Being the receptacle of a fair number of un-fried neurons and a significant number of properly trained synaptic pathways, yours truly is reasonable capable of following the description of tests that a physician would like to perform on the biological function of the organs of the receptacle. So when I showed up for ordered test this morning and the nurse gives me the instructions and the instructions did not sound like the tests the physician explained to me, as is my tendency, I questioned the instructions. Of course, the nurse immediately assumed that I was either too dense to follow the instructions, didn’t want to follow the instructions or am just a pain in the ass (well she may be right about that point but that has nothing to do with the test). So she repeated the instructions. She really got a little perturbed when, once again, I told her that could not be right. That those instructions were not reasonable for the tests the doctor ordered. Now, since I am a somewhat shy, timid creature, I really wanted to just do what she told me to do (yeah sure) but instead I pointed out that no, that was just not right. So she showed me the piece of paper that had the test orders. I remembered very clearly the tests the physician told me he was ordering. And I told her in very plain terms what that tests were, and that I did not care what it said on her piece of paper, that was not what the physician ordered for me. I suggested she should go find the actual instructions. Ten minutes or so of this and the nurse finally figured out that I was not going to cave and undergo the tests she just knew I was supposed to undergo. So we walk out of the lab and she got her supervisor who actually pulled up the real piece of paper that the physician wrote down with his own little hand what he wanted done. And guess what! He had ordered the tests I had been telling her he had ordered for the last ten plus minutes. By this time we had moved out into an area were Still Here Too could overhear the conversation. See says I was firm, but not nasty. She could tell I was starting to get angry. Believe me I was way beyond starting.
How often does this happen? How few people push back when a nurse or technician gives them instructions? How many patients have enough understanding to be in a position to question the tests that are being performed on them? How many time does this happen when the test or procedure is one that puts someone’s life at risk?
Given the number of times I have personally experienced an incorrect test or procedure, I suspect that it is way many more times than we can imagine.
By the way, they said they were sorry. Didn’t really make me feel that much better. Worse yet, didn’t make me feel that much more confident in the medical care I am getting.
Is Still Here
So long as I am careful about the test they perform