My Health…How Do You Know…

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If a healthcare professional doesn’t spend any time with a patient, how can they help? There were a couple experiences recently that have this topic once again on my radar… My beautiful daughter has broncitis. She wasn’t feeling well but agreed to go to the walk in clinic to get checked out. After a two minute appointment the doctor handed her a perscription and sent her on her way with a diagnosis of Broncitis. She wasn’t in there long enough for the doctor to even hear the symptoms. My daughter came out with a script that was illegible. It was a circle and a line with a 2-4 underneath it. Another squiggle where a signature was suppose to be. We both predicted what would happen next…she faxed it to the pharmacy only to be told they had to get in touch with the doctor because they had no idea what the script said or what she wanted.

You would think after so many years of school doctors would be able to write the alphabet. I know they are rushed but maybe they wouldn’t be if they didn’t have to have everything they write down double checked.

A friend went to the doctor recently. She never goes to the doctor but was finally convinced enough things were wrong that she should seek a medical opinion and wanted a referral for a psychologist to help her deal with some stressful situations going on in her life. It took a ton of courage for her to even get herself there and after fretting anxiously in the waiting room for over an hour she was called back. She sat down in the chair and the doctor came rushing in….20 minutes later to say “How are you today? What has brought you here?”

As she tried to explain the things she had noticed in her body and life that were affecting her wellbeing the doctor stopped her and said “I can only deal with two issues per visit. You will have to make another appointment if you want to talk about anything more”

She didn’t book another appointment, she went home feeling more stressed and alone and her physical and emotional wellness were affected by the doctor not listening to how everything she was saying tied together. He was so busy wanting to get her out of his office so he could see the next patient, he didn’t bother really caring for the one in front of him.

My daughter had an appointment this week for 1pm. She was there early so sat in the waiting room until the nurse she was seeing came and said “Your appointment is for 2 isn’t it?” (This was not the first time she had shown up to an appointment and the nurse who booked the appointment and wrote it down on the card for us didn’t remember the right time on the day of the appointment). After showing the nurse the appointment was for 1pm she was told she would have to wait a while. It was 2:20 when she got in and it was a 5 minute appointment. I guess anything we were planning on doing that day was less important than them so it is okay they double book on purpose or can’t keep their calendar straight.

I know our Healthcare system is overwhelmed and there aren’t enough hours in the day but it wouldn’t be so overwhelmed if we actually provided care when the patient is in front of us. If we dealt compassionately with Mental illness patients in crisis, had doctors that listened and explained the ways to live a healthier life rather than just handing a pamphlet to a guy who has eaten unhealthy, smoked and been a worka holic and sending him on his way after a heart attack. We would not have 1 in 5 youth with Mental Health issues if we had health care staff that actually cared and spent enough time with patients to see the early warning signs. People are given major surgery and sent home with little support the next day. Hospitals, LTC and homecare agencies are more worried about the money for this visit than actually caring for the patient so today and the future are better.

Nurses say they are too busy with charting to spend time with patients but what can they chart about how a patient is doing if they never actually talk to the patient more than handing them pills or taking their blood pressure.  Stress related physical illnesses, repeat admissions to hospital and community health care resources would be less of a problem if we take the time to actually care about the patient instead of caring only about the books.

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