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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you have any stories of extreme medical incompetence?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36384points) April 17th, 2014

Went to my Dr., who I think is the greatest, for a full workup. They ran a bunch of labs. His “clerk” (for lack of a better label) called me with the results a couple of days later.
One of the things she told me was that my sodium levels were low, instructed me to go off of my blood pressure meds.

I told her that was scary because my bp is out of this world with out them. She said to just check my blood pressure every now and again and get back to them.

So, the next day, first day without, I took it. 138/82. Not bad. 10 points higher than normal.

Yesterday, the 2nd day, sure as hell it was 166/92.

I put in a call, had to leave a message.

Some dumb idiot named Stacy, young thing, called me back. She said I just needed to stay off the bp med and keep a log and drink lots of water.

I said, “I already drink lots of water and I don’t NEED to keep a log! I know exactly what’s going to happen. Come tomorrow it’s going to be 200+/100+!”

She said, “Well, just keep a log and we’ll find out.”

I said, “Look! 200+ is a stroke waiting to happen! WHY am I even off of them? Why are we putting me at risk like this?”

“Um, I don’t know. Just…just keep a log and drink lots of water.


Then the idiot said, ”Well, just take them at random and keep a log and drink lots of water.

I said, “Take my blood pressure meds at random???? Why would we want to make my bp go up and down at random????

“Well, you don’t know that it will, so just keep a log, then get back to us.”


She started getting pissy and finally I said, “Look. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to talk to the Doctor and find out WHY I’m off my bp meds.

She kind of sniffed and said, “Fine. I’ll do that and I’ll call you BACK, OK??”

Dr. called me back. Big misunderstanding. Told me to get back on the meds now, and he’d talk to Stacy first thing in the morning. Maybe there’ll be a job opening for me there now.

If you don’t know what the F*** you’re doing, you sure as hell shouldn’t be dispensing random medical advice.

You ever have anything like this happen to you?

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24 Answers

Juels's avatar

Wow. She is a lawsuit waiting to happen… My sister had to have a kindey stone removed. After a couple years of pain, they discovered that a staple was left inside her bladder. Idiots!

GloPro's avatar

Oh, wow. There’s a lesson for all of us on hearing medical instruction straight from your doctor and not a receptionist. I’m glad you skyrocketed your blood pressure being so insistent, too. Moron. She’s probably still pissed at you and refusing to acknowledge she spoke out of turn.

I have a friend who went in for gall bladder surgery. The doc nicked her small intestine and she ended up septic. Her cilla, the little finger-like things lining your intestines that move your bolus along, died and atrophied away. They cannot grow back or be replaced. At only 41 she cannot eat solid food and is fed nutrients through a port in her arm. Forever. I can’t imagine.

ibstubro's avatar

Stacys now rule the world. They are minimum wage workers that get off on the power trip, but keep their employers from having to deal with the unwashed masses. You should have demanded to talk to your doctor, personally.

At my insurance office, she’s named “Robin”. Now if I call and Robin answers the phone, I say, “Hi, Robin. Are you capable of taking a message for Karen or Charles, or should I call back?” If someone is bound to talk down at the other during the call, I feel like I should just get mine in right off the bat. They aren’t paying me a cent to take crap off of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OMG. At least mine was caught (by me.)

I really think she had no clue that these were powerful meds we were talking, not vitamins or asprin.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro I did talk to the doctor.

Seek's avatar

Wow. Nothing so extreme as any of these, it was just how it went.

My grandmother had an operation on her shoulder, and a piece of gauze or a sponge or something was left inside. It caused an infection that she never bounced back from. She was 89. I understand it’s something that happens occasionally. Things get messy, it’s not really anyone’s fault.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ Going to the Store Seek! Check my fb post!

JLeslie's avatar

Many. My mom takes BP meds and when you take those meds you are supposed to watch your potassium intake (by the way, that might be the case for you and if your consuming a lot of potassium I think it could drive your sodium number down). Anyway, she needed to get a colonoscopy and she told the doctor last time she had one her blood pressure was uncontrollable for days. She hypothesized it was the prep liquid she drank, because it has electrolytes in it. He prescribed a different liquid this time. She figured if it is still some sort of liquid it still is high potassium so she called me to look it up. The warning specifically for that med is not to give it to people on certain blood pressure meds and hers by name is listed.

