South Florida Hospital News
Friday June 22, 2018
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June 2018 - Volume 14 - Issue 12

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Publisher's Note

The Flash Spotted in South Florida …

To say I’ve been up close and personal (at least more than my norm) with a hospital the past couple of weeks is definitely no exaggeration. First Drew had a short stay to wrestle with his uncooperative blood clots; but then just as his first stay was ending Carol got herself admitted (in the doctor’s words: Go to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect $200!) for her blood pressure. The good news, their stays only overlapped by 2 days and my Apple watch logged more steps since the day I got it! But then Carol finally got out after a long 7 days, and 3 days later Drew went back in for some further treatment. The vascular department at Delray Medical did a great job and may have even made a bit a progress in Drew’s persistent fight against DVT leg blockages. Kudos and much heartfelt thanks to all!
 
However, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s My Way, “Suggestions I’ve a few, but not too many that I can mention …”
 
My first suggestion is perhaps the least crucial (since as Carol likes to point out to our dinner guests on a regular basis – it’s not like it’s their last meal and it’s has to be amazing!) But food service really shouldn’t be “one size fits all.” And at the very least, grim food served on equally grim trays in the 21st century might need an upgrade. Even pleasant food service employees can’t disguise “Alcatraz” meals.
 
But our family’s most important suggestion involves Discharge instructions when prescriptions involve opioids. Now we completely understand what our country is going through battling this deadly opioid scourge; however, there are times when it is legally prescribed by a physician for use following a hospital stay (especially as in our case, when it involves extremely painful blood clots.) So as Drew was getting his Discharge instructions, Carol even had the forethought to ask, “What do we do if our normal pharmacy doesn’t have opioids in stock (especially on a Sunday?) At which point, we were informed the pharmacy would then check its other branches to find a location where we could get the medication filled. Well, maybe that’s what used to happen? But nowadays, pharmacies say they aren’t allowed to check on existing opioid inventories at other locations even within the same chain, leaving the caregiver in the unenviable position of true pharmacy hopping! I guess, in retrospect, I was lucky I only had to visit 5 different pharmacies to find the needed medication (not to mention a very sympathetic pharmacist) and I was back home in under 3 hours. But it was a frustrating and frightening problem and remains a discharge dilemma – especially for hospitals that do not have the ability to fill RXs prior to actual physical discharge. So my question to all is “How do we fill this gap?” Your thoughts, suggestions, commiserations, are welcome.
 
And in attempt to end on a brighter note, despite all Carol’s been through lately she had the presence of mind to order me a “Flash” t-shirt since I’d been doing so much for her and Drew in the last couple of weeks. She said I reminded her of my idol Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory in my favorite Halloween episode, dashing from one chore to the next. 

 Charles Felix can be reached at charles@southfloridahospitalnews.com.

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