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    A Painful Diagnosis

    | Denver, CO, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (I am having some pain in my lower right side so I have my brother take me to the nearest hospital as it is getting worse. We wait for quite some time in the waiting room which is unusual for this hospital. As we are finally being taken back the nurse turns to me. I haven’t even entered the room yet or given the full array of symptoms.)

    Nurse: “You have a urinary tract infection.” *stares at me for a moment as she moves aside the curtain leading to the room*

    Me: “Okay… I don’t think it comes with pain on the right side.”

    Nurse: “You have one, but I am sure the doctor will run the test to make sure.”

    (We wait for nearly five hours in which I still haven’t seen a doctor, but they run all kinds of tests. Finally, at about three in the morning, the doctor comes in.)

    Doctor: “Well, we can’t find that you have a urinary tract infection but i am going to prescribe [antibiotics].”

    Me: *sighs as I am extremely tired, hurting and fed up* “Does a urinary tract infection cause pain here?” *points to right side just around hip area*

    Doctor: *stares then eyes widen* “You have pain there?”

    (Found out I had uterine and ovarian cancer. The pain? From the ovarian cancer that had attached to my pelvic wall. I don’t trust that hospital anymore…)

    International Blame Game

    | USA | Criminal/Illegal, Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful

    (I work in a hospital lab. We often will send samples to other labs if specialized testing is requested (especially genetic testing). When we pack it, the boxes are labeled all over with stickers that say “temperature sensitive,” and “human origin specimens.” We also send a shipping manifest electronically to the lab so that they know it’s coming and can match the samples to the paperwork. We get a doctor who calls and wants to know why he hasn’t seen results on a patient from about three weeks ago. We call the lab we had sent it to.)

    Lab Assistant: “I’m wondering about a sample we sent you a while back. Do you have an update on it? It’s—” *gives the identifying information*

    Other Lab: “We never got it. We called Veronica about it.”

    Lab Assistant: “What are you talking about? We don’t have a Veronica. The contact name on the shipping manifest would be our supervisor, [Name] and it was signed by [Other Name]. We have a duplicate copy of it.”

    Other Lab: “We never got it.”

    (About two days later, we get an international call. It is an appliance factory in Mexico. We learn that after the shipping company tagged the sample as received at the other lab, it was somehow loaded back on a truck and sent to Mexico. After speaking with the shipping company, we learn that it was the other lab’s doing. We call the other lab and try to figure out what to do about this issue. The other lab just keeps insisting that it isn’t their fault, that we should have marked the box better. We don’t really want to play the blame game; we just want to make sure this testing gets done, and that the patient doesn’t get charged twice for very expensive genetic testing. Finally, after they keep on going on about blame, one of the other lab scientists asks the lab assistant to give them the phone.)

    Lab Scientist: “Look, I don’t care whose fault it is. We just want this to work out for the patient, but since you’re stuck on this topic, we weren’t the ones who shipped human biological samples across an international border without customs declaration, and also discussed privileged health information with some lady named Veronica who clearly has nothing to do with this issue. So, if you want to play the blame game, you probably won’t like your consequences.”

    (They shut up about blaming after that.)

    Ignoring The Baby Steps

    | Nottingham, England, UK | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (I’m 27 and just had my first child. I’ve never really been around babies before and as I gave birth nearly four weeks early, I have missed all the antenatal classes I had booked. This is the first morning I have been well enough to get out of bed after surgery and my first time alone with the baby and I’m understandably nervous.  My baby starts crying and I check her nappy and see that I’ll have to change her, so I pick up the nappies and start examining the packet when a midwife walks in.)

    Midwife: “I see you’re finally out of bed. Your baby is crying and you need to sort it.”

    Me: “Oh I know. I was just looking at the packet but there don’t seem to be any instructions.”

    Midwife: *condescending* “Of course there isn’t ,you silly girl! Everyone knows how to put on a nappy.”

    Me: “I really don’t. I’ve never done it before and missed all my antenatal classes as I had [Daughter] so early. I was hoping there would be some kind of instructions. Would you be able to give me a start?”

    Midwife: “No! I’m far too busy!” *storms out the room*

    (I’m now panicking but decide to drive in and give it a go. I take off the dirty one, give baby a wipe to clean her up and start to put it on just as the midwife walks in for my records.)

    Midwife: *shouting* “YOU’VE GOT IT BACKWARDS!” *mutters something about me being stupid as she walks out again*

    (At this point I’m quite upset and feeling a bit of a failure and generally wondering if I’m cut out for motherhood. I carry on and manage to figure it out and feel a bit better once I can see it’s on and secure. The midwife walks in.)

    Midwife: “What are you doing?! You’ve got it all wrong!”

    (She snatches the baby and starts to adjust the nappy where I can’t see what she is doing and complaining about stupid girls getting themselves knocked up. When she is finished, she puts baby back in the crib and stalks off.  I promptly burst into tears, which is when my husband arrives. He manages to get out of me what happens and marches up to the desk where the head midwife sits.)

    Husband: “One of your midwives has just upset my wife, who is still poorly from surgery, because she didn’t know how to change a nappy.”

    (He goes on to tell her what happened.)

    Head Midwife: “I had it noted on her file it was her first baby and she had missed her antenatal classes. Don’t worry, I’ll sort it.”

    (I later found out the midwife was moved wards so she was away from me for the rest of my stay and I was introduced to a wonderful care assistant who helped me with everything from nappies and how to bathe the baby to feeding and dressing her. I sent a tin of chocolates to thank everyone on the ward once I left.)

