So I can’t say we were surprised when our Referral Center got a call asking for their help … at least, not until we heard the nature of the request!
But we work in a parallel universe to the one filled with ‘normal’ people … so I guess, after all these years, the only surprise is that we were surprised!
A teenager had been seen at a hospital in a small town in a rural part of our state, found to have catastrophic injury and, after a nearly 90 minute unsuccessful resuscitation effort, he was pronounced dead.
Due to extenuating social situations prior to his life altering event, his excellent previous physical condition and the emotional dynamics swirling in the local ER, no one was truly shocked when family insisted he was just “nearly dead” (which as all movie aficionados of a certain age know from watching Princess Bride) is “mostly alive”.
Apparently not wanting to be the only bearers of this bad news themselves, the local docs transferred him (by Air Ambulance, of course!) to an adult hospital within our system where he was assessed, futile resuscitative effort were terminated and he was, in fact, finally pronounced dead.
Family however, still refused to accept this ‘diagnosis’ and insisted on getting ‘a second opinion’, insisting "it was their right covered by insurance and Obamacare" … which by this point was, actually a third, fourth and fifth opinion since multiple doctors in several specialties, in each previous facility, had been already consulted.
Really, I never knew cessation of all body functioning was so tricky to diagnosis – doesn’t it just take a mirror held under a nose?
There was never once a hesitation about what the diagnosis was or what the outcome would be…fear of litigation and family pathology was driving the whole bus!
Anway, one of our docs was called to provide the ‘second opinion ‘and obstacles, like not being on staff or having hospital privileges in that facility, were swept away like so much sand on the linoleum floor.
A drive across town, a review of the medical chart, lab and monitor print outs plus one brief physical exam later, he was indeed pronounced dead.
I swear, all it takes is ONE article about a neonate being mistakenly pronounced dead in northeastern Argentina – and healthcare costs in this country sky rocket as a result!
Ever wonder why our healthcare costs are SO out of control in this country?
This story is the tip of the iceberg, my friends.
Tip. of . the. iceberg!