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Choose A Primary Doctor With Hospital Admitting Privileges!
Boomers and their parents often neglected by emergency room care
It all started when my mother changed doctors, and we found out too late that he did not have admitting privileges to any hospital in town. In case this sounds strange to you, it’s probably because it really didn’t used to be this way.
Time was when you called your doctor during a medical emergency, and while you were on the way to the hospital in an ambulance, he was driving to meet you in the ER. Once there, you would be attended to by the ER team, but your own doctor would be standing by, making decisions in your best interest.
In recent years, though, the trend has been for hospitals to employ doctors they call “hospitalists.” These doctors are typically not in private practice outside the hospital, and neither do they work for the ER. They see you after you’ve been admitted, if you are so fortunate to not be sent home during what is truly an emergency situation.
My own mother has been sent home from the hospital several times because her primary doctor was not authorized to admit her. This past winter, we finally got wise. She presented in the ER with a UTI (urinary tract infection) and a fever. She was also delirious and could not take a single step unassisted. The ER doc prescribed an antiobiotic, gave her a bag of IV fluids and SENT HER HOME. Several hours later, her fever spiked to 104, she had a grand mal seizure, and—-because of the downward spiral that ensued from there—she nearly died.
Do you think they admitted her the SECOND time she presented on the same night? Oh, yeah. By then, they knew their butts would be in a sling (a little medical pun) if they neglected her care again. (By the way, a huge mistake we made that night was not to involve the hospital social worker on duty. She can be instrumental in helping you get satisfaction from your ER experience, but she can’t work miracles.)
Here’s the point: As soon as we got my mother stabilized, we found a doctor who admits to her hospital of choice AND who is a gerontologist. Not only does she love him, but we’ve already had a chance to put our new strategy into play. Mom became very ill again two weeks ago, and had no trouble at all getting admitted for the required care. She still went through the ER, but by the time we arrived the doctors there had instructions from the admitting doc about what was to happen.
Since then, I’ve asked a few questions just to make sure my own doc still has admitting privileges to the hospital next door to his office, and he does.
Of all the times a patient should not have to suffer neglect, it’s during a bona fide emergency.
Make sure you and your loved ones never get sent home from an ER inappropriately. The time to safeguard your own care is now.
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Are You a Late Boomer?
If looming retirement is catching you off-guard between an aging parent and a revolving-door kid, you might be. If you've delayed travel only to discover they've changed the names of all the countries, you are. And if you're a member of the Baby Boomer Generation who's ready to give back but you've forgotten where you put it, stay tuned. From healthcare to personal finance, from career changes to volunteerism, it's time to boom where you are planted.