As most of you know, I have multiple myeloma – a cancer of the plasma cells often called a bone marrow cancer. I recently underwent an outpatient procedure called a stem cell collection which provides cells for a future stem cell transplant. The nurses who perform this procedure take great care to ensure sterile techniques are followed throughout to prevent infections. Thankfully, my nurse paid meticulous attention during the procedure and I tolerated the process without any signs of infection or complications.
Okay. All is well, right? Not quite. Well, while such focused attention is being paid to the complex procedure sometimes it’s a “little thing” that gets overlooked. What could that be? Since the preparation for this procedure involves quite a few injections and my response to them, it’s necessary for the nurse to call with the results of my blood work to determine if I would need additional injections. Upon checking the phone number listed on my chart within the folder she asked me if the last four digits of my phone number were 1234. No. Next she asked me if my cell phone area code was 123. No. Hmm. I was listening pretty closely now. (Obviously, I’ve changed these numbers for privacy purposes, but you get where this is going.) Then she walked over to the desk to see whose chart was within my folder. Apparently, not mine. Although my name and date of birth was clearly marked outside the folder, the chart with another patient’s medical and personal information was within my folder. Oops!! The nurse quickly removed Jane Doe’s chart from my folder, located my chart and placed it where it needed to be: in my folder! Where had my chart been? Most likely within Jane Doe’s folder! Would that error have been picked up and rectified later on, if checking my phone number was unnecessary? Maybe. And, at what potential cost to Jane Doe and me.
What does all this amount to? It’s just what I have been writing/saying all along: Pay attention, please. Ask for what you need. Become your own, best healthcare advocate. Most importantly, if for whatever reason you can’t advocate for yourself, please find someone who can be there with you at the doctor’s office or in the hospital who can listen, speak up and advocate for you. It’s that important. #whywaitReina #askforwhatyouneed #trustyourdoctorbutnotthatmuch #payattention #becomeyourownbesthealthcareadvocate #findanadvocateifyoucan’tadvocateforyourself