Unfinished Business Show
As we near the end of our season, White Coat, Black Art serves up a little unfinished business - some things from earlier this season that we've been wanting to get back to.
We meet a young man who blogged about his unpleasant experience at Eastern Health, Newfoundland and Labrador's troubled health region, and got a senior executive to pay attention.
A few months ago, we told you about a woman who went looking for her mother with dementia but couldn't find her because her mother's substitute decision maker wouldn't give permission to reveal her whereabouts. This week, we have an update on her story and an interview with a social worker who has the tricky task of dealing with families of patients who can't make decisions for themselves.
We also have your reaction to our Nursing Home Violence show on what to do about violent patients at long term care facilities.
Tune in Saturday at 11 am (11:30 am NT) and again on Monday at 11:30 am (3:30 pm NT) on CBC Radio One. Don't feel like waiting? Click on the button below to listen right now or download the podcast.
Earlier this year, we aired The Hospital Fixer show in which I visited Newfoundland and Labrador to examine problems at Eastern Health, a group of hospitals and clinics that serves 300,000 Newfoundlanders in and around the capital St. John's. You may recall that Eastern Health was the subject of the Cameron Inquiry into serious errors in the testing of women with breast cancer.
We heard from patients unhappy with the way they were treated there by doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. Who could forget the story of Nancy Mojica-Fisher, the woman who went to the Dr. G.B. Cross Memorial Hospital in Clarenville, Newfoundland for an infusion of the drug Remicade and got a dose of cancer chemotherapy by mistake?
Last year, Darcy Fitzpatrick had a bad experience at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's. Most people complain to their friends and family. But Darcy, a video editing whiz kid who blogs at Signal - the St. John's blog decided to use social media to get his point across - and was surprised when he got a response from the powers that be.
Darcy's protest worked because he stumbled onto a little-promoted truth in health care. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The other reason why Darcy's complaint got such a positive response is that he kept his cool and showed respect.
Back in January on our Privacy show, I spoke with Jen Romnes about the difficulty she had locating her mother's whereabouts after her mother was admitted to a nursing home. Jen's father - who as substitute decision maker had the power to act on her mother's behalf - ordered staff at the long term care facility not to divulge to Jen her mother's whereabouts. He later relented and gave permission to release that information to Jen.
For Jen, the story has something of a happy ending. After our show aired last January, Jen requested a hearing with the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board. The board appointed Jen as her mom's substitute decision maker for all treatments of advanced dementia and the sharing of medical information and access by family members.
The situation involving Jen highlights the problems that may occur when family members and others are asked to become substitute decision makers. Often, it's the job of the hospital social worker to help broker these arrangements. Scott Wisner from the Scarborough Hospital in Toronto fills us in on what it's like to talk with family members on the edge that have conflicting ideas of how to act on behalf of a loved one.
From unfinished business...we end with an unfinished physician. Shara Yurkiewicz is a first year medical student at Harvard. She describes herself as "naive, idealistic, and probably wrong about most things". She's excited enough about the journey towards becoming a physician to write a blog entitled "This May Hurt A Bit". You'll hear more of Shara and some other columnists we've got lined up next season on WCBA.
And finally, you've deluged us with great questions for our season-ending 'Ask Dr. Brian' show. We don't need any more questions for now. I'm sure we'll be back with another 'Ask' show next season. Tune in June 25 and again on June 27 for answers to your amazing questions. And check out our web site over the next two weeks for sneak previews of answers to your pithy queries.