    There Will Be Bloodwork

    | ON, Canada | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (I have a severe aversion to getting bloodwork done. While I know it’s all in my head, I’ve managed to faint and have seizures several times. To make everyone’s life easier when I absolutely need bloodwork done, I make sure to tell whomever is doing it about the problem. USUALLY they find a way to work with me…)

    Me: *explains my problem with bloodwork* “It’d probably be best if I can lie down, if possible.”

    Male Nurse: “You’re a grown up. No one likes needles. You’ll be fine.”

    Me: “It’s more than that. I’ve had seizures…”

    Male Nurse: “Look, if anything happens, I’ll catch you. Okay?”

    Me: “Um… okay…”

    (Bloodwork begins. The next thing I remember is everything going black. I wake up on the floor.)

    Female Nurse: “Are you okay?!”

    Male Nurse: “She’s faking it. No one faints from having blood drawn! She just wanted to lie down. She even asked for a bed.”

    Female Nurse: “That’s WHY we have a bed.” *to me* “Sweetie, did you know this would happen?”

    Me: “I told him I’ve fainted and had seizures from bloodwork, and asked to lie down, so… Yes?”

    (Female Nurse helps me up, walks me to the room with a bed, and lies me down, leaving juice at the side table beside me. Once I’m okay to stand up again…)

    Female Nurse: “Do you want to try again?”

    Me: “Um… can you do it?”

    Female Nurse: “Sure. Don’t worry; he’s gone home for the day.”

    (I got my bloodwork done, lying down, and managed to not black out, though I still did get lightheaded. Thank you, nice lady nurse.)

    Forward-Time Is Backwards-Progress

    | USA | Coworkers, Lazy/Unhelpful, Technology

    (I am a hospital lab scientist. During morning runs, the engineering department is running a generator test. Nurses send us lab samples through a pneumatic tube system in the walls; however, this is not on generator power as it is not essential to hospital operations. The generator test is scheduled to start at 4:00. At 3:50, there is a PA announcement to not put anything in the tube system, because anything in there when the generator test starts will not be able to get to its destination until full power is restored at 5:30. I get a phone call from a nurse at about 5:15.)

    Nurse: “Hi. I sent down some labs at 3:45, and I haven’t seen results, so I was wondering what’s happened.”

    Me: “I’m sorry about that. Let me see if I can see what happened. What patient and what labs did you send?”

    (She lists off some labs, one of which is EXTREMELY time sensitive. Because of that, they are always run immediately after arriving in the lab. I search around the lab for a bit before realizing that the samples are not in our computer system.)

    Me: “I am sorry. It seems that we haven’t received those samples yet.”

    Nurse: “Well, I sent them a long time ago.”

    Me: “Let me go check something.”

    (I go talk to our lab assistant who logs samples into the computer as soon as they arrive. She has not seen any samples for this patient.)

    Me: “Nope. They haven’t gotten here. Most likely, they didn’t make it out of the tubes before the power went down. So, we will get them when the power comes back but as one of them has a fifteen-minute expiration, that one will need to be redrawn.”

    Nurse: “This is ridiculous. I put it in the tubes. I saw them go up into the tube system.”

    Me: “I’m not arguing that they didn’t go into the tubes. I’m just saying they didn’t come out.”

    Nurse: “I need results.”

    Me: “I understand that. But the samples are in the tubes. And the tubes are much too small for me to climb into to retrieve the samples. We’ll get them when power is returned, however we are going to need a new [time-sensitive test].”

    Nurse: *huffs* “Well, I’ll get you some new ones. But this is ridiculous.”

    (I feel for her, and for the patient that will have to be redrawn, but know that it was probably her fault for cutting it too close to the time that the tubes would turn off and she hoped that they’d make in time so she didn’t have to walk to the lab with them. Sure enough, when the tubes come back on the samples pop out. Interestingly enough, the samples are labeled as being drawn at 0350, not the 0345 that she claimed, which means that either she was forward timing the samples to get them an extra five minutes on the time sensitive ones (which is STRICTLY against protocol), or she put the samples in the tubes AFTER engineering had warned her not to. At about 5:35 she calls back.)

    Nurse: “I still don’t have results.”

    (I frantically look around for the redraw, and realize with horror that we haven’t gotten those ones either.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t have them yet.”

    Nurse: “This is ridiculous! I don’t understand how you only lose MY samples. You are all against me. That girl who sounded like she has four more years in high school told me that the first ones got lost.”

    Me: “It was me who talked to you the first time, and though I know I sound young, I’ve been out of college for two years, thank you. And, they were not lost, they were simply in the tubes because they’d been put in there too late. I understand your frustration. I really do. However, I don’t understand how I am expected to give you results on a sample that I DO NOT HAVE.”

    Nurse: “You have a vendetta against me.” *I don’t even know her*

    Me: “I understand your frustration. But I don’t understand what you want me to do about this.”

    Nurse: “All right, I’ll redraw them again, but I’m walking them down this time.”

    Me: “That sounds like a good idea.”

    (Two minutes after this conversation, we receive the second set of samples, which are labeled 0500, but we still need a new one of the time sensitive ones. After this is all resolved, our lab assistant points out an important point.)

    Lab Assistant: “Wait. If she didn’t know that the samples were put in the tubes too late, then why did she redraw at 0500 when she hadn’t talked to you the first time until 0515? She back-timed them to make it seem like she had been waiting longer than she had!”

    (The next day, after the nurse complained to the lab manager, the lab manager asked me to relate the incident. The lab assistant is again there. When I said that finally the nurse decided to just walk the samples there, the lab assistant chimed in that she hadn’t. She had tubed them the third time as well.)


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