Two weeks ago tonight, my 86 year old father was taken unresponsive from his home at Friendship Village of Dublin (Ohio) to Riverside Methodist Hospital. He remains unresponsive, and his doctors and the Riverside Hospital nurses are trying to puzzle out how to bring him around. Riverside Hospital does not know what happened at Friendship Village of Dublin the night he wound up collapsing, so naturally I asked Friendship Village for the information, that I may relay it to Riverside Hospital, so that they may help him recover from his “critically stable” condition. Two weeks after the event, they are still refusing it to me.
You might conjecture, on reading the above, that Friendship Village of Dublin has valid legal reasons for withholding the information. However, the sequence of events is:
- For months, the Friendship Village of Dublin Health Center has communicated with me, apparently freely, about my parents’ medical condition and treatment. My father in particular kept directing their attention to specific emails I wrote to FVD Health Center staff – including to Director of Nursing Connie Robertson — to make sure they took note.
- Friendship Village of Dublin suddenly discovered (?) a years-old document that in their opinion meant they should not share information with me.
- Friendship Village of Dublin was asked what additional documents they needed to countermand the first one.
- Friendship Village of Dublin was faxed the documents it asked for.
- Friendship Village of Dublin subsequently emailed me terse information about my mother, in apparent recognition of the validity of the new documents.
- Friendship Village of Dublin still is refusing to give me the information about my father that I requested.
Thus, I see no excuse for whatever permanent harm or temporary suffering Friendship Village of Dublin is causing my father, by its withholding of information that could be useful in his care. In particular:
- Whether or not Friendship Village of Dublin was at any point correct in withholding information from me, they were wrong from start to finish in also withholding it from other concerned parties.
- If Friendship Village of Dublin was at any point correct in withholding information from me, then it was wrong many times before in providing it.
I could go on in that vein, but there’s little point.
No doubt Friendship Village of Dublin will eventually reverse course, accompanied by some combination of comments along the lines of:
- “HIPAA made us do it” (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) – as noted above, that would be false in many particulars.
- “Omigod – we didn’t get those messages!” – implausible, and even if true not an excuse.
- “So sorry – it was all a big misunderstanding” – heckuva persistent misunderstanding, in the face of many efforts to set FVD straight.
But even if Friendship Village of Dublin comes clean tomorrow, it still will have taken much, much too long to be forthcoming with important and time-sensitive medical information.
Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around, along with specifics I’m not mentioning. Of those contributing factors, I’d like to highlight one:
In a system where medical records were handled more sensibly, there would be less opportunity for Friendship Village of Dublin to behave this badly.
More on that in a companion post on health records, privacy, and elder care.
Returning now to a more personal note – I thank many of you for your kind comments, whether on this blog or via Twitter or in email or in phone conversation. It seems I’m going to be occupied with family health over the next couple of days, dealing with my parents’ situation and taking Linda to various doctor appointments. After that – well, we’ll see, but I’m going to try to get back into the flow of work as soon as possible. My most immediate blogging plans include:
- Even though the posts won’t be up to my usual standards of detail, I’d like to write SOMETHING more based on the various conversations I had in support of my forthcoming NoSQL article.
- As Merv Adrian recently noted on Twitter, Aster has some news coming up.