“Care” provider

April 25, 2007 at 7:03 am (kids, shots, social issues)

I am my child’s advocate. Responsible for teaching them, guiding them, loving them, nurturing them, disciplining them, and, yes, protecting them, I believe I have reasonable expectations from my children’s physician. I expect a physician and his staff to be kind, caring, patient, and helpful. That’s about all I expect.

Suffice it to say, we are in a situation where that trust has been violated. Not by a direct act of the Dr., but by the direct acts of one particular staff member. This staff member is so troubled, that since I alerted management about the situation, she has become even worse.

Their response to us was basically “so what?”

That’s…bad business, at best, bad medicine, definitely. But this woman’s response…? Pick up any psychology text book, turn to “sociopath,” and there you’ll have it.

I feel sorry for her, for the whole organization, which proudly posts a sort of Code of Ethics that they obviously don’t adhere to.

In that vein, the one time I have seen “my” allergist, he referred to me as What’s Her Face in conversation with a staff member in the hallway. I should have known then that patients aren’t people and don’t deserve respect, in this practice. But I forgave it. I actually didn’t realize he was talking about me.

I suppose the thing that really screams RED FLAG is that we expected to be treated with civility and respect by everyone in that office. We did not expect to be run down, either behind our backs or in front of our faces. The woman mentioned previously mistreated my son, lied to me, and now is absolutely scary to be around. Well, she was always scary but now she is really Scary Mary, if you know what I mean. The corporate culture in that place is sick.

And I don’t go to someone who is sick to help me get well, you know?

I want to stop going there immediately, but we are waiting for insurance options to open up. Sad, isn’t it? And believe me, they understand that they’re the only allergist in town. It completely affects their “care.”

I’ve never been treated this way in my life. I have to pray before every visit into their offices. The kids have to pray. We have to pray for strength to make it through.

I just don’t think it has to be like that.

Additionally, I was disturbed that this situation was treated so dismissively by the same of group of doctors that manufacture and sell the air filters I promoted and had begun to sell from my website. I was so impressed with these air filters that I was willing to get into the business of selling them.

Now that the intregrity of their medical practice has proven to be what it is, I certainly can’t stand behind their consumer products. The whole idea just makes me sick.

I realize that medicine is a business, just like anything else. However, if the lady at the counter at McDonald’s is hateful, the manager will do something about it. Not for “revenge,” (which is the word their manager used to describe our concern – how caveman is that?), but for common decency, common sense, and for the betterment of the out-of-line employee as well as the health of the business. That’s the selfish side of customer service – I will take care of the business for the business’ sake, and by doing so, I must take care of the customer.

In a more sophisticated market, such as real estate, law, accounting, and, yes, medicine, a higher level of professionalism than what one finds at McDonald’s is expected.

Sadly, I’ve had better customer service there – and I rarely even go there – than I got from our allergist and his team. We went out of our way to make sure they understood our hearts. We were called liars, and they currently “work around” the problem. The work-around isn’t working, though. You can’t work-around the culture they’ve empowered and encouraged by condoning such abuse. Period.


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Peanut Allergies by Brenaya Hewlett

March 19, 2007 at 7:12 am (Canada, education, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, safety, school, shots, social issues, USA)

“May contain traces of peanuts” “Made in a facility that also processes peanuts.” These are two sentences I hate the most.” The one sentence I love the most, “made in a peanut free facility” Chairperson, honourable judges, ladies and gentlemen and fellow students. I’m going to share with you how a person gets an allergy, what anaphylaxis is and how challenging it is to live with a peanut allergy. Do you like peanuts? Well I sure don’t because to me, they are criminals.

