Bad Hospitalists and Good Kids


August 14  Sometimes I am given the chance to help.

A nurse comes to my bedside.  She knows I have gotten rid of a bad hospitalist and wants to know how I did it.  It takes a lot of careful questioning and some good guessing before I think I’ve got the significant elements of why she’s asking.

A man was admitted with a medical problem consequent to drug abuse.  He has a bed in rehab waiting for him after his medical illness has been dealt with.  The problem is that his attending hospitalist is not moderating his drug problem.  The doctor has made the immoral judgment that the guy should go through cold-turkey drug withdrawal.  The nurse has seen the doctor do it to another patient and she finds it unacceptable.  Medical personnel are supposed to help, not hurt.

From my point of view, the main problem is that it is 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  If you call Administration then you will get a tape recording.  There are no medical directors on the premises.  If you call the in-hospital Help line, you will get Security, which won’t help.  The nurse will be jeopardizing her position if it appears that she’s the one trying to get rid of the doctor.  What to do, what to do?  I work on it for a while and come up with a plan that will protect the nurses and get the patient someone—either another doctor or an administrator—who can trump the bad doctor.

I am pleased to be of assistance, and tickled pink that another patient—with the help of the nursing staff—is refusing to put up with bad medical treatment.  Imagine what it would be like if all patients started firing bad doctors.  Imagine if this little rebellion on 4-7 were to spread to 4-6 and 4-1, then to 3-2 and so on.  Imagine the hospital having to supply new doctors as their current hospitalists are repeatedly rejected.  Imagine physician assistants—who have been doing the work all along—finally getting their rightful recognition.

Imagine the patients defiantly demanding to be treated with respect.  Imagine that.

August 16  Now that I am out of St. Joseph’s Hospital, which blocked my blog on the ground that it was “malicious,” I would like to thank MaryKate Hodgens for joining the guerilla war for freedom of speech.  Corporate Compliance Officer Amy Rhone shut me down, saying that I could blog when I got home.  Amy Rhone is both foolish and not very bright since she thinks it’s that easy to deny someone freedom of speech.

Every night I would email a blog post to MaryKate, every morning MaryKate would post it on my blog, and every day hundreds of people would read it.  Word got around.

Just before MaryKate graduated from Syracuse University in May with a master’s degree in social work, she attended Dr. Peter Breggin’s Empathic Therapy Conference.  She says it really opened her eyes to the damage done by psychiatric medications.  Then she started working with me, which she says has been a whole other kind of education.  She is a tall, dark-haired young woman with freckles, and she absorbs knowledge like a thirsty sponge.  MaryKate came back from a client-centered conference, all aglow with what she’d learned.  “So,” I said, “How many clients were at the conference?”  She looked stricken as she replied, “None.”  This is the hypocrisy of how we teach our young professionals.

MaryKate and I will be writing an addition to the literature for one of the classes taught by Wendy Pidkaminy, also a user of empathetic therapy, then MaryKate will be off to Boston to find her future.  She’s been a terrific student and a very kind friend, and I will miss her.

MaryKate’s brother, Brendan, has also been a major asset in my life as he’s done computer care.  After he worked on my computer, he put an icon on the desktop and left a note for future computer techs, that is, the doctor left a note in my chart so future doctors would know what had been done and needed to be done.  Is this brilliant, or what?  Why doesn’t Microsoft build in a file for tech notes?

MaryKate’s brother (she has four) Alex just graduated from LeMoyne’s physician assistant program and is slated to begin work in Crouse Hospital’s Emergency Room.

From what I’ve seen of the Hodgens’ kids, Mom and Dad Hodgens should get a Major Parenting Award and directly embark on their Golden Years.  Their kids are straight and strong and smart.  They are stand-up people with good value systems and great kindness.  God bless them every one.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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