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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Error in Doctor Report

When I asked the gyno office about my bone density test, I was told it was "good." huh?

The nurse assured me the results were good. Good for a human being or good for a sixty-nine-year-old woman.

Good for a sixty-nine-year-old woman, she told me. huh?

Can you give me a number and the scale?

We don't have that? Who does? I don't know. Why aren't you happy with "good?" I would be. That seems to be a good thing.

 Is the next better "excellent?"

I don't know. I just cannot understand why you want more information.

Look, when the teacher puts an "A" on your paper, you want to know where the "A" is on the number scale. Is it between 90-- 100? Is it between 95 and 100?

Why do you need to know all that?

Well, if I get an A on a paper, I want to know exactly how I stand. Am in danger of slipping off into B territory and need to try harder, or am I a good solid 99 and doing well. I feel this way about the bone density test--might the next test be worse and I could do something immediately to keep from fall from good to whatever. I don't want to wait for several years to find I was very near to osteoporosis now.

So, she sent if to me. I read it and saw red. RED! The information on me states: previous smoker! There is no way a person could misunderstand "NO" never smoked, dipped or chawed. The tech for the bone density test asked me all the questions instead of allowing me to fill out the paper myself. Maybe she did it on her computer.

You know I made a call.

I called and asked to speak to my doctor's nurse because I had a question. Of course, I knew she would have to call me back. The receptionist asked me what question I wanted to ask. Mmmm, "none of your business."

Seriously, I did not want to discuss this with her. I have never had a receptionist ask me what I wanted to ask the nurse. Actually, I told the receptionist that it was several questions that probably I just needed to talk to the nurse.

Well, his nurse did not come to the phone. Probably weary of questions. The other nurse did not understand. I had to repeat it which made me testy. She said they would change the information. I asked for it to be mailed. She asked me why I needed a second document.
So I can make sure the information is corrected!

Things like this have happened to me more than once in my 50+ years of going to the doctor as an adult. I heard a doctor right outside the exam room talking into a phone which someone transcribed. I went flying out of the room and corrected the doctor. It is a good thing I had finished dressing. another time, I was given someone's prescription and got to the car before I realized it was not mine.

I suppose it is not important. She put down I was 5' 7" when I always say "five feet seven and a half inches."  Okay, maybe the always leave off height for the bone density test.

The papers also say "no meds." That is puzzling.

The three page report is here, but I have no idea what lots of it means. Maybe I can find someone to explain it to me.

So, I still really don't know

Your turn
Tell me about doctor mistakes in your records. My mistake in this record might not be life-threatening. But, the next time might!


  1. Linda this is really terrible. I think you should complain in writing. This is about health and no child's play. You deserve better and it's their job to do a decent job.

    1. T'Pol,
      Sometimes, when a doctor finds out I used Medicaid, they assume I don't have the capacity to understand.

  2. When you think about it, the only thing they really had wrong was the smoking status. I would make sure they correct that, for sure. (Maybe the med status. I'm just saying I don't think they care about half inches, so you can't fault them for that.) But I think you need to speak to the doctor if you want a good interpretation of the test, not the nurse.

    1. 444,
      You are definitely correct about the half inch. The med status might be meds for bone density, but I am not sure. I agree about the nurse not interpreting. Actually, the report ends with "word good strong". Cannot read first word. That is even more definitive than just "good."

  3. Hmmm...I haven't had my bone density tested in many years, but when I did. they gave me a very detailed analysis showing when I might have problems with my bones if I continued as projected for my age based on my current density. (Over age being fat comes in handy for something, finally). Surprised that sort of thing isn't standard info everywhere.

    1. Sue,
      Yes, a little padding does help with bone density. Also, I am Caucasian and dark, not skinny. petite, blonde. There was a difference in the head of the femur and wonder what that means.

      If not sooner, when I go in for routine exam in October, I will discuss this lack of explanation and ask for consultation with this other doctor on the staff that explained nothing.

  4. LInda, actually the 1/2 inch IS IMPORTANT because as we age we lose height. Osteoporosis can cause significant bone loss and so loss in height. My sister, age 73, has lost 1 inch over the last 4 years and was diagnosed with osteoporosis 5 years ago.

    Also, I thought all doctors had to have available to patients a 'patient portal' where all visits, tests, etc where posted on-line thru a secure site. My primary, dermatologist, hospitals where I've had surgery, all have sites where I can check for information about myself. So far I've not found any errors but I always check.

    As my primary belongs to a group that has doctors, labs, women's center, etc. I can pull up info on my chest x-ray, density test, prescriptions, mammogram, lipid panel, etc whenever I want. This has made me very pro-active as I must have an understanding of what is happening to my body and what I can do to keep it going it the right direction. I fully intend to age with grace but backed up by fighting tooth and nail to be as healthy as possible.

    Ask questions until you have a full understanding of what the test results mean. Patients have the right to know and must understand the information in order to be proactive. You'd think the doctor would be happy that you want to be knowledgeable about your health.

    PS About the carotid: a doctor will listen to your carotid for a Bruit, a specific sound that indicates an obstruction. Then if it is heard will schedule an ultrasound perhaps with a Doppler to see the extent of obstruction. It's an important part of a physical, especially at our age. Mine was 80-90% blocked meaning that in about 3 years I would have had a massive stroke, probably killing me.

  5. Bellen,
    I had the choice of the portal. But, I did not want the govt in my email. Every time I mention anything in an email that is a product, the information is collected/read and ads for that product pop up everywhere.

    The height can only be correct if they measure me. I may have shrunk without knowing it. So, in four years when I have another, if I may get a tech who measures me. Then, it will look like all the shrinking happened in the period of time before the first and last test.

    Yes, I intend to stay healthy by being proactive. I have asked for the doctor to listen to my carotid in the past. That was a significant blockage you had. I understand the surgery is risky. Thanks for that.

  6. I am so lucky..I have Dr Cujo and a staff of wonderful and smart people..Old Corner drug has Kirk and Al and they are the smartest people I know.. I go to Kirk all the time for questions about my I've never had a mistaken script or wrong information on my chart.

  7. No mistakes that I'm aware of. I really dig these online portals a lot of medical facilities are using so I can access my records quickly, i.e. blood work I had done recently.


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