My dad coincidently for his second colonscopy told the doctor he wanted a different anasthesia because last time he felt very unwell after the procedure. They didn’t listen to him, gave him the same drug, he didn’t check until after the fact. His heart rate down into the 30’s and they had to wheel him over to the emergency room. Luckily, his doctor is in the medical building that is also a hospital. Idiots.

My dad was taking Propulsid, a drug for GERD, and then was prescribed Sporonox at the same time. My mom called me to look it up, and I already happen to know the two are contraindicated for each other. They are a black box warning, which basically means it is a serious danger of great harm or loss of life. Both drugs were prescribed by the same doctor and both drugs are the same drug company, and I know the reps who sell those drugs tell the doctor the warning, unless he had an idiot rep. No matter what, why don’t doctors bother to read warnings?

One time in the early years if my hypothyroid diagnosis a nurse called me back with a blood result and to tell me she called in a script for a higher dose. I told her with that result my dose should be lower not higher. She started to argue with me and then finally out me on hold. When she came back she said I was right. How can a nurse in endocrinology not realize that a mistake was made? This is basic stuff.

My roomate had a bad PAP smear and her doctor never told her. This was back when to get the pill doctors would have you come in every six months. He figured when she came for the repeat PAP they would see what that one looks like. She was pissed, because what if she had gone off the pill and didn’t go back in six months.

My dad had heart bypass when he was 46. During the surgery they attempted to use a mammory artery in lieu of a leg vein, but the artery was also very blocked so they did the typical think and took a leg vein. Being that young when you have a large blockage, he was over 70% blocked in his left main artery from the heart, which is nicknamed the widow maker) means you likely are going to block up fast again. Being that young means probably something genetic, and indeed his mom died young from a heart attack. He went for check ups every year and the doctor he was seeing never listened to his neck nor did an ultrasound on his neck. After many years his doctor changed. This one did listen, then next thing he knows he needs surgery on one carotid artery (the main arteries in the neck to the brain that are in your neck). This surgery is typically extremely successful, best if done when the artery is not extremely blocked. When they did the surgery the doctor said it was so blocked he was afraid a clot or plaque would break free so he tied the artery off completely. His previous doctor should have been checking it all along with his history of heart disease. Incompetence. My dad is part of the 30% of people who have a perfect system in their head to move blood from one side of the brain to the other. If he had been part of the majority completely tying off his blood supply on one side would have resulted in stroke.

A relative of mine showed me he had something wrong with his feet and also it was in the cuticles of his nails. It was a really bad case of warts. I told him to go to the doctor. The doctor prescribed cream for a fungal infection! I was so pissed. I told him to go to another doctor, a specialist this time, and that doctor diagnosed it correctly and fixed the problem.

There are more, but I’ll stop there.

Cruiser's avatar

I had nearly the identical thing happen to me. Last fall I was getting dizzy when I stood up and these dizzy spells were starting to happen every day and one day it lasted for almost 20 minutes. I called the doc and they said to immediately come into the office. That day my doc was off so I saw the nurse practitioner who examined me and said I was really dehydrated despite the fact I drink a lot of water and told me to stop taking the “water pills”. Well things were not any better so I made an appointment with my doc and when he saw me he said that is not what I should be doing as now my BP was posting similar numbers 158/106 plus I had gained 15 pounds in water weight. I am back on a half dose and things are all bettah!

jtvoar16's avatar

A few years ago, I had appendicitis. The thing is though, I’m dirt poor, and didn’t want to go to the hospital. I stayed at home, trying to make the pain stop for around 24 hours till a friend finally forced me into the emergency room. Once there, I was pretty well taken care off. The trouble started /after/ the first doctor said I had appendicitis.

