August 26, 2002

The first thing I did when I got up this morning was call the director of the hospital lab here in town. He will from now on be called WeeWillyWooze. After introducing myself, I told WeeWillyWooze about my experience in his lab on Friday morning. I asked him why in the world it was not possible for me to have an ACTH test done in the hospital lab. WeeWillyWooze told me that it was to involved and complicated. The lab at the hospital did not like to do tests that took time and effort. He went on to say that the lab at the hospital operated more like an assembly line; tests were done quickly and without a lot of fuss. I asked him what could possibly be so complicated about chilling a centrifuge, chilling a few tubes, drawing blood and sending it out on ice. WeeWillyWooze informed me that the fridge in the lab was not big enough for their centrifuge so chilling it would be a problem. I asked him if he had never heard of alternate methods namely the big freezers in the morgue. I told him that those freezers would be quite capable of chilling down a centrifuge in a big hurry. I could not understand his mumbled answer. I then asked WeeWillyWooze what he did when an inpatient at the hospital needed an ACTH test. WeeWillyWooze was quick to inform me that patients in the hospital never needed an ACTH test. It had never happened! My response to that was, “No wonder so many patients end up with tags on their toes.”

After my delightful conversation with WeeWillyWooze, I called the lab at one of the city hospitals. I asked to make an appointment to have the ACTH test done. To my horror I was told that I could not have this test in the city hospital if the test had been ordered by a doctor who did not have privileges at the city hospital. This stupid test is becoming a nightmare!

I am tired and will let this issue lie for a few days. Maybe I will come up with a brain wave in a day or two. This constant battle for health care is becoming a real drag! Seems to be a constant battle; nothing happens smoothly. Our medical system has no compunction about putting sick people through hell.

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