Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Badge?

I've been absent for the past few days thanks to a last ditch effort to get in all of Paige's tests and specialist appointments before starting back to school.

Yesterday we headed to the children's hospital to have blood work and a sweat test to check for Cystic Fibrosis. Paige has chronic sinus infections (since she was a baby-yes I know the sinus cavities are not formed then-hers were) and the mucous is very thick. We are seeing a new allergist/immunologist who suggested testing for CF. Although her symptoms (very thin, constipation, chronic sinusitis, etc) can be easily traced back to her early birth, quite a few docs have now suggested we rule out CF.

So, we find ourselves at the lab (in the children's hospital), first thing in the morning. The tech (not sure if she is considered a phlebotomist) was rude. I really hate it when rude medical people work with kids. Her and another tech (who has absolutely nothing to do with our procedure) are chatting about their friends and the "wild night out" they had a few days ago. She never once introduced herself. I'm so put off (after only 2 minutes) that I look up to see her badge and make a mental note of her name. Yes, I was formulating my letter as I sat there and it wasn't going to be nice. One problem... no badge. I was surprised since the hospital has posters all over the hallways instructing you to make sure all personnel have a badge. So, I nicely (honestly) asked if they did away with their badge system. She got quite rude and explained that she slept at her mothers house last night and forgot her badge.

Now it's finally time for Paige to have the sweat test. Paige is an excellent patient. She does what she is told without any argument-no matter what is being done to her. Her ONLY request is that you tell her what you are going to do, step by step, before you touch her. I don't think it's too much to ask. Paige then asks the tech, "Can you please just tell me what you are going to do, before you do it?" The tech rolled her eyes at Paige and started to do the procedure-without explaining! ARGH! The copper plates are placed on her arm and the machine is turned on. Paige only flinches and the woman rolls her eyes again! Mind you, Paige has not even made a noise.

When the sweat test is over it's time to have the blood test. Paige sits on my lap, offers her arm (she is a pro-having over 100 blood tests) and asks, "Are you going to use a butterfly needle?" The tech doesn't even acknowledge Paige. When Paige sees the full tray of vials she asks (with a trembly voice) "do you have to take that much blood today?" The tech laughed at her! Paige asked her, once again, to please say each step out loud. The tech wipes down her arm and sticks her with the needle. No warning. Paige still sat there, without even flinching. When she was done the tech just walked out of the room.

No offer of a sticker for the best patient in the world.

No offer of praise for the best patient in the world.


How convenient that she wasn't wearing her badge. I'll still be making a phone call next week, when Paige is back in school and I can be free with my words.

If you are in the medical profession and can't stand kids... please stay away from the children's hospitals!


jdkelly said...

I would be ready to jump the tech. You are very right a person like that has no place working with kids nor in MHO working in a health care setting in general. My oldest is the same way with tests and procedures. As long as it is explained step by step no problem other wise she will end up with a major anxity attack later that I not the person doing the procedure has to deal with. This leads to later mistrust in persons preforming other procedures.
It sounds like Paige handled it all very well even though she was probally very stressed to do so.

Laura said...

call them!!!!
omg, this is against joint commision standards and such a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
in my workplace one msut return home (regardless of the commute) because no badge no work.
i am sorry you and your daughter was subjected to such rudeness.

The Preemie Experiment said...

jdkelly wrote "I would be ready to jump the tech."

I was on the verge of losing it. A few times I said something like, "Paige is an excellent patient. She has been through so much and really needs to know what is going to happen." But the tech either rolled her eyes or just ignored me. Ugh!!!

Laura wrote: "call them!!"

Next week Paige will be in school and I plan on calling. I think there were a few times when the tech was rude that Paige didn't realize. I don't want her to hear me on the phone and have her relive it all over again.

Thanks for telling me about the standards Laura!!

Laura... normally (if I have a compliment) I just call the hospital and go through a ton of people before I reach the right one. When complaining about a specific person... any idea on which person (their title) I should ask for??


Long Time Listener said...

One of the most effective complaints I ever had was when I went back to the ward, without my child and went up the management line there and then. I couldn;t write it down as i was so angry. Is it possible for you to go in and do it in person?
The personal touch works and scares them - make it clear that she never touches Paige again.

God - I am SO angry on yours and Paige's behalf.

Future of Hope said...

You handled yourself MUCH better than I would have, I am afraid. No badge would have meant a conversation with a supervisor to verify identity and credentials before she touched my son. And refusing to acknowledge the child's questions? My hand would have been between the needle and my son's arm. I would have then repeated the request. If she still refused to cooperate, then no blood would have been drawn.

