Friday, May 27, 2011

Common Sense

common sense 


sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.

There must be some odd phenomenon within an organization that does not allow for common sense. I didn’t study organizational psychology when I got my degree in psych but the psychology of a business has always fascinated me. It seems as if individuals can have common sense (not all, of course) but organizations or large collectives of people usually cannot (such as care facilities, to name just one example).

As you may have gathered from my previous post, I was a bit upset with New Home recently. They wanted to take Robert to an ER for a non-emergency x-ray and urinalysis. He has been experiencing some back pain, which I suspect is from sore muscles from his recent falls. I suggested he be seen by the New Home doctor and since his monthly check-up was just around the corner, agreed to wait for that.

The New Home doctor examined Robert and thought the pain was caused by sore muscles but suggested an x-ray and urinalysis to rule out anything more serious. New Home then told me Robert had to go the ER for an x-ray and lab work. I was told the reason was that the doctor affiliated with New Home didn’t have a lab or imaging center he was affiliated with and this somehow was related to Medi-Cal not reimbursing doctors as much as they used to. This didn’t make any sense to me. Unless they picked up the guy on the freeway off-ramp holding a sign, “Will work for food,” slapped a lab coat on him and called him doctor, I’m pretty sure the doctor can write an order which you can then take to a lab or imaging center. I did not see any reason to sit in an ER for non-emergency lab work and x-rays.

Yesterday, I pressed the issue further and higher up the chain of command. This time, I was told the reason Robert had to go to the ER (not for bashing his head this time, remember, but for an x-ray and pee test) was because New Home assumed he couldn’t pee in a cup and he would have to be catheterized.

Oh my god. Are you kidding me? Really?

Did you ask anyone? Did you ask Robert if he can pee in a cup? Did you call me to ask if he can pee in a cup? Why would you just assume he can’t without even asking and then subject him to an invasive (and ouch! painful) procedure??

Guess what. He can. He does it at every neurology appointment because his neurologist regularly checks Robert’s labs. He can pee in a cup.

Oh, well, then we can take him to a regular lab. And an imaging center since we’ll be over in that area.

Dripping with insincere concern and sweetness, “It’s no problem, Trish. We didn’t know he could pee in a cup. We’ll get that done today. Do you have any other concerns?”

Let's see, Robert won’t have to go the ER, waiting forever and missing Day Program. The ER doctor and all the other staff in the ER can turn their attention to actual emergencies. The New Home staff person can use that time and energy on other clients because she won’t be wasting her time sitting in the ER for an unnecessary catheterization on one of her clients.

Robert won’t have to undergo an uncomfortable procedure because of a lack of common sense and a complete lack of an ability to communicate.

Yes, I have concerns. How much time do you have?


Unknown said...

Hi Robert, were part of the same facebook group. Sometimes we have to be the advocates of our loved ones against medical professionals. I admire you very much for what you're doing. In my wife's family I have been seeing greed take precedence over the care of family. It's nice to see some people still care for their families.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Dennis, Sometimes it's hard to be an advocate (especially if you dislike conflict) but it is necessary when dealing with care homes, hospitals, etc. People handle the stress of sick loved ones differently and not everyone can be a caregiver. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's family. It must be difficult for your wife (and you) to deal with that. Take care and thanks for commenting! Trish