Friday, January 20, 2023

Medical Malpractice Gangman Style

OK, so I guess we need to get this out of the way:

So, what does that have to do with medical malpractice? Absolutely nothing. Pure clickbait.

Moving on to the actual malpractice.

Over the weekend of January 7-8, Florida Medical Center's IT staff attempted to upgrade the entire system that pretty much all local doctors, labs, etc. use. They failed. Not just a few glitches or a bug here or there. Completely and utterly crashed and burned. Everything, phones, fax, medical records, appointments. It was all toast. Staff were forced to call patients on their own personal cell phones to cancel appointments indefinitely. Now here we are two full weeks later and most offices are still closed or operating at reduced capacity. One of my doctors actually went back to paper records. It's the 1970's all over again. What's next? Bell bottoms and afros?

For me personally, this couldn't have happened at a worse time. I previously posted that I was having some problems with my lungs. That deteriorated into full blown bronchitis that I still haven't manged to fully shake. At least enough of the systems were up and running yesterday that I was able to get into my cardiologist (just in case this is something far more serious that bronchitis). It will be interesting to see what has been lost in this whole fiasco. Medical history? Labs? Scans? When my cardiologist pulled up my medical records, all I saw was a mostly blank screen.

I addition to all that, I have medications that I get patient assistance for from the manufacturer. See, Medicare hates diabetics. My insulin, that I need to stay alive, cost over $400 for a 90-day supply. By contrast, something that's really medically necessary like boner pills, I can get for $15 for a 90-day supply. How does that even make sense? Anyway, because of that I have paperwork that needs to be filled out every January and sent in. Part of the form is my information, the other part is the doctor's information. I filled out my part, highlighted and marked with sticky notes the two places the doctor need to complete and sign. I dropped everything off at the doctor's office. Two weeks later, I called the manufacturer to follow up and of course, nothing had been sent. I called the doctor's office and they promised to take care of it right away. Then I get a letter from the manufacturer telling me the application is incomplete. I call and sure enough: everything the doctor was supposed to do was blank. Call the doctor's office. Sorry the office is closed and even if the nurse were around our fax machine isn't working. (And no, I cannot fax it myself. It has to be faxed from the physician's office.)

What I'm waiting to see is IT geek heads on pikes out in front of the Medical Square. Screwing up this badly back in my day would be instant firing and being black-listed from any IT job. Ever. I can't say with any certainty what happened but for everything to be out for two weeks it had to be some sort of database conversion gone bad. About the same time I got out of the game, there was a new "theory" just starting to float around that software developers were too important to bother testing the crap they write. Just throw some crap out there and let the user find all the bugs and fix on failure. That's probably ok if you are writing some Facebook game, but mission critical software needs to be tested. Updates to mission critical software need to be run against production data on a test server before you... well... screw the pooch and shut down every doctor office in an area that is about 75% seniors right in the middle of cold and flu season.

Welcome to living in the third world.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Welcoming the New Year

I'm welcoming the new year at about 2AM thanks to whatever is wrong with my lungs. Laying down is nearly impossible without going into a coughing/choking fit. I've already seen one doctor about what the hell is going on and I have appointments with at least two more with a chest CT in there somewhere. Bronchitis has already taken down both of my parents; my mom was so bad she ended up in the hospital for a couple days. My dad isn't that bad yet, but he's heading in the same direction. From what we hear, everyone is getting kicked in the head with whatever this is. 

Regardless, I can already see that I'm going to end up with five new doctors and 16 new medications. Happy New Year to me.

For us, last year wasn't anything special. We didn't do anything or go anywhere. Just plodded along putting one foot in front of the other. About the only significant event of the year was that Debbie was able to get a very part time job for the six months that we are in Florida. It's only $100 or so a week, but even that little bit takes a lot of pressure off, especially with the way the price of everything is jumping. I was hoping that 2023 would be different, but it's not off to a promising start. We have at least one big event that we are already planning for; my dad turns 90 this year so we are throwing a big bash up in Michigan around the middle of May. I'm not real clear on how we are going to pull that off when we can't even get onto the property until the end of April, but we'll make it happen. 

I expect the next year to be somewhat interesting with inflation officially still running at over 7% (the real figure may be as much at twice that) and the Fed still aggressively raising interest rates. Cars, housing and higher ed have already taken huge hits. We've talked to a couple local businesses and they are still reeling from Covid shutdowns. My parents' church here in Florida is in serious trouble. Personally, we are hanging on to every penny we can just in case things really start to wobble. We'll see if we can pull out of this or if we crash and burn in 2023.

With all that in mind, have a Happy New Year!!!