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Posted by Bruce on October 29, 2000 at 11:38:21:

In Reply to: Re: Patient's rights to be informed about his condition posted by Betty H. on October 29, 2000 at 01:47:31:

: : : : My good friend and neighbor came down with a serious infection in one knee joint, and possibly in the blood. With the help of another friend, I was able to visit my friend in the hospital. Because we both have had some serious problems with being misdiagnosed and have become skeptical about the competence of some of the local doctors, I asked the nurse what type of bacteria caused the infection and what antibiotic was given to him.(I was a microbiologist at a local hospital for 28 years.)The nurse refused to give me the information and said I would have to check with his doctor. I felt like I could explain everything to my friend and thought it might make him feel better. Because I was acting on behalf of my friend, I strongly feel the nurse should have given me the info. I have read about "patients rights"and I would really like to know what everyone thinks about this situation. Would it be asking to much for a patient to be informed about his condition? I would like to find some documentation regarding this question. Feel free to disagree if that is your opinion. Bruce

: : : Bruce,
: : : I think the nurse was in her rights. Your intentions are good, but she doesn't know that. I'm a nurse & I wouldn't have told you, based on what you've said. I know many who have gotten in trouble with the patient &/or patient's family for divulging such information, and in trouble with the hospital as well. Even some, who first said O K and then changed their mind. There are "patient's rights". Have the patient ask the doctor if he/she will tell/explain to both of you. If the patient is not able, call on a family member. That way you would be able to help your neighbor better understand & get through this difficult time.
: : : Betty H.

: : Betty H, I guess I have to agree that what you say is how it is in the "real world" and I have also seen people getin trouble, but the one that comes to mind was broadcasting it out in a loud voice that the patient was on the wrong drug. I was her supervisor and the doctor was extremely upset and he was justified in my opinion, but I want tp tell you a true story about what happend several years ago to my same friend whren I was still working at the hospital. Since they can't fire me I still feel I did the right thing. My friend was a patient in the hospital and at the end of the work day I would visit him. Day after day, he would tell me he was told he had a serious infection and was being treated for septicemia. He told me he was not getting any better and I knew why, but for the same reason you talked about, I didn't tell him. Finally, I reviewed his lab work and noted his cultutes were negative and his cbc was not abnormal. I really didn't believe he had an infection. So I visited my friend when no one else was present, and told him if anyone found out what I told him I would be in big trouble. What he did was he told the nursing staff he was going to discharge himself. Later, he went to a city nearby, and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and was in an advanced stage. I thought he was going to die, but after a lot of chemotherapy, he is considered to be cured. He still insists I saved his life, but I don't accept that. I stil would like to think we have are priorities mixed up if we would allow a patient to die, because we are forced to remain sillent. Thank you Betty for your input. Bruce

: Bruce,
: I agree with you, we often do have our priorities mixed up and when I say "we", I mean this country as a whole. Everything from medicine to sports and all inbetween. Look at what's paid pro football, basketball & baseball players compared to a good teacher, law enforcement person, etc.
: There was a situation where we had a patient that had a lower colon polyp removed with a short scope and was told that was all he needed & no follow up. You can bet a very concerned nurse got to him & in a whisper, told him to go to a gastroenterologist & have his entire colon examined. And-------you can guess the rest of the story, there was an early stage malignant polyp higher up. You can bet there was another grateful patient. We just have to do what we think is right and hope & pray we've done our best. Unfortunately, there are peope out there (too many) that are just concerned for themselves with no regard for other people. Like we preached to our kids, now all grown, "live by the golden rule".
: Betty H.

Betty H. I really appreciated your last folow up. My friend and I both have had some horrible experiences while being a patient plus I have worked in hospitals most of my life and it does tend to make us skeptical about how we are treated as patients. It is a terrible feeling to be a patient in a hospital and not have the strength to speak up for your self. My friend in the hospital had already been told what caused his infection, but he was medicated to the extent he wasn't sure ofwhat they told him. I did a little research on patient's rights and hindsite being 20 20, I shouldn't have asked the nurse, but I found a patient's bill of rights and number one stated the patient should be given complete and easily understood information about his condition before consenting to specific care choices and treatment oprions. It's too bad we don't have more caring nurses such as your self. Bruce

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