Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Matter of Principle

Man, I hate bureaucracy. From a sociological point of view, I understand its necessity and I understand that bureaucracy is the only way to handle large groups of people seeking the same service - in this case, patients at a hospital. From a model of efficiency, bureaucracy is necessary and important.

But, MAN, is it frustrating. The communication between the levels of bureaucracy that we're dealing with right now is non-existent. That's frustrating, particularly since everything seems to be running fast and loose and on the borders of the realities of the hospital.

For the first thing, my oncologist has been communicating directly with Dr. Comcast - meaning that there's no real record of their calls, other than what they've said to each other. For the second, my doctor has been telling Dr. Comcast for six weeks now, that us getting to Philly is a real difficulty because of: 1) the prohibitive length of the drive (2 hours, which isn't that bad, all things considered), 2) the lack of friends / family in the vicinity, meaning that we're dependent upon hotels or charity for a place to stay, and 3) the fact that, as teachers, it's extremely difficult to get the time off.

For the third, it's a really big stretch to say that Dr. Rifkin misunderstood Dr. Comcast. It's a large leap from "we're going to meet to schedule the biopsy" to "we're going to do the biopsy." I don't understand how that happens. Then, to cram a 13-month old into a six-by-ten office for an hour and a half, as we wait for somebody to come talk to us, is unreasonable and impractical, to say the least. If they had nobody to speak with us, they should have allowed us to wait in the waiting area, where he'd be able to move around and explore his environment, rather than staying in a small room and crowded hallway.

We've received a bit of feedback from people who had pointed out CHOP's sterling reputation as the leading pediatric oncology center on the east coast. I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying that they treated us worse than shabbily and either lied or mislead our doctors and us, AND that they cost me, personally, quite a bit of money outside of doctor's fees, gas, tolls, parking and food (which are expensive enough as it is).

I'm leaving an e-mail for the customer service people. Tomorrow, I'm going to call my oncologist to complain, and I'm also going to call CHOP to make CERTAIN that they're actually going to perform the procedure and not just taking him down for a checkup AGAIN.

If they don't do it on Tuesday, watch for my head to explode.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry you guys are having such a difficult time with this Dr.! I doubt he will ever understand the financial difficulties others have (speaking of county sucks at teacher pay!).

It's not like David is an adult and can understand why he can't eat while he's hungry and it was all for nothing.