Wednesday, 16 May 2012

*Censored* (A Rant)

Oh god, I hate hospital administration systems.

Two weeks ago, I went to the hospital. My doctors wanted to keep me off my medication for 6 weeks, despite the fact that this would worsen my symptoms, so that they could run some tests and do some scans while it was out of my system. They said they would arrange for one of their research people to call me and arrange the tests. I pointed out whilst I was standing right there with them that as I have exams and a holiday coming up, there would be some dates I couldn't do, but that I could write these dates down and hand them over immediately so as not to waste time.

No, they said, that's fine. I would get a telephone call in the next couple of days, no worries.

Two weeks later, no bloody telephone call, and I'm going on holiday for a week tomorrow. I don't have a number I can speak to any of them on directly, the best I can do is call one of the doctors' receptionist, who is only in for three mornings a week. So I called her yesterday morning and left a message pointing out that if they wanted to arrange these tests before I left, they would need to get their freaking act together.*

Today at lunchtime I managed to miss the receptionist returning my call. There were no apologies for the massive delay; she left a message saying there was no prospect of getting me booked in today and that I should call back on my return from holiday. There was also no explanation of how this went from being the hospital's responsibility to call me to being my responsibility to call the hospital.

Sadly, I am incapable of shouting swearwords at my phone loudly enough to make myself feel better.

It is so unbelievably frustrating that this seems to happen almost every time anything hospitacular has to be arranged. Oh, your surgery's postponed at the last minute. Oh, your surgery's now back on with less than 24 hours notice. Oh, your letter got lost in the mail. Oh, didn't I mention that you're going to be booked in for an overnight stay? Oh, your MRi appointment never got booked? Well there's no point in you sitting here in this neurosurgical aftercare appointment then! Bye!

This means that three weeks will have gone by before I get booked in for ANY of these arsemongering tests and scans. On my return from holiday, I have exams. Essentially, this "six week period off medication" just got extended to an "indefinite period until we can be bothered to get back to you, lol." They really have no clue how shitty it is to seesaw on and off taking this stuff. Every time I start/stop taking it, there's a bunch of side effects - it messes up my skin and appetite and stuff - on top of the symptoms I get anyway when I'm not on it (heart too fast, hair falling out, etc. etc).

In my now-lengthly experience, it seems that hospital doctors are completely clueless about the barrage of administration that patients have to maneuver through in order to ever actually see them. Once, a letter that was sent to me giving a time and date for an MRi scan was lost in the post. I knew I was expecting an appointment, so when I didn't get a letter, I called the endocrine department, the MRi department, the main hospital switchboard and even I think neurosurgery for good measure, to try to find out if an appointment had been booked. Everyone told me they had no idea, had no means of finding out, and no clue who I should speak to - except the MRI department, who told me that I definitely didn't have an MRi booked. About two months later, the letter eventually turned up, by which time I'd obviously missed it. At my next appointment with my endocrinologist, he actually attempted to give me a telling off for missing an appointment, and then clearly refused to believe me when I explained what happened.

Well, this has been a massive rant. I do feel slightly better. But I am still pissed off.

*Except obviously I was politer than that.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Massive foot in mouth moment there for the hospital, I think. Yeah most doctors don't know the nitty-gritty of the process, but in their defense they're largely uninvolved - it's the admin staff who make the appointments and send out the correspondence, but dump the telling-off-the-patient bit on the doctors' desks. I sympathise totally because my aunt had a chronic condition that required lots of correspondence, and I saw how bad it could be :P

    Keep ranting!