Monday, October 26, 2015
The Monsters Of Medicine: A True Story
There are evil people out there who took the Hippocratic Oath not to help others, but to help themselves. As a matter of fact, there are many of them out there.
In our (my wife and I) case, we became vulnerable to two of them after my wife had a massive stoke, paralyzing her entire left side. We discovered that our medical insurance was not what we thought when she was transferred to a Medicaid facility and assigned two doctors to monitor her care.
The facility is typical in today's reality, understaffed by people who are underpaid and most under trained, but as a rule they do their best to give my wife good care, and without them, we would be up the creek.
But that's not the real problem. The real problem was the two doctors who were supposedly managing her recovery. They had the routine of visiting once a month, chatting with the aides and nurses, and then proscribing whatever medicines they saw fit.
Nobody checked on them or what they were doing. After all, they were collage trained DOCTORS. I had the typical and naive attitude of trust towards them, never challenging their professional decisions.
What a mistake.
After over a year, I was allowed to take my wife home for a short overnight visit. The facility pill giver gave me the pills she would need overnight. Remember, she was recovering from a stoke, nothing else.
Here's the list of pills those two "doctors" had her taking daily, some of them up to four times a day:
The overnight trip is when I learned of all these meds. There were even other pills not on this list at different times, some of them very powerful, mid-altering drugs.
I started trying to contact these two pill pushers but they were always "in conference", "out of the office", or just plain "unavailable at this time". They never returned my calls. I constantly pressed the facility head nurse and social director for a reason why my wife was on such a massive schedule of meds and the answers were always evasive and non-committal. They were not about to shake the boat, one could lose their job over that.
Finally, after almost another year, she became so messed up she had to be taken to hospital. where she nearly died, taking ten days to recover. During that time, the hospital doctors became aware of the above list of meds, canceled them all but two, and one of the doctors mentioned to me they needed to do something about it. After all, she was in the nursing home for a stroke, not all the maladies those pills were for.
The "something about it" ended up being that those two "doctors" were told to leave the facility and kindly not return. Turns out they had a dozen other patients they were "caring" for there, some of them on an even heavier med schedule than my wife. Turns out they are/were "caring" for almost 800 other nursing home residents throughout the metroplex.
Pill pushers extraordinaire. Turns out drug companies give bonuses to doctors who peddle a lot of their products... the more they peddle the better the bonus. Never any actual money, that would be illegal. Yeah, right. There were a few more incredibly expensive meds they were dosing her with not on that list... one was a HIV-AIDS related pill that cost $3000 a month. Multiply that out by 12 months and 800 doped-up nursing home patients scattered around the Metroplex and somebody's making a lot of dough. Does my wife have HIV or AIDS? No. No STD'S either. They claimed they were giving her that pill as a "precaution", in case the virus suddenly showed up. None the less, when I challenged them (via the facility head nurse) on it, that pill was quickly stopped.
And that's just one example.
My wife's new doctor has her on three pills a day, only two of them on the above list: One low dose aspirin for stoke prevention, one for her thyroid condition, and one more for a sleep aid, if needed.
Want to ruin your evening? Look up some of those pills on Web MD and see what they can do to people, particularity when they are taken together.
The time my wife was on all those damned drugs - doped up to her eyeballs - was time that could have been used to recover from the stroke, Instead, most of the stroke affected muscles have atrophied and are no longer able to recover. She even had a thumb amputated recently because it had twisted around so badly.
My advice to you is avoid situations were self-serving MD's can get their claws into a loved one. If you can't, watch them like a hawk, challenge every decision, double check everything.
But look for them all to "circle the wagons" when you challenge just one of them. They stick together like glue. We lucked out with that hospital doctor that took some action.