General Hospital

It's better and more confusing than the soap opera. It's my adventures at General Hospital LAC+USC. Let's get caught up on the story.

Rosa's spleen is enlarged, and she's caught up in "the system". Her boyfriend, John, is tagging along, marvelling at the Byzantine system that is LAC+USC. They both worry that the condition can be polycythemia, a rare condition where the marrow produces red blood cells nonstop, and if left untreated, will lead to thrombosis, and death. It could also be a bruised spleen from a fall.

How Private is My Medical Information

This morning, I got a call from Rosa requesting a ride to the hospital. She'd talked to a nurse there to get her blood test results. Simple enough, I thought. I get that kind of info over the phone sometimes. But, no, she had to go in person.

When I drove her there, it took a few minutes for Rosa to be told that, no, the results would not be given out. The doctor needed to talk with her. So an appointment was scheduled. Also, they would not schedule her to CT scan her spleen, despite the fact that the doctor requested it last time.

That seemed stupid. The scan was requested at the prior appointment. They should just send the request, so it can be performed before the doctor appointment. That would knock out two birds with one stone.

It also seems odd that the test results aren't immediately being interpreted by the doctor. The diagnosis for polycythemia, assuming the right tests were done, are simple: splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), high red blood cell count, and arterial O2 saturation. If these criteria are not met, then this serious disease can be re-tested for other criteria.2

Further information seeking is going to be undertaken in writing. According to the California Patient Bill of Rights, patients have a right to their medical records. A written request opens the door to get access to records within five business days of the date of the request. Clients of the County system may or may not be covered under the law, but, the spirit of the law should be followed. Failure to do so would be scandalous.

1. Stuart and Viera. Polycythemia Vera, American Family Physician.
2. Krause and McLay. Polycythemia Vera.