Johns Hopkins has fucked up once too many.
The events depicted in this article happened in October 2022. This article was first published elsewhere. I’m republishing it here because it is important to highlight the failures of world-class hospitals at caring for their patients. The article was minimally edited for publication here.
Remember the saying?
ADABe: All Doctors Are Bastard, eventually.
I modified it from the original ADAB. I did say “eventually” originally, but I did not have it in the acronym. Now I do. I modeled it after ACAB: All Cops Are Bastards.
I say “eventually” because it is pretty much guaranteed that no matter how highly you think about your doctor now, at some point, down the road, that doctor is going to act like a bastard. The doctors I mention in this article were all hand-picked by me.
I know some doctors are going to say:
“Wait! I did not do this. You cannot blame me.”
My reply is:
“With all due respect, doctor… fuck you! Fuck you very much.”
Yes, yes, I do understand that the nurse who did not fax the thing she was supposed to fax is not the doctor. I’m not stupid. I do have two retorts to this crap objection, however.
The first retort is this one:
Christ! Why do I have to go back to the Truman years to find someone who is willing to be held accountable? 🤦 At any rate, the various individuals in the health care system, and the various health care teams, have to stop passing the damn buck to their colleagues. If you care, you do not pass the buck! Passing the buck is the antithesis of “caring.”
The second retort is this one. If you are a doctor, then you are leading a team of health care professionals. If your team does great work, you reap the benefits. If your team shits the bed, then you get the blame. That’s how it goes. Simple as that.
“My nurse did not do her work. Don’t blame me!” is not a great reply to the patient when the nurse fucks up.
So I said in my subtitle that Johns Hopkins has fucked up once too many. The latest fuck up is that I need my PCSK9 inhibitor renewed. My insurance company sent me a letter to that effect. I contacted my lipid specialist at Johns Hopkins.
I’ll be frank and say that I don’t remember who told me this exactly, but I was told that I needed a cholesterol test, and that the script would be sent to my lab. We doubled checked the name of the lab and made sure it was the lab I wanted.
I went to the lab at the time of my appointment, only to be told that they did not have the fucking script. This is not the first time this happens with Johns Hopkins. I’ve been for tests before where they did not have the script. The net impact on me is:
- I wasted 45 minutes to one hour.
- I missed meditation that morning because I have to go early to the lab if I want to have breakfast at a semi-decent time. Because…
- …I was fasting for nothing. The cholesterol test is a fasting test, still, in the US. Apparently the rest of the world has moved on from this, but I guess we’re just stupid in this way. 🤷 (We do a lot of stupid stuff in the US, like insisting on using the imperial system… which did lead to a crash on Mars. Bravo, morons! I guess if we switched to metric, the communists will have won… or something as idiotic.)
- My medication schedule was disturbed. There’s one medicine in particular that I must not have one hour prior or after eating.
- I’m now spending more time complaining and writing about a shitty experience that I should not have had.
My oncologist is at Johns Hopkins too, but he has stopped sending scripts anywhere. I suspect it is because the people at Johns Hopkins are so incompetent that scripts cannot be sent reliably. That is, unless the script is sent within the Johns Hopkins system. So to bypass the incompetence, I get an email with the script and I have to walk it over with me.
This is the 21st century. Why on earth should I have to walk around with little fucking pieces of paper? There is a system in place to send scripts electronically. Use it!!!!
This not the first time Johns Hopkins fucks up. It fucks up not only due to scripts not being sent but due to a whole slew of other reasons:
- The dining system at Johns Hopkins is utter crap. You need to call to put in your order. Which century are we in again??? Well, at least we don’t have to use a candlestick phone to make our call. I guess that’s something. I’ve been hospitalized there extensively, and I can tell you that I’ve gotten: incorrect orders, orders that never arrived, orders that arrived at the wrong time, missing items, pigeons… Okay, I’m joking about the pigeons.
- My first discharge from Johns Hopkins was a mess of ridiculous proportions.
- I did not have my stem cell transplant there, because the head of the bone marrow transplant unit is a moron.
- My first primary care physician at Johns Hopkins was lackadaisical. I replaced him with a new doctor, so far so good.
- And there’s more, but I don’t feel like going back to my files right now.
At the same time, Johns Hopkins did save my life. I had cancer. I was almost dead from it, but they brought me back from the brink. I am grateful for this specific aspect of our relationship. That’s stunt medicine. That’s why I say Johns Hopkins is great at stunt medicine. However, I’m not grateful for the continual fuckups that keep happening under their watch.
I’m going to reuse the analogy I’ve used before: being a patient at Johns Hopkins is like being in an abusive relationship, where the abuser sometimes shows great concern for your well-being, but at other times couldn’t fucking care less. You, the patient, when you have a new issue, don’t know where to turn. Will Johns Hopkins give you the care you need, or kick you to the curb and tell you to take a hike! You just don’t know.
Since I was not able to get my lab done, I had to cancel a subsequent appointment I had with my lipid specialist. There was just no way I was going to have my lab done in time. I did tell them exactly what I need from them in the field they present to the patients when they cancel through the patient portal. Let’s see if they do read it.
If they truly care, then they will reach out to me. If they don’t care, then they will ignore me.
An update. They never read what I put in the cancellation field. I also wrote to them in a separate email on October 14th. I’ve not received a response yet.
Who is caring? Not Johns Hopkins.
What am I going to do? I’ve recontacted the office of my lipid specialist again. I also told them that I’m going to publish an article here and complain to Johns Hopkins Patient Relations Department.
Another update. I talked to the Johns Hopkins Patient Relations Department today. The lady was calm and composed, and I was too. They are going to investigate to figure out how this mess happened. That will take a while. In the more immediate future, they are going to get my script to the lab, as I requested.