Lack of Compassion and Professionalism
January 30-February 10, 2008
On February 2, I received a letter in the mail, stating that the medical center radiologist who had read my mammogram needed for me to make an appointment for more pictures. The letter said I should call my doctor for clarification. It was Saturday. The letter had been mailed on Friday. The lack of compassion in the medical world boggled my mind. I determined that I could not go through cancer treatments in the condition I was in. If I had cancer, I would just have to die from it.
Finally, on the fourth, eleven days after diagnosing a severe sinus infection, a medical center secretary called and told me that something was being called into the pharmacy for me. I said, “What is the infection?” She said, “Oh, I don’t know, let me transfer you to that department.”
Dr. F’s assistant e-mailed me a copy of the report. The infection was Acinetobacter series. The lab had needed two swabs to determine which of 32 strains it was. They had been given only one swab. I researched Acinetobacter on the Internet. According to what I read, the bacteria is antibiotic resistant, more deadly than MRSA, and affects only the very sick and debilitated: http://tahilla.typepad.com/mrsawatch/acinetobacter/. But, guess what?—it was a “mild” infection. This infection that had been so severe on January 23 that Dr. F. had ordered a CT scan to evaluate it, so severe that he had suctioned masses of pus out of my sinuses, so severe that he had called it a “bad” infection after viewing the CT scan—this same infection, after being hit with Augmentin for ten days, was now a “mild” infection.
Dr. F. prescribed 21 days of Ciprofloxacin, known as “Cipro.” Cipro is a quinolone, and all quinolones cause break down of cartilage in joints, among other severe side effects. How awful that I had to take this. I was already suffering pain in my joints due to the unnecessary surgery which now led to a drug that would further harm my joints.
I called Dr. F’s office and left a message that I thought the acinetobacter should be typed as to strain. I did not want to take Cipro, be damaged by it, and then find that the drug had only increased the antibiotic resistance of the acinetobacter.
Eventually, Dr. F’s assistant called back. She said that the culture was done to determine which antibiotic was right, and that Dr. F. was good, so this was the right antibiotic. I hadn’t realized that there are still medical professionals who speak to patients as if they are retarded. I had attended nursing school in the early eighties, and had been well-educated in the principles of caring and respectful patient care. There was no addressing of my concern about the bacteria not being typed as to strain. No conversation with the doctor.
Later, I e-mailed and asked if I should cancel my dental appointment February 6 so as not to spread the infection. I got no response.
I got sicker on the Cipro—nauseous, weak, joint pain all over.