Here, a well-meaning patient simply wants instructions on what to do after surgery:
I recently had an outpatient surgical procedure at a large and well-known Boston area medical [center]. In a series of pre-op appointments, I was given a 3-page set of instructions covering the pre-op and post-op care and medications. I took them home and read every word. On the day of surgery, I was given another set of post-op instructions to take home and when I read them, after the surgery, I realized they contradicted some of the earlier instructions for post-op care and medications. I returned to the Dr. (who was the surgeon) 24 hours later for a follow-up visit and, before the Dr. saw me, I was given a third (and shorter) list of instructions for post-op. These contradicted both previous instructions in some points of care and medication and referenced medications that had not been prescribed. All 3 sets of instructions were pre-printed, standard instructions for this important but relatively simple procedure. I spoke to the Dr. about the conflicting instructions and was told that someone was re-writing the instructions (and had been re-writing them for more than a month).
But what the person got was conflicting — and potentially dangerous — instructions from an inept, non-compassionate institution:
My impulse was to throw away all the instructions and function on my own informed intuition. However, I have no medical or pharmaceutical training and no previous experience with this kind of surgery and the medications I'm prescribed cost me $131 in co-payment. This same scenario is what leads to re-admittance. As I was never an in-patient, perhaps if I mess up my post-op home-care and need to be admitted to the hospital I won't become a RE-admitted statistic...Tomorrow I return to the Dr. for my second post-op check-up. I'm going to recommend they contract me to copy-edit all the pre-printed patient instructions, identify the discrepancies and have medical staff correct them. I'd even do it as a volunteer. But I must say, I'm questioning the quality of care I receive from this organzation.
This program aired on February 8, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.