I apologize for slacking with the blog. This month has been crazy so far. However, I do have a story I would love to share with all of you.
Two Saturdays ago, on September 13th, I was walking home with my father and all of a sudden he stops walking. I asked him what was wrong and his reply was "nothing". After about a minute, we continue walking, and then the same thing happened again. I asked my father again, "whats wrong"? Now, he tells me that he is experiencing tightness in his chest. After about a minute, again, he says he's fine and we continue walking, this time making it home. On Monday, the 15th, I call his cardiologist, the receptionist tells me that the doctor wants me to take my father for an x-ray and cat scan of his chest, then come to his office. Unfortunately, my father got home an hour later than normal. The doctor receptionist calls and asks me if I've taken my father to the radiology facility yet. I proceeded to tell her that he came home later than normal for work. She then says for me to take him to the emergency room, that he should also have his enzyme level check out.
Walking from the hospital's parking garage to the ER, proves to be to much as his tightness of his chest begins again. The nurse takes his vitals and states that his blood pressure is too high. He gets called in right away, is taken to a room, and gets connected to a heart rate monitor and gets an EKG done. The ER doctor informs me that he needs to be admitted so they can monitor him for a few days. I call his cardiologist and leave a message on his voicemail. The ER doctor also informs me that he has left 4 messages for the cardiologist, and still has not heard back from him.
The next day, I go to visit my father and find out what is going on. Meanwhile, I still have yet to hear from my father's cardiologist. The attending doctor tells me that they are ordering some more tests and that my father would be staying an additional night. I leave the hospital after 7:30 pm, and still, no word from his cardiologist. At 8:30 pm, while I'm out to dinner with my mom, the cardiologist office calls, the problem is, its not the cardiologist on the phone, its his physician assistant. She asks me, "whats up, I'm returning your call." My response was "I'm sorry, are you not aware that my father is in the hospital, and she says yes, the doctor knows. I then proceed to ask if he has received my father's test results. The PA states she did not. I end the conversation with call me when you receive the test results and hang up. My father ends up staying another night at the hospital because they need to confirmation from the lab work that he is within normal range.
At this point, I am completely shocked that the cardiologist did not call himself to see how my father is doing. The next day, I return to the hospital, and I ask my father if he has heard from the cardiologist, to which he answers no. My father's tests results indicates he has nodules on his lungs, and that he should followup with an pulmonary specialist when he gets released. I ask for the attending to call a pulmonary doctor to give him a consult since my father is still in the hospital. The attending states that it is not necessary and that he will be released. Unfortunately, I did not like this response. I ask to speak with the head nurse, and I begin to express my concerns about my father being discharged without a consult from the pulmonary doctor or a cardiologist. The head nurse tell me that I can appeal the doctor's decision to discharge him. I decide to appeal it and ask for a pulmonary and cardiology consult.
The next day, my father receives his consults by both doctors and is released. And I STILL have not heard from my father's original cardiologist. I inform my father that his cardiologist from the hospital will be his new doctor, because I never heard back from the doctor. My father agrees with the decision. My father was in the hospital for 4 days. On the 5th day, the original cardiologist finally calls me and leaves me a message to call him back. That day he calls me 6x times. The following day, he calls me 5x times, and leaves messages. Obviously, the cardiologist is doing damage control.
The moral to my story is that I was not happy with the care my father was receiving. First, from his own cardiologist not following up and second, the attending willing to discharge my father without a diagnosis. I fought the hospital to ensure that my father would receive the best possible care. When my father's original cardiologist did not call, I decided to get another doctor. Why would I continue to allow this doctor to provide inadequate care for my father.
My story is very easy to relate to. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any economic level. I decided to be proactive and asked questions. I took charge of the situation.
Like I always tell the parents who ask me for referrals on good pediatric doctors, you the parents, need to assess whether or not you are happy with your pediatrician. If you are not satisfied with the care your pediatrician is giving your child, find another one. Just get up and leave the office. You do not owe that doctor anything. There are other options out there, you just need to know where to look. That's why I started Healthy Kids NY. To help parents locate doctors and assist them with the questions they are in need of answers to!