Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Medical Miscommunications

As Canadians, we all know we are lucky to have such a good health system. I'm not always sure it's as good as it once was, as occasionally I seem to have a story to tell that illustrates that something needs to be fixed. I think my last grumble was when I had Shingles.

Yesterday I had a phone call from the local medical centre. The doctor wanted to know why I had cancelled my appointment with the dermatologist, and a nurse was calling to find out. I had only cancelled the appointment with a local dermatologist because I got in sooner somewhere else.

I saw my doctor last October because I had a sudden unusual growth on my lower leg. She didn't like the look of it, and said they would get me an appointment to have it removed, and biopsied. She warned me that if the dermatologist didn't like the results, I'd end up with another appointment to treat it further. 

Within a week, it had grown even bigger and the friction of my jeans knocked part of it off. When the office called me with the appointment for the end of February, I asked if there was any way I could get in sooner, as I really didn't like how fast this thing was growing. February seemed like a long way off.

After a couple of weeks, I called back and discovered that the medical centre had sent two requisitions into another facility, but had yet to get a reply.  They gave me the phone number and told me who to talk to, and who to say told me to call.  I got an appointment much quicker then, and went and had the growth removed in December.  The dermatologist took one look and declared it to be a form of skin cancer and removed it completely that day.  I'm glad I didn't have to wait.

One of my first chores of the new year was to cancel the appointment set for the end of February.  When the nurse called, I told her I'd already been somewhere else. That seemed to confuse her. I told her it was arranged through their office, and asked if they didn't already have a report from the dermatologist. She checked and said no.  Well, my appointment was five or six weeks ago, so I thought that it should be there by now. I expected that the report would come automatically, and she said no, not always.  I told her I'd filled out a form and there was a question on there about whether or not I had wanted the results sent to my family doctor. I had indicated that I did. I asked her to get it for my file.

When I knew who was calling, I thought the doctor just wanted to discuss the results with me but she not only didn't have them, she didn't even know I'd already seen the specialist.  One would think there would be better communications between medical offices, especially in this electronic era.  If you are waiting for medical results, or a promised appointment, don't hesitate to call and check on the status.

Oh that reminds me.....I'm still waiting to hear when I'm to go for some diagnostic tests for the bad knee I've been telling you about in the last couple of posts.