Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
If you have an upcoming outpatient test or procedure, be prepared to speak up for what you expect and not to settle for anything less. Disrespectful behaviors are increasingly common among stressed out healthcare workers, negatively impacting patients in a variety of ways. I saw this for myself when I went for follow-up CT scans.
I couldn’t have been in the CT machine for a minute when the technologist told me I was done and started to disconnect me from my contrast IV.
“How did you scan three areas so quickly?” I asked.
“We didn’t” he said. “We only have an order for a chest scan, so that’s all we did.”
Knowing what my order was for, I suggested he call the hospital registration desk (where I checked in half an hour earlier, only a couple of rooms away) or my oncologist’s office to quickly resolve the issue. How many patients have you encountered trying to obtain scans without a doctor’s order?” I asked the tech.
“Every minute that you hold up the machine is very expensive for the hospital,” he warned me.
“Have they gone from a per service to a minute-by-minute rate like a “no tell” motel?” I asked.
The tech reached for my IV again, and I warned him that if he touched me, my first call would be to my lawyer. That was enough to break our stalemate. He begrudgingly allowed me to make the one phone call to which even a prisoner is entitled. Fortunately, I reached a real person rather than a recording at my oncologist’s office and handed the tech my phone. They resent the missing orders and I was out the door in 10 minutes.
As I left, the tech warned me that CT scans emit high levels of radiation, and I might not want to have them so often. I told him I would pass on his concern to my oncologist who would take it under advisement. To my knowledge, however, CT scans are best for determining the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments, which have inherent dangers of their own.
I left the hospital having all the tests my doctor ordered, though many patients are bullied into leaving and returning another day to finish their tests. To avoid confusion, it is best to bring written doctor’s orders with you to your test.