- This is the office that had my dad down as insulin dependent in his file when he wasn't and told him that he had liver damage and needed to stop drinking, when he doesn't.
- This is the doctor who broke the news to my mother than she has arthritis in her hands and legs and when asked, what type, told her just "regular arthritis", then when questioned further (rheumatoid? osteo?) he told her that he knew she would be a "difficult patient".
- Let's also not foget that he prescribed Vioxx for her and then continued to be willing to renew the prescription long after the FDA pulled the pills from the shelf (thankfully I listen to NPR and forwarded the radio broadcast the day the story broke). The doctor also continues to mis-prescribe my dad's diabetes and blood-thinning pills, writing the wrong dosage and/or quantities down.
- This is also the office that forces you to make separate appointments for separate ailments. Got a sore thumb on your left hand and an ingrown nail on your right? Make two separate appointments, and don't even think of trying to slip your unrelated symptom into the first consultation.
I'm sure you can already see where this is going, but I'll continue...
So, the nurse tries to syringing-out the offending ball of wax, but it's a bit stubborn. Three painful tries later, she gives up and tells my dad to go home and put drops of olive-oil in his ear for a week, to try and soften up the wax.
The next day my dad wakes up with an earache... and the rest you know. Except, this is what the emergency nurse told him:
- The doctor's nurse should never have tried to syringe his ear without FIRST having him soften the wax with a week's worth of HOT (missing detail there) olive-oil treatment.
- In doing so, the nurse had certainly caused the inner-ear infection my dad now had AND had possibly damaged his ear-drum in the process - she would have been able to know for sure, but the swelling in his ear was so severe she couldn't see down his ear canal.
So, my dad is now home with anti-biotics, holding his head, unable to sleep and fearing that he had again lost any hope of hearing in his left ear. If that incompetent nurse has destroyed his chances of restoring hearing to that ear, my parents should definitely sue! But honestly, it probably won't happen. The sad thing about the NHS (National Health System) is that you get "assigned" a doctor based upon where you live, and if you make a complaint about him or her, you get blacklisted and no other doctor will take you on their books.
Fear-not, I have not lost my belief in socialized medicine completely but there are two ends of the spectrum - England is on one end and the U.S. is on the other. Neither work and the only people that suffer is the patient.
This is my wonderful Dad. I'll let you know how his eardrum is....