Thursday, February 21, 2013


This past Monday was a school holiday and a day off from work for me. And as I usually do on days off, I scheduled as many doctor and other medical appointments as I could. One of the scheduled events involved going to Solstas Labs to get blood drawn for Ashley's upcoming visit with her neurologist.

In our city we have one megalab company with many locations around town. However, even though I have tried several of the locations, we have never had a positive experience. Surprisingly (at least to me), megalab was uncomfortable trying to draw blood from a child with significant special needs, including difficult-to-find veins. Then I found a smaller company that did an excellent job.

In 2007, desperate to have a more positive lab experience for Ashley, we tried the only other company in our city. Then called Carilion Labs, the experience was wonderful. I chronicled all the wonderful things in this post. If was a few years after that when Carilion became Solstas, and unfortunately, our good experiences have not continued.

Ashley has to have blood drawn every three months. Not including this past Monday, the experiences were difficult at best. One of the times, we even had to come back three times just trying to get 4 test tubes of blood. Each of those difficult times, the staff person was the same. So when I walked in Monday morning and saw her again, I was not happy.

The staff person is of Asian descent. I mean nothing by that, but am only trying to paint a picture for you of our experience. When we first walked in, I asked why all the handicapped parking places had been blocked off. The staff person (lab tech?) said, "I don't know, but there are other close parking places." She was correct, but none of those spaces were available. She just responded with, "Oh."

She then took my insurance cards and lab ordering instructions, and after 6 tries at copying the documents, finally succeeded. But this time, Ashley was starting to quietly cry.

The lab tech (staff person?) told us to come on back, and asked, "Why is she crying already? I haven't done anything yet?" I explained that Ashley knew what was about to happen and that was why she was crying. The tech then told me to get Ashley to sit in their special chair. Of course, it would have been nice if she had spoken to Ashley, even if I had to sign what she was saying, but she didn't. I told her that moving Ashley to the chair was not a good idea, and that previously her blood draws were always done with her sitting in her own wheelchair. The tech sighed heavily, and said, "Well, then this may not work."

At that point, she reached out to grab Ashley's arm and put the blue tourniquet on it, and of course, that's when things really started to go downhill.

First, you do not reach out and just grab Ashley's arm, or anyone's arm for that matter. Second, I mentioned that this was going to be difficult, and that we needed a second person to assist. The tech said she could handle it, but everytime Ashley pulled away from her, the tech jumped and acted like Ashley was intentionally trying to hurt her. The tech then said, "You have to keep her still." I chuckled softly, and said it was difficult to hold her, hold her wheelchair, comfort her, and also try to sign instructions to her. I suggested again that she recruit some help.

Another tech was walking by and heard our discussion. She stepped in to assist, and really seemed to know what she was doing. She was firm but considerate with Ashley. When the first tech again said Ashley needed to be still, the second tech said, "Get over that, she's not going to be still. You just have to work more quickly."

With the solid comfort of the second tech, Ashley did begin to settle down, and finally the first tech was able to get the blood drawn.. You see, Ashley doesn't mind getting stuck and having blood drawn. What she minds is people coming at her and not telling her anything, people tugging on her and restraining her without some explanation.

When all was done, the first tech handled Ashley a bandaid and told her to put it on. Say what???!! I told her Ashley would not tolerate bandaids and that they just needed to apply pressure until the bleeding stopped. She pushed a wad of gauze at me and said, "Here, you do it."

Carilion Labs, I don't know why things changed? Were you bought out? Whatever the reason, things have not been good since Solstas took over. And Solstas, even though your website states you are "a caring, client-centered pathology team dedicated to patient care", Ashley and I don't see it that way.

Here's hoping Solstas is bought out by a company that is a lot more like Carilion.

ATM: The excitement in Ronnie's eyes when receiving his new standing wheelchair.

1 comment:

schnitzelbank said...

Do they have a Twitter or FB account? Yelp? Negative public press usually yields some results (although I've had it also just go nowhere, the company posts some assy reply, which is telling of their customer service!)