Needling Through The Lack Of Empathy

| CA, USA | Working | March 23, 2017

(I have to go to the hospital to get a spinal tap, which is normally a very easy procedure; however, I am terrified of needles to the point of panic or worse. A few days before, the charge nurse calls and I tell her that I will need sedation because there is a 99.9% chance I’ll flip out. She is extremely sweet and says it will be ready and she completely understands. The day of the procedure, the nurse working explains the procedure but has no mention of sedation or anything along those lines. When the phlebotomist comes to take my blood I start freaking out.)

Fiancé: “What about the IV for the sedative? Can you please take the blood through there before the saline and sedative are attached?

Nurse: “She is not getting a sedative. It is a simple procedure.”

Fiancé: “She called ahead. She is terrified of needles and will need sedatives so you can do the spinal tap.”

Nurse: “That is not necessary and overkill. I’ll see what we can do though.”

(When the nurse comes back, she without a word starts setting up the IV. As she starts trying to find my vein she gets increasingly frustrated, as my veins are hard to see when I am calm, much less freaking out. She starts off where my arm bends, stabbing that area four times with me getting more upset. She then goes to my wrist where she proceeds to jam into a bone causing me to lose it and go into a full panic attack. She goes to the forearm on the same arm and pokes me five or six times, finding the vein but being unable to thread it through.)

Fiancé: “Can you find the vein?”

Nurse: “Yes, but the needle won’t go in.”

Fiancé: “Maybe that is because she can’t breathe and can barely keep her arm still. Can you please give her a break?”

Nurse: “FINE!” *storms out, leaving the needle sticking out of my arm*

(My fiancé spends the next 15 minutes calming me down and keeping me from looking at or moving my arm until the charge nurse comes in.)

Charge Nurse: “Oh, my God, it’s still in her arm?!”

Fiancé: “Yes. Can you please take it out?!”

Charge Nurse: “Of course! I’ll be finishing the IV for you today, too.”

(The nurse spends a good ten minutes trying to figure out where to put the IV, as my right arm is mangled beyond belief and my left has already been used for a blood draw. When she finally finds a spot, she is in and out in five minutes. Ten minutes later, a male nurse comes in and takes me to a room to get the spinal tap done. I am waiting for ten minutes before the doctor comes in.)

Doctor: “All right, sweetheart, they need to take you back to the waiting area. You are getting a sedative and this room does not have the correct equipment to monitor your vitals.”

Me: “Seriously? This whole thing has been a nightmare. How does no one know I needed a sedative? I made sure that was clear before I came.”

Doctor: “I honestly don’t know because it is in your chart. It will be five more minutes and we will get this over with okay?”

(From that point on the whole thing (including the sedative) took about 25 minutes. When I went back into the waiting area, the nurse dismissed me within 20 minutes which ended up being a horrible idea because I reacted badly to the procedure. However the only solution to my reaction was to go get a blood patch at the same place, so I refused and dealt with serious pain throughout my head for 9 days. I realize I made an easy procedure harder; however, I was there from 7 am to 12:30. Had they listened to me from the beginning, it would have taken an hour, tops.)

The Mother Of All Billing Problems

| Oneonta, NY, USA | Working | March 23, 2017

(I just had my daughter. Halfway through my pregnancy I was forced to take a new doctor who kept saying I was going to have a small kid because I was small, and when I told him my son was almost eight pounds he laughed and said no way. When I was in labor they had my friend help because the nurses were in other rooms. I am so happy when I get home, but about a week after I get home I find a bill for having my daughter. My insurance covers all of it (same I had for when I had my son). First I call my insurance and they say they never got the bill, so I call the hospital and they send me to the billing section.)

Employee: “How can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I got this bill and my insurance covers everything.”

Employee: *a little nasty* “Well, maybe your insurance doesn’t cover all of it. A lot of people think their insurance covers everything and it doesn’t.”

Me: “I just called them and they said they never got it.”

Employee: “Oh… well, you need to give us your bill.”

