Bloch: Health organization was not so honorable in my experience

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It started in late December, when my doctor of 15 years, Alvin Bogart, announced his retirement, I asked him to recommend my next doctor.

Jim Bloch

He suggested one — I made an appointment for a few months out, good to go.

A couple weeks before my appointment I called in to see if she wanted blood work before the initial visit, and was told, “oh, Dr. Avila retired.”

I said, “oh so nice of you folks to have called me with this information.”

I was redirected to my next new doctor. One cancellation, and one time change later I had an appointment set for April 11.

This my first example of poor support and communication from the local health organization’s communications team.

And so before I go into the time spent in their Thompson Peak hospital, from which I was discharged April 18 after two scopes and a more-than-controversial surgery, I receive a phone call from a phone clerk, to ask if I am doing well post our visit, do I need new meds or anything.

I listened, than asked her if she was familiar with my case — that I had just been released from surgery and home less than 24 hours.

This woman did not have a clue of that. How difficult would it be to have a phone call follow up have some familiarity with your case, not just a random dumb useless call?

I was driven to a local emergency room on April 9, original diagnosis was a UTI. I went home that night after several hours of tests with oral antibiotic.

I was in bed for two days, shivering and with no appetite. On April 11 I went to my scheduled visit with my new doctor, met for less than 10 minutes, and said go immediately to the hospital. Good call.

Checked in, many more tests.

On April 12, another doctor performed first an endoscopy to clear out garbage/debris/stones etc. from around my gallbladder. Spoke afterward, felt good about what he had done, he had some nasty adjectives to describe my gallbladder.

Visited with another doctor and between the two doctors, they felt could not do surgery until Bilirubin came down from 15ish.

Within two days it was down to 5ish, but liver enzymes had ticked up a bit.

Surgery was scheduled for Monday, April 15.

After another night of antibiotic IVs come Monday morning, no decision, so of course no food again. Finally somewhere around noon, I was told no surgery, so I could finally eat something.

Terrible messaging from my med team, led by a resident, and her two assistants who had nothing to add for my eight days in their hospital.

Rescheduled surgery for Tuesday, April 16. Another night of antibiotic IVs all night, and was told at 5:45 a.m. surgery aborted again.

Frustrating, as numbers were in the range of what surgeons needed to see. Once again the med team was way behind the curve, had less information than I had, as the surgeon had called me, their team did not even know the name of my surgeon at one point.

They even told me that nothing (surgery) could be done now as the gastroenterologist was not working that day.

Their attitude is that maybe I go home, let things quiet down, and come back for surgery in four-six weeks — terrible call.

I later learn that the “real docs” said that could have resulted in the worst possible outcome.

Day moves on.

11 a.m., all of a sudden in my room is (day off??) the doctor who says he wants the surgery done TODAY.

Then there appears another doctor from surgery team who says he wants the surgery done TODAY.

The weasels on the med team had just lost their turf, the pro’s have taken over. The real doctors are now in charge. Their take — scheduling and aborting is not accomplishing, going home will not improve my situation and could only hurt.

Do the surgery now.

The doctor was contacted, and her schedule accommodated surgery at 4 p.m.

Surgery done.

I had one additional procedure the next day, and the day following I was released to go home (eight days later after I checked in, 10 days after the original misdiagnosis).

On April 17 a doctor performed another endoscopy, inserted a stent in my liver, and told me post-procedure he was happy, was pleased and was able to remove more debris, garbage, stones etc.

I was released to go home (eight days after I checked in, 10 days after original misdiagnosis).

April 18: getaway day: finally broke camp mid afternoon.

The med team did not stop by that day — not surprised — not much value added nor professionalism displayed up to then, why start now.

The med team nurses and assistants were better than good. Could never say the same for their doctors (the lead was a Resident).

I cannot stop believing that if the decision was 100% theirs, more of the same continued, I would have been in some kind of trouble. Again, thankfully the larger voices in the room were those from the real world doctors, real world surgeons, not the inexperienced locals.

Editor’s Note: Jim Bloch is a resident of Scottsdale.

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