The story is that there is a particular cancer drug that should be infused over a longer period of time like three and half hours. Strangely enough, I have two friends suffering from the same cancer; one is receiving his treatments at WMHS and the other out-of-town. The two friends of mine are also friends of each other and, of course, talk with great frequency about their cancers, their care and their treatments. The out-of-town friend mentioned to the in-town friend as to the difficulty that he is having with one particular drug. He said that after the drug is infused that it gives him severe headaches which last for quite a while. Since they are taking the same drug, the in-town friend probed further and realized that he receives the drug over the three and half hour time frame while the out-of-town friend gets the drug infused in one hour.
When the in-town friend had to be somewhere else on a particular treatment day, he asked to have the drug infused at a quicker rate and was told absolutely not. That if he couldn't stay the three and a half hours that the appointment could be rescheduled. The reason that our folks gave him was that if you infuse the drug too rapidly, you will get severe headaches for a prolonged period of time. After learning this revelation, the in-town friend shared the information with the out-of-town friend, who, you guessed it, now gets his drug infused over a three and a half period of time.
Unfortunately, it took this exchange to realize what was happening to the out-of-town friend. It was either a matter of convenience for the staff at the out-of-town hospital or sheer incompetence. I guess my point is that nobody is perfect in that we are doing so much in our hospitals and health systems to deliver safe, quality patient care, but there will always be some challenge somewhere else within those same hospitals. Now, I am not letting that out-of-town hospital off the hook. What they were doing was egregious and it sickens me. I have encouraged my out-of-town friend to pursue the issue to the highest level of that hospital. No patient should be subjected to what he has been subjected to in his care and treatment. Health care is certainly both an interesting as well as challenging business.