Friday, August 11, 2006

You're fine, now go away

Frankly, having no insurance sucks.

NewFNP had a patient whom she began to treat for anemia last week when she entered our clinic with a heavy period and a hemoglobin of 7.2. For those not in the know, that qualifies as 'fucking anemic' as opposed to 'holy shit, is this patient ever anemic.' NewFNP's approach was three-fold:

1) iron supplementation (duh) and repeat hemoglobin in 48 hours
2) oral contraception (no provera available in the clinic)
3) CBC

Upon said patient's return, her hemoglobin had increased to 7.4, not an amount for which anyone will win any prizes but enough to calm any fears of imminent bleeding out. This is no faily tale, however as this lady's OCP was causing vomiting and a lot of it. NewFNP operates from a philosophy of avoiding insult to injury and, therefore, changed up homegirl's pills.

Alas, while the patient tolerated her new pills well, her menses was one tough customer and didn't feel the need to leave her the hell alone. She went to the ED and received 2 units of blood. Although newFNP did not see her in follow-up, she did see that her hemoglobin was a nice 11.8 the next week. Her period, however, was tenacious! It was not to be stopped by hormonal contraception alone. She was referred to an OB/GYN and received essentially no care.

She returned to newFNP's clinic the next day, clutching her head and crying in pain. She had been seen in the ED the night before, received no imaging and was discharged with a diagnosis of migraine. In the clinic, her right eye was deviating from its normal gaze. She was the most distressed patient newFNP has seen, excluding of course first rectal exams and male GU accidental erections. NewFNP called 911 and the friendly firemen took her to the hospital.

A quick phone call to the patient's home the next day revealed that she was, yet again, discharged with no imaging and told that she needed to see a neurologist. Yeah, no shit ass-crack. That's why newFNP sent her to the fucking hospital in the first place. How the fuck can we tell if the reason she has such heavy periods isn't from some underlying bleeding disorder that is causing her to also bleed in her brain if we don't do imaging?

When a 17-year old with anxiety comes into newFNP's clinic complaining of chest pain, she is likely to get the full cardiac work-up (read: an EKG and auscultation in all essential spots instead of just one or two). When a tyke with a sore throat comes in, newFNP checks him out as though he could have something aside from the 85% likelihood diagnosis of viral pharyngitis. NewFNP does not send every case to the ED. Apparently, that's a good thing given the crappy care they receive.

NewFNP knows that the EDs are overburdened with patients as well, but seriously, what the fuck?


jen said...

first, i think it's awesome that you did a follow up call.
nice that she did get some blood!
imaging would have been nice, DRE also.
ER docs were probably looking at her trends in pcv, hgb. heck i don't know.

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

The ER is not the best place to be seen in my opinion.. It's only interested in trauma, not the "easy stuff" which can sometimes turn out to be life threatening..

Bodhisattva said...

LOVE hearing about another newbie NP's life! It's amazing to see how this stuff happens everywhere!