Week 1 Blog Post

I found this week’s lectures, particularly the deconstructing biomedicine lecture, super interesting! The deconstructing biomedicine lecture really got me thinking about a hospital visit I had this year. It was around 5 o’clock in the morning when I started experiencing excruciating pain in my right side, right by where your appendix is located. As a student whose on track to become a Physician’s Assistant, I knew something wasn’t right, but decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and convinced myself it was just cramps, and would save myself a trip to the emergency room and waited until urgent care opened at 8 o’clock. Urgent care sent me directly to the emergency room anyways, in fear that it could have been my appendix bursting which would require me to have my appendix removed. Upon entering the emergency room, they gave me a high dose of morphine for the pain and ordered a CT scan and ultrasound. Fortunately, I didn’t require surgery as it turned out to be a kidney stone. The emergency room staff did everything right in terms of treatment for the kidney stone itself, but there were secondary issues that the emergency room staff failed to address and showed little concern for. I had an IV in for the medicine, and after returning from my ultrasound, the technician failed to hang my IV back bag up on the pole, resulting in a backflow of my blood. My blood traveled all the way up the tubing, and started filling up in the saline bag that was supposed to be keeping me hydrated. Backflow of blood is normal and pretty common to an extent, but it should never travel that far. I am a very petite girl who happens to be super anemic, so all of this blood leaving my body only made my condition worse, and me weaker. My roommate who was with me ran down to the nurses station to inform them of this (and the fact that I was feeling like I was going to pass out) as soon as we noticed it, and no one came. We waited around 45 minutes, and when no one still came to fix the problem or check up on me, she stood on a chair holding the bag up trying to get the backflow of blood to go back into by body. I’m assuming they didn’t come in because what I was experiencing wasn’t directly related to my admission complaint. To make matters worse, this of course had to happen the day of one of my final exams. The physician who was in his residency was fantastic, and told me to not worry about taking the final today and he would be able to write me a note to give to my professor stating that due to the visit, he would advise that I took the exam another day. I never once asked for a note, but stated that I couldn’t be here too long because I had that exam to take. His exact words were “that exams not happening today”. However, the physician that discharged me was the physician who was overseeing him. When I mentioned the note, she actually yelled at me saying “that’s your problem, not ours” and that “they don’t write notes like that”. I understand that it being finals week I’m sure students try to use this excuse all the time, but this was not my case. I was in an intense amount of pain, anything but sober from the morphine, and could barely stand up due to my blood loss, and this lady actually wanted me to go take the most important exam of the year in less than an hour. She had absolutely no sympathy or empathy for my condition. Thankfully, the physician in his residency came back in to check on me and took care of the note situation. The deconstructing biomedicine lecture mentions how biomedicine is great for emergency situations, focusing on problems with one cause, like my kidney stone, but aren’t great at looking at multiple factors, such as my anemia. They didn’t take into account any secondary characteristics, and weren’t concerned about what my day would be like once I left there and the effects from the treatment of the initial problem. I think this is one example of how biomedicine is great when you’re looking for a quick fix to one issue, and how there are multiple factors into someone’s treatment that often go unnoticed or deemed unimportant in biomedicine.

One thought on “Week 1 Blog Post

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience, but am glad you got the help you needed. I completely agree with you about how biomedicine is good for when looking at one issue, but it doesn’t take a holistic approach. Like it said in lecture, biomedicine isn’t good at considering many factors. A lot of times the medical practice problems we have are in a vacuum situation, however, reality is not as simple. Though there have been lots of improvements in training there are still many people who just think inside the box. Compared to Americans, different cultures take a more full-body approach to health that considers more factors than the present issue. Another problem is that the health care we receive often doesn’t feel personable. There is a disconnect between the workers and patients, and that can be seen in your situation with the exam note. Luckily, there are a good number of people who are kind hearted in what they do and provide excellent care.

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