Thursday, November 01, 2007

Beware of the Walk-In Clinic

I think I mentioned how last Monday I spent much of my morning in the walk-in clinic by my house. Let me first admit defeat and say: Mom and Deano, you were right. I should not have done that. They both told me to go see a general physician, which I ended up doing anyway. The reason I went to the clinic was because I knew I had a sinus infection. I didn't need a diagnosis as much as I just needed a qualified person to write me a prescription for an antibiotic. I understood Dean's concerns in light of his bad experiences with health care, but the two situations seemed like complete opposites to me. So anyway, I decided to just go to the walk-in clinic and it initially appeared to have been the right decision. I got a seven day supply of antibiotics, which lasted until Sunday evening. Of course I had felt better and more like my old self almost immediately after starting the course and so thought little of it when I took the final pill Sunday.

Then on Tuesday I awoke to more sinus pressure, dizziness and a constant flow of mucus down the back of my throat. I lived Tuesday in miserable denial that my sinus infection was back and yesterday I realized that I couldn't attend (and present at!) a week long conference not being in top condition. So I broke down and called my general physician and luckily they were able to fit me in yesterday afternoon. After a short wait to see her, our conversation went something like this:

Me: I went to the clinic last Monday for a sinus infection and the antibiotics didn't work.

Her: You mean you've been taking them for over a week now and they haven't helped.

Me: No, they helped when I took them. Then two days after I ran out, the infection came back.

She briefly counts off the days.

Her: You mean they only gave you a seven day course of this particular antibiotic?

Me: Yes.

Her: It should be taken for at least two weeks.

Okay, let me just say that I already knew this after I called my mom and stepdad yesterday complaining of my ailments. Stepdad (a pharmacist) told me the exact same thing. Apparently everyone knows that the antibiotic given to me should have come with a 14-day (not a 7-day) prescription. Everyone except the doctor at the walk0in clinic.

So now I get to start all over with a new antibiotic taken for 14 days. The good news is I am already feeling better than yesterday and despite losing another afternoon to doctors, pharmacies, etc. I think I will be in good shape pretty soon.


e.b. said...

Oh god that is horrible. Of course the lesson was well learned - but still something so basic you wouldn't expect them to eff up. Hope you are feeling better.

Hot4Teacha said...

Argh! That totally sucks, but I'm really glad you got "the good stuff" now. What a waste of your time and energy, though - I do not envy the next Prez, who will undoubtably be charged with "fixing" the health care system. Have fun.

mom said...

i felt pretty strongly about not going to the walk-in clinic for selfish reasons. i have never been to a walk-in clinic BUT have to suffer daily the consequences of inept physicians. i work at a LEVEL ONE trauma hospital, the only bad apple in the organization is the walk-in clinic (i.e. urgent care clinic.) everyday i look at a prescription and say "are they serious?" we have to call them on at least 20% of the prescriptions we see.... pretty scary. (p.s. why didn't your pharmacist call them?)

dr sardonicus said...

We're back to the old competence issue again. There's a reason why certain doctors work in walk-in clinics.

Sadly, that's the kind of treatment millions without health insurance have to deal with every day.

Jeni said...

My grandkids are still trying to shake a "cold" turned into sinus infection with a nasty dry cough to go along with it! ARRGH!

magnetbabe said...

Holy typos, Batman! Sorry, I just went through and corrected some of my earlier mis-typings. I wrote that in a hurry and didn't even have time to proofread.

Sadly, my first thought after talking to you and Tom was, "shouldn't my pharmacist have caught that?" Seems there were multiple failures here.

Luckily, I have good insurance and was just too lazy to see a GP right away. If I wouldn't have had insurance and needed to make 2 Drs visits, get 2 prescriptions filled I'd be a hundred times more furious. Dean already said I should have asked for my first round of copays back. Yeah right, that would just be masochistic at this point.

Based on my (admittedly infrequent) dealings with Drs, I think "fixing health care" will definitely need a bottom-up approach starting at the most basic educational points in a Dr's training. I've had to teach pre-med courses before and I hoped not a single one of them made it out of med school because most couldn't grasp simple physics concepts. Turns out they are probably work in the walk-in clinics. Okay, enough ranting,.