I do agree that anyone can have a bad day, but to take it out on a child is inexcuseable!

terri w/2 said...


I suggest that you go to management as well and tell them that you posted this to an internet BLOG. I'm willing to bet they do something about her pronto. Can you do it today by any chance? I mean, if they knew this happened YESTERDAY, they would know who the offender was - a week from now it might be more difficult for them to track this down.

This gal needs to be canned. This was not only unprofessional, she was ABUSIVE. I'm fuming right now as well.


ARA said...

I am so sorry about your experience.

I used to work in the medical profession 5 years ago, graduated in 1995 - and I can't ever remember a time when the instructors in the classroom and clinicals did not drill into our heads
1. greet and introduce yourself
to the patient and parent
2. ask the patient and parent if
they have any questions about
the procedure before and after
3. explain the procedure step by
step before and during the

I would not just call - write the letter and send it to the chief of staff and the president of the board of directors of the hospital. Not that you would not, but be sure to include the personal chit chat with her co-worker and the fact she wasn't wearing a badge.

Andrea said...

After my first son died, I was furious with some of the things that happened in the hospital.

I wrote a vicious but somehow tempered letter. Sent it to the CEO of the hospital system, finance director of the system, to a board member, my personal OB (who I adore), the PR department and I can't remember who else.

Oh my oh my. You wouldn't believe how fast that got a reaction.

I might add that I've had excellent care at that same hospital several other times and wrote them highly complimentary letters. I think youhave more credibility if you're willing to dole out praise as well as criticism.

Of course, that bitch you dealt with deserves every ounce of hate you can muster.

Go get her!


terri w/2 said...


I have to agree with you on the effectiveness of letter-writing! Several years ago, the marketing campaign for our local hospital corporation sent out their quarterly magazine with a miracle baby story - it was ridiculously one-sided. The baby featured was a year old and very obviously disabled - hydrocephalic head, nystagmus, etc. I was furious that nothing was mentioned about anything disability-related or that prematurity is any problem what-so-ever. The letter I wrote was copied to all of the pediatricians in the area as well as all of the OB's. I heard NOTHING. .until, one day when at an appointment with my beloved family practitioner, he was just SO excited. He said "that was THE BEST letter" - it was the talk of the weekly pediatricians meeting at the hospital, and NO ONE disagreed with it. He was so proud of the fact that this letter came from one of HIS patients.

The hospital corporation that generated the story - not one word from them.

Been There said...

Our state's Children's Hospital has a Patient Relations Department (hard to find on the website but it is there), and I have had good results with it, not only to settle billing discrepancies but to make them aware of their terrible automated phone system where you rarely get to speak to a real person, and when you leave voice mail, they never return the call. Everytime we go, I take a notepad and jot down the names of everybody we talk to, beginning with the desk person. They were wearing their badges! Our main complaint has been office personnel conducting personal calls on the phone while patients are waiting at the desk. Funny, how they can answer the phone for personal calls but just leave the voice mail on for business ones!

The Preemie Experiment said...

future of hope wrote: "And refusing to acknowledge the child's questions? My hand would have been between the needle and my son's arm. I would have then repeated the request. If she still refused to cooperate, then no blood would have been drawn."

Believe me, I wanted to react strongly but that only makes Paige's anxiety worse. I would have caused a scene and even a mild disruption in the flow of events could send her into a panic attack. I had to stay calm and that was very difficult to do!! lol

Long time listener... I wish I could go back to the hospital and complain in person. Unfortunately it is very far. I still plan on calling.

Thanks to everyone who gave me ideas on WHO to call!!


Laura said...

stacy, i'm late on this.
i would suggest calling patient relations as well as contacting the manager of that particular department
good luck
ps good luck to paige with this new school year.

Reserved Stipulation said...

Wow, that made my stomach turn. I'm glad you're calling on it. Good for Paige for being so good mannered about it... definitely an A+ patient in my book!

Kitty - The Librarian Fox said...


I am not fond of children BUT I would NEVER act like that B**** did! She was obviously not mature or smart enough to handle a job like this and should get her arse kicked!

I don't know what to say as I am so pissed off on your and Paige's behalf!

The Preemie Experiment said...

Update... The day after I wrote this post, I received one of those patient survey forms in the mail. I filled it out, scoring accordingly, and writing my comments. I also checked off that I wished to be contacted.

We'll see how attentive they really are.