Me: “I live an hour away and have a newborn. You can’t send them a copy?”

Employee: “No, we need to send them the exact bill you have right now.”

Me: “Fine.”

(I drive there and I can tell they are not too happy, but they give me a fake smile and take it. My insurance calls me to say they got the bill that day and got another copy (most likely the one I made them send) about three days after. Two weeks later I get a bill for $800, so once again I call them up.)

Employee #2: “Sorry, your insurance said they won’t pay for your pain killers.”

Me: “I didn’t get any and this bill says it is for the something else.”

Employee #2: “None? Well, you must be a pretty cra—”

Me: “I don’t want to hear it right now.” *the hospital kept making jokes about me not using pain killers the whole time I was there*

Employee #2: “Oh, it says they didn’t send this part of the bill. I will write down to rebill them.”

Me: “I am not driving up there to give you this bill and how did you not send them all the bill?”

Employee #2: “No, that is crazy. We don’t need your bill. Why would we make you drive up here?”

(She also never answers on how they hadn’t sent all of it. I tell her thanks and two weeks later get another bill for $300.)

Me: “I am starting to get a little agitated.”

Employee #3: “I am sorry, but your insurance said you had to pay.”

(I call the insurance and they tell me they paid for everything on the bill they got. When I call back I get Employee #3 again.)

Me: “They said they paid for all of it.”

Employee #3: “I will have to check. Don’t worry about this bill.”

Me: “I am not. Thank you, good-bye.”

(Two weeks later I get another bill for $25. I just pay, thinking it is low enough and as long as it ends it. Once again, two weeks after I get another bill for $25. Every bill I get states that each time the insurance is paid and even the last $25 is paid.)

Me: “I already paid you! My insurance paid you what is going on.”

Employee #4: “It says you still owe us.”

Me: “I have every bill you gave to me. I even made a copy of the original one. I paid your $25 so I should be all good.”

Employee #4: “You… kept all the bills?”

Me: “Of course. Even if it is all good I keep them.”

(I have learned to always keep a copy of your paid bills.)

Employee #4: “Let me talk to someone. I will be right back.”

(I hear the person running off. I wait and hear some fast loud talking voices but can’t make out what they say.)

Employee #4: “Okay, well, we will fix this. Don’t worry about your bill.”

Me: “I won’t.”

(I haven’t heard anything from them since. I ran into a few mothers who had kids around my daughter’s age and they said the same thing happened to them. Not sure if they kept mixing bills or it was a scam the hospital was trying.)

A Miscarriage Of Service

| USA | Working | March 21, 2017

(My mom is pregnant with her first child when she is told by the doctor that she has suffered a miscarriage, which devastates her. She is told to come in for an aftercare procedure a week later.)

Nurse: “Okay, we’ll just do a quick ultrasound to check that everything’s in order, and then we’ll begin.”

Mom: “Okay.”

Nurse: *looks at ultrasound results and blanches* “Um, I’m sorry, Ms. [Mom], will you excuse me for a moment?” *steps outside*

Nurse: *returns, looking harried* “Um, well… it seems there’s been a mistake.”

Mom: *worried* “What kind of mistake?”

Nurse: “It appears that there was no miscarriage. Your baby’s still alive.”

Mom: “What?!”

Nurse: “I’m very sorry, Ms. [Mom]. I don’t know how this could have happened…”

Mom: “But it’s alive? It’s okay?”

Nurse: “Yes, and of course we’ll run further tests, but from what I can tell it seems perfectly healthy.”

(The doctor later came to apologize for his mistake, but by then my mother had already made the decision to switch to someone else’s care. My older brother was, happily, delivered without incident.)

Be-Labor-ing The Point Too Much

| Peterborough, ON, Canada | Working | March 9, 2017

(I’m roughly seven months pregnant, and I’m 18 years. While having a shower, I notice a bit of blood, and discover that I’m heavily spotting, which should not be happening at this point in my pregnancy. Just to make sure everything is all right with my baby, I head to the hospital with my mom. This conversation happens after I’ve already been checked in and waiting on a hospital bed in the emergency department.)

