Annie and the Bill of Rights

Dear Gentlefolk:

I wake this morning to the discovery that, because of the insulin and/or diabetes, my eyesight is worse.  I no longer can see the telephone number on the board across from my bed.  That’s not the only thing that is bothering me.

Karen, the “care coordinator,” i.e., discharge planner, has decided to call a meeting about me.  Why didn’t she come to me, first, and say, “Let’s get a bunch of people together and see if we can make some progress on getting you discharged.  Who would you like to invite?”

In 2000, I was on ALC (Alternate Level of Care) at St. Joseph’s for four months before I finally insisted on a meeting.  About two dozen people came, including me, two doctors, a lawyer, an advocate, a pastor, and tons of aides, nurses, social workers and administrators from St. Joseph’s and Onondaga County Long Term Care.

They spent the better part of an hour with each side arguing their right not to take me home from the hospital.  Finally, Dr. Nasri Ghaly spoke up.  He quietly said, “This woman is sick.  Who will help her?”  Within minutes they were all back to arguing.  Again Dr. Ghaly asked his question.  This time one woman from each side called her boss and within ten minutes we had a plan.  After four months on ALC, I was discharged within two days of the meeting.  Meetings sometimes can be very helpful.

I have been in Crouse Hospital for four weeks.  Many people have given me their business cards; Karen is not one of them.  I do not know her full name.

According to the NYS Patients’ Bill of Rights “As a patient in a hospital in New York State, you have the right, consistent with law, to:

“(6) Know the names, positions and functions of any hospital staff involved in your care and refuse their treatment, examination or observation.”

I now would like to take the opportunity to refuse further “treatment, examination or observation” from Karen for the following reasons:

First, I have repeatedly asked for—and not gotten—copies of what has been sent out to the nursing homes about me.  Had I been privy to what was being sent out, I might have modified, clarified or corrected the information and thereby gained myself a better position for placement out of the hospital.

The Patient Bill of Rights also states that I have the right to:

“(14) Participate in all decisions about your treatment and discharge from the hospital.”

I could not participate because I was not informed.

“(15) Review your medical record . . .”

I was denied the opportunity to see this part of my medical record, often being told that I could not see it “because it was electronic.”

On June 18, I requested from Care Coordination Director Barbara Drapola a copy of everything that had been sent to nursing homes about me.  Consequently, the only thing Karen provided to me was the IPRO report, which states “All referring entities must provide the individual who has been assessed a copy and interpretation of the attached Evaluation Report.”

The report was dated June 11.  Karen did not provide it to me until June 18, and then only under explicit direction from her supervisor.

Yesterday Karen told me that a meeting was being set up.  She presented it to me as if Dr. Ronald Fish had requested the meeting, and she said it would consist of herself, me, Dr. Fish and Dr. Lebowitz. 

Shortly thereafter, Peter Sinatra said he’d been invited.  Then Dr. Steven Wechsler.  Then Barbara Drapola.  Is there anyone who hasn’t been invited?

At no time did Karen consult with me on who should be included, nor has she been honest with me about who has been included.  In fact, it appears that Karen only has included me because Dr. Fish directed her to.  Karen is doing things to me, not with me, and I have learned that that is not how Crouse Hospital works with its patients.

Last Friday morning at 10:50 a.m. Karen entered my room while Dr. Fish and I were engaged in therapy.  She asked to see him about another patient, and indicated that she had to go to a meeting at 11:00.  She wanted to see him right now and had no regard for the fact that I, the patient, was involved in therapy.

The Bill of Rights also states that I have the right to: 

“(17) Complain without fear of reprisals about the care and services you are receiving and to have the hospital respond to you and if you request it, a written response.”

Here is what I want:

1.     For Karen to be forever removed from my case; not to see me, talk to anyone about me, or have access to my case records and reports.

2.     To see all information send from Crouse to nursing homes about me, and to have it in large print at least 90 minutes before the intended 11:00 a.m. meeting.

3.     The meeting only to take place if Dr. Steve Wechsler and I are both in attendance.  Dr. Wechsler had surgery on his wrist yesterday and his availability is uncertain.

4.     Full disclosure of all the people who have been invited to and/or are attending the meeting, with the opportunity for me to amend the list (e.g., I would like Bob Allen and Nancy Williams to be present).

5.     To request from Dr. Kronenberg that a member of Crouse’s legal team be in attendance.  An astute legal eye often sees an opportunity that medical people don’t notice; the system (e.g., IPRO, OMH) is screwing with me and a lawyer might see the way to put a stop to it, or at least challenge it.

I believe that it is Crouse Hospital’s intent to treat the patient as the most important part of the team; that is not what Karen has been doing and I want it to stop now.  It might be prudent for you to provide a written response to this message, however, I am okay with action first, words to follow.

Thank you,

Anne C Woodlen

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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2 Responses to Annie and the Bill of Rights

  1. maieliiv says:

    Anne: Sorry it always has to get this far before real help happens. Hugs to you, wish I weren’t so far away. Love, Maie Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2013 22:49:57 +0000 To:

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Boy, I wish I could meet you, Maie. I bet we could talk for a week without taking a breath. You’re one of the people I met on Facebook whom I consider a REAL friend!

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