The surgeon who worked on appendicitis cases wasn’t going to come to the hospital I was at, so they had to transport me to the one he would be at, which wasn’t going to be much longer. Once I got to the hospital, I was told I would be taken in within 30 minutes.
When we actually got into the building, no one there knew I was coming in for surgery. So they stuck me in an over-flow room, did some more tests… then promptly forgot about me. About an hour, maybe two, it was hard to tell in the small, lonely room, a nurse happened by, and asked what I was doing. I told her, and she said I was supposed to be prepped long ago, so she would push me down to the surgery rooms. She got lost. She actually had to roll me into an active surgery to ask where I should be put.
So, after about an hour of wondering around, I finally made it to the prep room. The surgeon came in, talked to me, and everything was finally going great. He said I would be under the knife in about 20 min.
An hour and a half later, the surgeon, himself, walks into my room and asks me, blatantly, as if it were my fault, “What the hell are you still doing here? You need to be in surgery NOW!”
By this point I was in so much pain and was so tiered I just shrugged. The surgeon was the one who actually pushed me into the operating room.
Then, after I woke up, got out of the hospital, and saw my bill, I realized there was something wrong with it. It was more expensive then it should have been. After A LOT of red-tape bullshit, I came to find out, I died on the table for about 45 seconds. The nurse that woke me up called this “a little problem, but everything went fine!”
Also, the reason, apparently, that I wasn’t taken care of in the prep room was because there was a massive car accident involving 3 of the on-duty nurse’s family members. So, I can somewhat understand that I was forgotten at that point, but what about all the other times?

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time a friend of my ex-bosses went to see a Dr. here in town (the same one I was seeing at the time, who prescribed muscle relaxers for me for what turned out to be life threatening pneumonia.) She went in complaining of chest pain and not being able to breath. It was a Friday, mid morning, and they close at noon on Fridays. My boss thinks the Dr. didn’t want to screw with it because they were closing soon and maybe he had to go fishing or something important He sent her home with instructions to take aspirin and come back on Monday.
She died of massive heart failure that night.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Years ago my friend’s SIL went to the ER after having had recently given birth to her fourth child. She was concerned she was having a heart attack. Doctors should know about cardiac problems related to pregnancy, it is rare, but not that rare. Anyway, they sent her home from the ER and she died that night. Since she had recently given birth they really missed what should have been cause for more concern.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh my God. That poor baby had to grow up without a mom for no reason. How devastating.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Their oldest child was 12 or 13 at the time, the other two in elementary school, and then the new infant. The father died several years later! It really was awful. I remember a relative took the children at that point, but I don’t remember which relative. The oldest child was already a young adult.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That makes me want to cry. Did they file suit by any chance?

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know. I know there was discussion of suing. I am still in touch with that friend, but only talk to her 3 or 4 times a year. I don’t bring it up. the last time I talked to her about her brother was when he died, and I just let her talk mostly, I didn’t ask many questions. That was almost ten years ago.

redhen4's avatar

I had a complete hysterectomy due to endometriosis. I ended up being in the hospital for 5 days because I was running a fever and they couldn’t figure out why. At some point I was talking to the doctor and I must have asked him how the surgery went, because at that point he got all defensive and said he’d left my cervix in and “you wouldn’t have known if I didn’t tell you!”

He should have told me, yes it was important, and I thought he was just a young immature a$$. I found a new doctor after that.

Judi's avatar

My cousin went to tbe ER with stomach pain. She didn’t have insurance. They gave her pain pills and sent her home where she died that night.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi What did she die from? Did the family sue the hospital?

Judi's avatar

I am not sure. She is actually my cousins daughter and I am not real close with them. They are a strange sort and I’m not sure they had it together enough to really ask all the questions I would have asked.

Aster's avatar

An elderly lady where we used to live gave into her doctor’s pressure to have a colonoscopy. They perforated her intestine and she died. Her husband never filed a lawsuit; I guess he was too old and traumatized. to go through it. Maybe the doctor was an intern? Although I’m sure most are quite competent.
My daughter is a nurse and told me that leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient is not that unusual. They actually sort of joke about it , she said, in surgery. That’s all she told me.

talljasperman's avatar

@Aster I have to get a colonoscopy and I am scared. Maybe I should cancel it.

JLeslie's avatar

@talljasperman It’s very rare. You can see if a virtual colonscopy is available if you are very terrified.

Aster's avatar

@talljasperman all I can say is I know several people who had one and they’re all alive and well. One man, a senior, had such a huge polyp it began bleeding when they tried to excise it and he had to be rescheduled with some sort of specialist who got the whole thing out. Now he’s in his eighties and outside pulling weeds and/or shoveling snow. The only thing I question about them is the prep. If you are 110 pounds or 300 pounds you get the same prep. Too much trouble to custom make the stuff. If I had one planned I’d take half the amount.

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