I got my allergy because I was born prone to allergies. I have significantly lower levels of enzyme which breaks down the chemical that causes bronchial spasms. I also have high levels of IgE antibodies that are activated during and allergic reaction. Allergies are hereditary instead of someone just getting it from one parent I got it from both of mine. Because both of my parents are already lacking enzyme to give to me they give me even more IgE antibodies. I got my peanut allergy after I was born. Since I was born prone to allergies that is what started it. When my mom was breast feeding me almost every food made her nauseous but she still needed her proteins so she overdosed on peanut butter and whole peanuts. Since I have low levels of enzyme my kids will have terrible allergies because I have practically none to pass on and way to much IgE to give. Studies show that over sanitized conditions in the west have caused immune systems to overreact to absence of other infections.

What is anaphylaxis? A dictionary defines this as “a term commonly used to denote the immediate transient kind of allergic reaction characterized by a contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries due to release of pharmacologically active substance classically initiated by the combination of an allergen, mast cell-fixed and cryophilic antibody known as IgE” you might now have understood any of that but in simpler words anaphylaxis is an immediate allergy reaction that completely shuts down every single thing in your body. It is a life-threatening reaction when cells in your respitory system swell causing suffocation, cardiac failure and loss of consciousness. It must be instantly treated with epinephrine to buy you enough time to get to the hospital. Statistics show that 1.5 percent of Canadian kids have deadly peanut allergies and 15 children die a year because their peers at school were eating peanuts around them.

It is extremely challenging to live with a peanut allergy. Just imagine living your whole life knowing you could just touch a door knob and die. Try a little experiment, be me for a week you cant eat anything with any type of nut in it. Each food that you do eat you have to read the ingredients twice to be sure. At the bottom of the list get used to seeing made in a facility that also processes peanuts, and if it does say that sorry you cannot consume. If you accidentally touch peanuts, scrub your hands arms and face for five minutes and air dry. if you smell peanuts cover your mouth and nose and run away until the smell is gone. It is harder than it may look!, And there is always cross-contamination. When you are at your friends house you cant eat anything. If they had peanut butter on the knife and then put the knife in the margarine and you ate it well it is now time to go to the hospital because you are in anaphylactic shock. To sum it up, peanut allergies aren’t just something that the victim takes cautions about but everyone needs to.

In conclusion, 73 percent of people don’t know enough about allergies to be around a person that has severe reactions. Today you heard how people get allergies, what anaphylaxis is and how annoying allergies are. Next time you meet someone with any type of severe allergy show some sympathy for them. If they go into shock get out the epi pen and pull off the grey cap at the tip and jab it in their thigh, believe me it might sound weird but you will be their hero.

Brenaya wrote this speech for school. Thanks for sending it in!

Oh, PS. Sometimes people write to me and say they are having trouble breathing. If you do that, PLEASE go to the emergency room or doctor as before you even finish your email! I would drive you, myself, but oftentimes I get emails from other countries from children saying they are having trouble breathing. As a parent (and a human being) it troubles me to think that you emailed me and then perhaps collapsed.

If you write me once because you are feeling sick, please write me later and tell me you are okay. I worry about anaphylaxis and asthma and what might be happening to you.

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Thoughts on Allergy News

January 16, 2007 at 8:51 pm (Allergy News!, Australia, Blog & Websites, kids, medical, shots, social issues)

Hey, gang.  In case you’ve wondered why it has been a month+ since the last show…I have a lot of material in mind, and a lot going on that I want to include in the show.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad, to be honest.  Not bad, as in “gripe, complain, grouse, boo, hiss,” just bad in terms of…”how should I best address this on the show?”

One of my priorities for this show is to provide a forum for parents–allergy parents–who serve as advocates for their allergic children.  I’m in a challenging situation right now, waiting to see what the outcome will be.  I will be honest: I have lost my temper in this situation once already.

I’ll fill you in when I know how things are going to turn out.  Hopefully God will grant me the grace to have my interaction in this scenario serve as a blessing to others.  That is my prayer.

In other Allergy News news, Aaron Dwyer has volunteered to co-host with me soon, and I have discussed  some ideas with a local allergy businessman re: the direction of the show…there are a lot of things coming up in the future for Allergy News.  Stay tuned.


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