Friday, October 17, 2008

I Knew There Was A Reason I Hated Philly...

Let me say this right now, to get it out of the way: I really, really, really don't like the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I think it's an extremely cold, impersonal place that does not know the basic concept of communication and dignity. I also believe that they are extremely loose with their patients' time and their patients' families' time, without the understanding that the sickness is difficult enough without having precious, precious days off wasted with useless office visits. I understand that Dr. Comcast might be the greatest surgeon in the entire universe when it comes to this stuff, but I cannot WAIT to end my association with this hellhole.

Again, here's what I was TOLD by Dr. Rifkin: The Boy will be getting a biopsy in Philadelphia on Friday. He was to have no food after midnight, clear liquids until 6. If the biopsy revealed an infection, yadda yadda yadda. If it was a tumor, yadda yadda yadda. I've said this before.

Here's what actually happened: we arrived at 9AM promptly. Our name was not in the doctor's computer plan, but Dr. Comcast came out and said, "The Boy is absolutely expected." They took us into the examination room, weighed him, measured him, and left us for the doctor. He came in the office, showed us the CT scans, and said, "Now we have to schedule the biopsy next week, and we'll schedule the surgery for the following week."

...

What?

...

Now, I can think of two possible reasons for this to happen. Reason number one is that Dr. Rifkin lied to us about the biopsy. Did she hear "they need to come in for a checkup so we can schedule the biopsy" and interpret that as "the biopsy will be tomorrow"? Reason number two is that CHOP lied to Dr. Rifkin. She's told us for weeks that she was trying to get the biopsy scheduled so we could make one trip to Philly, total. So, they told her that we'd do the exam and the biopsy on the same day, then went and did whatever the hell they wanted to do.

I'm positive that it was reason two. I'm positive that they out and out mislead Dr. Rifkin so they could shut her out of the procedure. They never had any intention of following through with what they told her.

It gets worse.

After our five minute conversation with Dr. Comcast, he introduced us to the lady who schedules the surgery. The scheduling process took about 45 minutes - we're now talking 10 AM by the the time this was done. (The biopsy will be on Tuesday the 21st, the surgery on Thursday the 30th.) We then went down to the Anaesthesia Resource Center for our "checkup." We got weighed and measured again. Then, they put us in an examination room and left us alone.

For an hour and a half. Although, after an hour, The Wife went for a sandwich and gave The Boy food for the first time in fourteen hours.

The nurse finally came and took the same patient history that we had given (two and a half hours) earlier in the day. They told us that The Boy would have a vein accessed in order to give two units of blood for tests - apparently, anyone who's received a blood transfusion needs to have a blood cross and check within two weeks of the surgery.

I flipped. They weren't going to try to access it through the port, they were going to be shooting for an IV in his hand. No way in hell was this happening. They couldn't do this during the biopsy, where he'd be sedated? Well, she finally called a few people to find the whole story. It turns out that they need the blood within three days of the surgery, so they wanted us to come in the Tuesday before the Thursday surgery.

Right. Drive fifty miles and take another day off of school to give blood. Hell no.

We argued until they agreed to do the blood tests the morning of the surgery. Then, they took the same medical history that they took upstairs (at this point, three hours earlier) and told us to go home. The total amount of "examination" that they did? She listened to his heart through a stethoscope. They did validate our parking, though.

We inserted our ticket into the machine, and machine wouldn't take it. The Wife had to get out to stop the traffic behind us in order that we can back out. Then, we find out that the parking price was knocked down to "only" $3, and I got 17 singles as change.

Here's my problem: not a single god-damned thing that we did today couldn't have been done over the telephone. Nothing. Dr. Comcast didn't examine the baby at all - neither did any doctor on his team. The ARC nurse didn't examine him worth crap. There was no need, in the remotest, to lie to us and to mislead us into believing that the biopsy would be today. Considering the length of travel - 85 miles each way at $2.90 a gallon is an awful lot - and the difficulty of getting days off as a teacher, I think they could have been a LITTLE bit considerate. They could have given it one second's worth of thought and understanding. They could have listened to ONE G-D CONVERSATION that they'd had with Dr. Rifkin - ONE G-D CONVERSATION that they'd had over the past seven weeks that we've been waiting for these JERKS to figure out what hell is wrong with this.

Why am I really so ticked off about this? Lots of reasons. The first is the complete lack of sleep and tripling of stress that we suffered Thursday night, waiting for the stupid biopsy to happen. The second is the loss of money that I suffered by skipping my choir rehearsal at night to pack for our indefinite time-period stay in Philly. The third is the loss of two days' of marching band rehearsals and one day of teaching. The fourth reason is that I get three days, total, of family illness time. Any days that I take now will be - likely - unpaid family leave. This means that if I want to be in the hospital for the biopsy or the surgery or any followups, it will cost me approximately $327 in pay per day. Which means, all told, that today wound up costing me around $450 - the loss of pay for the surgery day on the 30th, plus choir rehearsal plus gas plus other incidentals.

All because they don't know how to make a damned telephone call.

These people had better be damned good at their jobs.

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