Finding Chemo

, , , | | Hopeless | May 27, 2018

(I’m a pre-med student shadowing a doctor to get some experience before I apply to medical school. We’re in the back office, where the doctors all convene at the end of the day to go over their patients and any potential problems or things that need coordinating. The doctor I’m shadowing is [Doctor #1].)

Doctor #1: “Here’s a problem, guys. This patient needs five rounds of chemotherapy, and now, four rounds in, his insurance decides they aren’t covering it, and he definitely can’t afford it on his own.”

Doctor #2: “That’s bulls***. Give me the case file. I’ll drop it with [Office Social Worker], and if she doesn’t have the insurance company begging to pay for it within three days, she’s not the magician I think she is.”

Doctor #3: “What if it takes longer, though? He’s scheduled to get his last round on Friday, four days from now.”

Doctor #1: “If it looks like it’ll take longer, we give him the chemo, anyway. If the insurance comes through, we’ll forward-date it to the time when he’s covered. If [Office Social Worker] just can’t make it happen, though, we give him the chemo, anyway, and request a round from [Free Charity Hospital] to be delivered here, since he’s getting all his stuff done here. It’ll take a few weeks for it to be delivered, but our next inventory isn’t for a month. That’ll give us time to get it into our system so our numbers match. One way or another, this guy is getting his chemo on Friday.”

(Later, as we’re getting ready to leave, I ask:)

Me: “Should I have been in the room for that? It’s not really fraud, but altering the dates on the paperwork is definitely not something they’ll go over in med school.”

Doctor #1: “That’s exactly why I wanted you in the room for that discussion. That’s a thing you need to learn early and well: how to get your patients the care they need, even when the paperwork or the insurance isn’t exactly right. None of what we were discussing was completely kosher, but it wasn’t completely illegal, either, and more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Your job as a doctor is to take care of your patients, no matter what else gets in the way.”

(It was an important lesson, and one I learned well. I’m starting my residency now, and at least once a week, I find myself wondering, “What would [Doctor #1] do?” It’s yet to steer me wrong!)

Carrot Top, Meet Carrot Bottom…

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 18, 2018

(I’m a medical student. My neighbor who is a doctor tells me this story. She has a patient with something stuck.)

Neighbor: “So, you were cleaning the kitchen naked, tripped, and ended up with a carrot up your rectum?”

Patient: *red-faced* “Yes…”

Neighbor: “Honey, I’m a doctor. This is far from the weirdest case I’ve had. I also don’t have the right to comment on people and their experiments.”

Patient: “So, when will I get this out?”

Neighbor: “After the proctologist sees you.”

Survival Of The Fittest In Action

, , , , | | Healthy | May 14, 2018

Me: “Hello, this is [Doctor]’s office. Can I help you?”

Patient: “Yeah, is there an injection I can get for my gout?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I think we only give injections for muscle pain, but I can double-check for you.”

Patient: “Yeah, check. I’m going away this weekend and my ankle really hurts. My primary doctor says it’s not gout. I had these labs done, and they all say it’s not gout, but it really hurts.”

Me: “It’s not gout, but you want to know about a gout injection?”

Patient: “Well, they say it’s not gout, but I was at a bar and a guy looked at it and said, ‘That’s gout, all right!'”

Me: *pause* “A guy at the bar?”

Patient: “Yeah. And he gave me one of his pills, and it really helped.”

Me: “You took a pill from some guy in a bar?!”

Patient: “Yeah, it really helped, and it was gout medicine, so I think I have gout. So, is there an injection?”

Me: “Hold, please.”

(At this point, I go ask my manager if a gout injection exists, which it doesn’t, and I explain the situation. She agrees that this is completely stupid, but that if the woman wants gout medication, we can prescribe it.)

Me: “Thanks for holding. Turns out there’s no injection for gout.”

Patient: “Really? My ankle’s killing me.”

Me: “Well, if the medicine you took worked for you, we may be able to write you a prescription for it.”

Patient: “Oh, I already have a prescription.”

Me: “You… already have a prescription that stops your pain? Are you taking it?”

Patient: “No, I thought an injection might be faster.”

Me: *long pause* “Is there anything else you need today?”

Patient: “No, thank you.” *click*

Me: “Oh. My. God.”

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Hippocrates Is Rolling Over In His Grave

, , , | | Healthy | May 13, 2018

Me: “Thank you for calling. How can I help you?”

Doctor: “I need to verify my patient’s coverage. Her number is [number].”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is a problem and I can’t access that account. I will have to forward this issue over to our technical department, and they will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Doctor: “I need this information immediately. Can I talk to them now? It’s very important.”

Me: “I’m sorry, they are very backed up over there and everything is handled in the order it is received. You will be added to the queue and they will get back to you later today.”

Doctor: “What if she was dying and I needed her coverage information? What then?!”

Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, if the patient was dying there in your office, I would hope you would treat her regardless of her insurance coverage.”

Doctor: “Well, yes — I mean… Just make sure they call me today.” *click*

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A Vampire And A Vulture

, , , , , | Romantic | May 2, 2018

(I’m 20 and have just had an appendectomy, but I also went in hypokalemic, so before they discharge me they want to check my blood. This happens around six am, so I’m very sleepy. The phlebotomist looks like he is about 40 years old. I should also add I hate my blood getting drawn, and I am NOT a morning person.)

Phlebotomist: “Good morning! I’m here to draw your blood so we can check and make sure you’re good to go! Might I say, you are very pretty!”

Me: “Um… Okay?”

Phlebotomist: *turning to my mom* “Might I be able to take your daughter on a date when she is recovered?”

Mom: *stunned*

Phlebotomist: “Don’t worry; it’ll be after she is recovered. My wife divorced me a few years ago, and I think she—” *meaning me* “—would like me very much.”

Mom: *trying to be nice to the man with a needle in my arm* “Well, sir, we aren’t from this area. She just had emergency surgery, but we live somewhere else.”

Phlebotomist: “That is no problem. I can come visit when she is feeling better.”

(At this time, he is done drawing my blood, and stands there waiting for confirmation, never addressing what I think.)

Mom: “Sir, it’s very early, and I think my daughter would like to go back to sleep. I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Phlebotomist: *to me* “What do you say? Would you like to go on a date?”

Me: “No. Bye.”

(Thankfully, I was discharged that morning.)

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