The following is a weeks worth of medical errors—or at least medical system errors—and I haven’t even been to surgery yet.
1) My internist sent me to the surgeon with a form stating that I had a hiatal hernia instead of an inguinal hernia.
2) The surgeon’s office sent paperwork for me to fill out before my appointment. It was mailed Tuesday; my appointment was at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday.
3) The surgeon was a half hour late for my appointment, so Peggy and I took the liberty of reading my chart. Before the nurse took it from us, we discovered that I had been wrongly diagnosed with acid reflux and a missing left ball.
4) When I went for my pre-surgical appointment with the anesthesiologist, he said he had no idea why I was there. His office called the surgeon’s office for an order, but the surgeon’s staff was not yet answering their phone. Peggy went and got the information.
5) When I went to Oregon Imaging for my chest x-ray, I learned that I was scheduled to have it done at the Sacred Heart. I denied this. Since it is unusual for an outpatient to go to the hospital for an x-ray, Oregon Imaging called the hospital and learned that I had been admitted through the ER and was in room 683. The hospital was sure of this, and the lady at Oregon Imaging was equally sure that I was standing in front of her. I got my x-ray at Oregon Imaging.
6) After Oregon Imaging straightened out where I was to be x-rayed, they informed me that the surgeon had neglected to say why I was to be x-rayed. This meant that my HMO wouldn’t pay for the x-ray. I refused to pay for it myself so, after much discussion, they assured me that they had arranged things so that my HMO would pay for it.
7) After returning home, I called my HMO to be sure the surgeon’s office had contacted them to okay my surgery. My HMO was surprised to learn that I had a hernia, and they suggested that I “build a fire under the staff at the surgeon’s office”.
8) I called my internist to ask if my surgeon had called him to ask if he wanted to see me before my surgery (the surgeon had said he would call as soon as I left the office). The internist didn’t know I had been to a surgeon.