certainly knew of others, one being my good friend with the esophagus cancer misdiagnosis.    Then and there, I felt it was my duty and was compelled to official report him.   Not for a malpractice lawsuit but really to make sure he gets a wake up call and to ensure no one else has to go through this.   So I went to the official website, filled out and only provided the straight facts and mailed it off.   I felt I did the right thing!  The secretary that remains un-named likely shouldn’t of said what she said to me, but that spoke volumes.  If Dr. Dick knew her name, she probably would have been fired.   I surely can’t have that on my conscience.

It gets better!  On Saturday Feb 10th, Dr. Dick, personally called me to apologize and said he should have, upon further thought, sent me for imaging.  Further thought?  Yes  after I brought it to his attention!  He also said he felt badly and we discussed where I was in the diagnosis process.  I told him I appreciated his apology and we left it at that.   It was or at least sounded like a heartfelt apology and if he has been down this path before, maybe it was a “cya” or cover your ass move.   Don’t know for sure..  Told you I have trust issues.

So, in speaking to the investigator, I told her I received an apology.    The investigator confirmed she hadn’t advised him yet and was going to send him a letter today and typically the Dr’s are asked to respond.   She told me my complaint was very clearly written.  Yes, that comes from years of email writing at the bank!!    She said she could send a letter to my current GP to get medical records to confirm the facts.  I told her that was not necessary as I could email her copies of my records/pathology reports..   In the back of my mind, I am thinking, I really like Dr. Ok.   I don’t need her to think I go around reporting Doctors because I really don’t.   Dr. Dick is my first!  I am a virgin at this.   In this case, my Nettie senses, felt Dr. Dick needed to get this wake up call.   If he pays attention a little more because of this, then great.  If he doesn’t, I know I tried.  If another patient runs into same, it has to be in their hands.  The investigator said, it may be about 6 months before this is resolved or concluded because this goes before some board or something.

Finally, another call, this one from my Critical Illness benefits.  I have been approved.  Great I am critically ill…it is confirmed.  Then I think why the fxck am I happy about this?I don’t get a lot of money but it will help cover any chemo meds I may need…and supplement any reduction in income while I am off from work.

It was a busy busy day!   I may not be at work but boy it felt like work today..

On a side note for those of you reading along…Percy the parasite still lives another day! Percy’s days are limited because Mike was able to take his first antibiotic pill today! He will need his INR checked every 2 days.  He also can’t have a drop of alcohol for duration of treatment or he would get very sick.   Anyone that knows him, knows he likes to have 1 or 2 beers after work so this may be a hardship for him.  Hehehehehehe….

I confirmed the parasite is Giardia…not to be confused with my sister-in-law Gerarda or my maiden name Giamblanco.   It is caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia.  Giardiasis spreads through contact with infected people.  OK sounds like he got it from hospital to me.   I read that you can also get it from eating contaminated food.  OK, Mike may argue that it could be my cooking…NOT!  Or drinking contaminated water.  Nah, not possible.  Lastly even pet dogs and cats can contract it.    Well I hope it wasn’t our beloved Minnie that gave it to him…but no one else seems to have it…  I told Mike that you never know where Minnie’s tongue has been.

Till next blog!  Hope you had a great day!!


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