Bad Medicine


I made a doctor’s appointment for my ten month old son in January. The first problem I had was the fact that my insurance company allowed me to pick the doctor of my choice which was great since at first they picked one for you. While making an appointment to see this doctor I was told that the doctor I chose no longer worked with this particular clinic and hasn’t for a while. I was then told that my son was going to see some doctor on staff. I was not thrilled about that as I do like to know the background of the doctor and find out a little bit about their specialties etc. before I allow them to start treating my son, myself or any of my family.

This was only the beginning of what I felt was a nightmare situation. I received my son’s medical card which had the medical center I was to visits address. When I arrived at the address a little more than a half an hour before his appointment in case I needed to fill out paperwork, I was told that the clinic had long since moved to a new building. The people gave me the new address and off I went to hunt it down. Since mind you I am new to this city having only been here for about four months, so it was a trial to find my way around.

After arriving to this new clinic I asked for information on what I was to do next since this place was extremely big and there were no information signs. I was told that I needed to go to registration first. When I finished filling out the paper work the lady registering my son made a few phone calls, I had no idea what she was doing so I asked her how long this would take since his appointment was at 11am and we had about 2 minutes left. She said it wouldn’t take long and about half an hour later she hands me the phone and said that she had been trying to change my PCP or (primary care provider) to this large clinic. I said I did not want to change my PCP and was told in a snippy tone that if I wanted to see the doctor today that I would “HAVE” to, so I reluctantly complied.

After finishing I was sent to the second floor again with absolutely no information or directions to again hunt down where I was supposed to go. She said the yellow section, so I wondered around since there was no staff to ask until I ran upon an area painted completely in neon yellow. This area was filthy but then again the first thing I noticed was that the whole building was completely filthy and very unkempt.

I gave my paperwork to the nurse behind the desk and she asked if he was a walk in or an appointment, when I said appointment she said she couldn’t locate his name. After a little searching she said that he had been put in as an appointment for the previous Friday. I told her that they told me Monday and she said that it didn’t matter because they were never open on Fridays anyway. So I guess if I had the right date I would have wasted my time and gas coming to a closed clinic for nothing.

She said I was now a walk in and to have a seat and the nurse would be with me soon. I asked if he was still seeing Dr. Blank and I was promptly told that Dr. Blank was actually Nurse Blank RN. There was no doctor. I was not happy as if I wanted him to see a nurse I could stay home and look at him myself. I just sat down disgusted by all the filth in the halls, on the walls and floors. It looked as if people had been tracking in mud and dirt for days with no mopping nor sweeping even though the weather had been sunny for a few days. It was horrible to say the least.

As I sat and watched the nurses call babies into the weight and measurement room where I was seated directly adjacent to, I noticed that these nurses didn’t even use any Universal precautions. They were putting all the babies on the same scale without even cleaning or putting down new paper. When I brought this to their attention I was told that the babies were clean and then dismissed. I was extremely uncomfortable with this as most of the babies were obviously suffering from some sort of upper respiratory ailments and looked pretty contagious.

The last straw was the fact that a lady and her mother were arguing after she was told by staff that the mother had bad breath and the daughter became angry with her mother with whom she began to fight. I then went to the desk to complain and to ask about another appointment with an actual doctor elsewhere, instead of a person there was a sign that said the nurses had all gone to lunch and would be back in about half an hour and to wait patiently. So not only could I not get any help I was supposed to wait patiently to be seen by one of these nurses who seem to have no work ethic. I had had enough of the dirty, condescending, substandard care and treatment from these non professional individuals.

I left and plan to change my PCP to some other doctor’s office as soon as I can find one that is acceptable. This is just one in a long line of substandard customer service and professionalism that I have had to endure in this state. I am wondering if this type of substandard care is indicative of what I will find anywhere here in this predominantly black community or if is this is a state problem that coming from Idaho and Washington State I have not had the misfortune of dealing with?

My biggest concern was that this place was full of sick and downtrodden people who looked as if they couldn’t or didn’t know how to change the circumstances of this clinic. I immediately took it upon myself to write letters to the government and to the medical provider in order to let them know the substandard conditions that exist there. I have never seen such horrible conditions in a clinic even having worked in nursing for over ten years. I was surprised that people actually were patronizing this place. It was almost as if they did not feel that they knew that there was anything wrong with this place. Young mothers with tiny babies and elderly folks all waiting for any semblance of care was disheartening.

I didn’t just take the experience of this place and file into the negative section of my memory. I actually went home and immediately documented the entire events of the day so that I could do something about it. To me if I had done nothing I am no better than the people providing that substandard care. I sat down at my computer and typed out a letter that I sent to my insurance provider and to the complete list of government officials that represent this area. I went from senators to the state auditor to the alderman. I left no one untouched. And hopefully the next time I post about this place it will be to say that it has been much improved. And for the sake of everyone who frequents this place something will be done.



Filed under African American, Black community, Black Culture, Black Family, Black People, Racism, Universal Healthcare

4 responses to “Bad Medicine

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Jason Rakowski

  2. Hey Sentinel,

    Your ordeal sounds like a nightmare. The one thing about Canada is that it is much easier to get the health care you and your family may need. As you know, we have a form of universal health care here. Although it may not be perfect and it has become difficult to get a regular family doctor these days (without a personal reference), nevertheless, you can walk into any clinic and see one… no problem. There is a long wait at the hospital for non life-threatening emergencies, which has led to an increase in clinical care, which is at a high standard. There is also no issue with cleanliness. Especially with a little one, it would be unacceptable! Do you miss the Great White North!? (lol).

    I currently live in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, but I grew up in Toronto… North York and Scarborough areas. I moved to Ottawa almost 2 years ago from Windsor… where I lived for 4 years. I have never been out to Manitoba or Alberta, but we may go to Calgary this year as my wife has a good friend there who is always inviting us out to visit.

    May I ask what had brought you to Canada and where do you reside now?

    I hope all is well with your son… as well as you and the family.


  3. Well as a child we lived just over the border from Vancouver BC and spent every other weekend there. I loved it so much that I vowed to move to Canada when I grew up. So my little family did just that. It actually was a good time for us in Toronto. I loved the area we lived in. It was just different than the States.

    We are in Missouri right now and I really can’t say that I like it very much. I just have to deal with it right now. The little one I was talking about was actually in the oven when we left Edmonton. We actually left Edmonton due to some racist behavior that we felt was akin to something you’d get in the States.

    I was disappointed in the behavior but found out a little too late after the move that Alberta was the one place you would definitely find the racism. So we just left and went back to the states.

    I found a better health care facility for him to go to and hope that it will stay that way. Even with the problems you pointed out about Canadian health care, it still sounds better than the millions who can’t get any type of medical care. I find that ridiculous. People have to wait until it’s chronic then go to the ER. Then the cost is astronomical.

    Anyway, thanks for the well wishes and reply.

  4. pattiredd

    You said it all in exactly the right frame. From the dirty, unclean, unsanitary facilities to the lack of ethics, morals and caring of human beings. Our medical system is in the toilet – for real. Good documentation and good for you for writing about it. I agree 100% with your stated opinions. Now – just to get some freaking answers to the appalling state of our “health care.”

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