Nurse #1: *motions to a swab* “We’re going to take a swab from you to determine if you’re in pre-term labor. This shouldn’t hurt, so don’t worry.”

Me: *nodding in agreement* “All right. I really hope I’m not.”

(Nurse #1 takes the swab and puts it in a sterile bag for processing. She leaves, telling me that it shouldn’t take too long to test. We wait only a half hour before another nurse, Nurse #2, comes to the side of my hospital bed with a strange look on her face, somewhere in between concern and disgust.)

Nurse #1: *looking sternly at me, speaking in a condescending manner* “Have you been… putting stuff ‘up there’?”

Me: *confused* “Uh… excuse me?”

Nurse #1: *again, condescending tone* “You know! Like… STUFF. Have you been… ‘playing’ with yourself with strange objects? Or having unprotected sex?!”

(My mom and I exchange weird looks. I assume she MUST be joking or something, since I often miss jokes completely or misunderstand.)

Me: *laughing and sarcastic, as I haven’t done anything even REMOTELY sexual throughout the entire pregnancy and have been essentially asexual* “Oh, yeah, ALLLLLL the time….”

Nurse #1: *yelling* “WELL, NOW YOU’VE PURPOSELY ENDANGERED YOUR CHILD BECAUSE YOU DECIDED TO BE SLUTTY INSTEAD OF RESPONSIBLE. THERE IS A TON IF BACTERIA ‘UP THERE’ THAT I CAN ONLY ASSUME IS CAUSING YOUR PRE-TERM LABOR. YOU COULD LOSE YOUR CHILD! HOW DARE YOU!”

([Nurse #2 stomps off, muttering JUST loud enough for me to hear that I’ve “just killed my baby,” repeatedly. I’m confused and start to cry because I’m pregnant, overly emotional, and obviously I don’t want my baby to die. Nurse #1 comes back and hands me a tissue with a sympathetic look on her face.)

Nurse #1: “I’m sorry, sweetie. You ARE in fact in pre-term labor, so we’ll have to admit you and try to stop it. Gather your things and follow me; I have a private room for you on the labor ward.”

(I’m still crying and my mom at this point is fuming.)

Mom: “You had better make sure that [Nurse #2] stays the hell away from my daughter. What kind of person would say things like that to a pregnant girl?!”

Nurse #1: *apologetic* “I know. I’m so sorry. She’s very religious and makes comments like those all the time. I don’t know why she’s still here, honestly.”

(I ended up staying in the labor ward for a full week before I gave birth to my son, who came out huge and healthy, only needing CPAP for two days due to underdeveloped lungs. I saw Nurse #1 a few more times during my stay and each time she was incredibly kind to me. I never saw Nurse #2 again, and to this day I don’t know how “a ton of bacteria” got on my cervix. A couple of other nasty things happened at this hospital during my stay as well — which I’ll post separately — but those had nothing to do with the previous nurses.)

Def-Eat-ed

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Right | March 4, 2017

(A teenage girl who was seen earlier in my emergency department shift for vomiting has returned. When she was discharged earlier she was given prescriptions and told to only eat clear liquids for 24 hours. Her mother is with her.)

Patient: “I stopped vomiting while I was here but it started again when I was at home.”

Me: “Did you take the medicine you were prescribed?”

Mother: “The doctor said she should only eat clear liquids. That medicine is a pill. She can’t take it because it is not a clear liquid.”

Me: “Well, she should only eat clear liquids except for the medicine. The medicine will help control the vomiting.”

Mother: *starting to get louder and agitated* “I know what the doctor told her! I was sitting right here! You are not even the doctor! You don’t know! She can’t take that medicine because she can ONLY have clear liquids!”

(At this point then girl vomits again and I can clearly see undigested hamburger meat in the emesis bag.)

Me: “Did you eat a hamburger after you left the hospital earlier?”

Mother: “Well, she was hungry! She had to eat something!”

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