Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones…


Today, I got to see one of my favorite patients. It helped make the otherwise hectic day a bit easier. There’s a funny story about how I connected with this person that I must explain first.

Not long after I started working at my pharmacy, this woman came in to get her husband’s medication. She was very rude to all of our staff, so I took note to remember her name, so I knew when I needed to be extra nice and calm. Then one night, she came in to get some inhalers filled and had no idea how to use them. I took the time to explain the technique, and, ever since, we’ve been on great terms. She looks for me and trusts me.

Back to the present… She came in to get her husband’s meds filled and shared a shocking story with me. Almost two years ago, he had extensive surgery in multiple areas of his body. Ever since, he has been nearly bed bound due to the pain resulting from the surgery. They told him he just handled the procedure poorly, and that his only option was pain management. So, for the past 18 months, the poor man has been on and off all different pain regimens.

Desperate for any answers, the couple decided to get a second opinion because he did not like being on all the pain meds. His wife told me today that the other facility he went to informed him some of the rods, pins, and screws were placed incorrectly during his original surgery. She told me the original surgeons refused to go back and fix it. She stated they were going to go out of the area to try to get it fixed.

I was appalled by her story! This man has such a poor quality of life right now, and the surgeons won’t attempt to fix the mistakes they made? That screams unethical to me. It also has “potential lawsuit” written all over it. Even if they don’t feel comfortable opening him up again, they should have at least told the man the truth about the surgery outcome instead of covering it up. According to his wife, the second facility needed only to look at basic imaging studies to know that the hardware was placed incorrectly, so the original surgeons should have been able to tell a mistake had been made.

Lying to a patient is bad and unethical, yet healthcare professionals do it. It usually comes back to bite you in the end. My only hope is that this man can get the mistakes fixed to a point where he can have a decent quality of life again. =/


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