I wrote a blog entry on this topic yesterday, then deleted it, as it wasn’t very nice. Kevin, MD’s Dr. Pho has covered 75% of what I wanted to say on his blog today (nicely), here; read his blog entry then come back here for the rest of what I wanted to say:
Kevin, M.D. – Medical Weblog: Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck’s hospital horror story is getting some attention. Apparently, he had a surgical procedure with marked post-op pain. As physicians tried to control his pain with increasing doses of narcotics, he suffered adverse reactions as a result.
This is one of those amazing occurrences in medicine that makes all of us in Emergency Medicine alternately furious and incredulous, the “Just go to the ER” from a physician who knows the patient much better than the EM doc will, knows what outcome they want, what the patient will need, but cannot be bothered with the 10 minutes of administrative time it’d take for the direct admit to happen. This is what Mr. Beck should have had in the first place, and then a lot of his problems / complaints wouldn’t have happened. He didn’t need the ED, he needed his doctors to take care of their patient.
Mr. Beck was operated on that day in the same facility he was sent back to for re-admission, after having clearly been identified by the anesthesiologist on the case as having significant problems with pain control. He probably shouldn’t have been sent home (disclaimer: all this is from reading one side of the story, but the story as told isn’t particularly flattering to anyone) and definitely shouldn’t have been sent to the ED, he should have been directly admitted and taken care of by the doctors whose complication this was.
This is a cautionary tale for everyone: when your doctor says ‘just go to the ER’ ask about the alternatives. Maybe it’ll shame your doctor into caring for you.