Dear St. Mary's Hospital Administrator:
My daughter, Ashley, is 17 years old and has many special needs. Unfortunately, she also requires a lot of medical interventions. In the past, we have always found the medical help she needed at your hospital. Sure, there have been some bumpy spots along the way and that one time that was beyond words bad, but overall things have gone well. Until yesterday...
Ashley has had a severely swollen ankle and foot for 6 weeks now. When it started, her doctor had us immediately go to a hospital that was not yours (because you weren't available on a Saturday morning for an emergency) for an ultrasound and blood test to rule out a blood clot, a life threatening condition. Fortunately, there are no blood clots. But Ashley's ankle and foot are still swollen.
Ashley's doctor then decided to order a cat scan under anesthesia at your hospital. When I didn't here anything from your staff for two weeks, I called to find out when the procedure would happen. Your staff couldn't tell me because they had lost the doctor's order. So, we began the process again.
The doctor resent his order - your staff called me four (!) days later and we scheduled the cat scan under anesthesia to happen a week and a half later - which was supposed to be today. All the while Ashley's ankle and foot are getting worse, worse to the point that she must now use a wheelchair all the time.
Your staff person responsible for obtaining insurance authorization for Ashley's procedure waited until 3pm yesterday, the day before the procedure was supposed to happen, to contact both insurance companies, companies whose normal business hours end at 5pm. Needless to say, that was not enough time to obtain the authorization, and your staff person called to tell me we would have to cancel the procedure or I would have to pay out of pocket. Given the exorbitant fees your hospital charges, paying out of pocket is not an option, and so the procedure was cancelled.
I have no idea when it will be rescheduled. Your staff person couldn't tell me. What I would like to know from you is what I should tell Ashley.
When she asks why she can't participate in the basketball game at school, what should I say? When she asks why she always has to use her wheelchair, what should my answer be? When she complains about not being able to wear a shoe on her swollen foot, what do you suggest my response should be? And if and when we do get the procedure scheduled, and hopefully find out what is going on with her ankle and foot, what should I say if the answer is not good and the problem should have been addressed sooner?
Your hospital's tag line is "Good help for those in need." Well, we are in need, and there has been no good help. So what now??