It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

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Dear Dr. S and Dr. C (purposely not using last names, for physician’s right to safety and anonymity),

I was in your Emergency Department on 1/15/2019, in the morning around 8 a.m.

I understand as I presented as a very unkempt but for the most part, polite 49 year old obese tobacco using patient complaining about a bad cough, but more concerned about the severe left flank pain that occurred every time I coughed or sneezed that a pulmonary issue might take precedence over a digestive one.

I stopped being quite as polite when I checked my tests online and found after almost 3 hours of being there that I only had a urine analysis and pregnancy test, that was run.

I could understand with your facility being a level 1 trauma center that you may not have had time to read my chart, which doesn’t contain much, as I’m a Fairview patient.

Even though I did have a bilateral salpingectomy with endometrial abalation and d/c at your hospital, over 5 years ago and that my chart while not up to date with diagnoses, is update to with medications I am on, which gives an idea of my health issues.

However, while you got Lisa the vulnerable patient yesterday, you’re getting Lisa the activist today, in hopes it helps with others like me, who honestly thought they had an acute health issue and was NOT drug seeking.

This is what I can’t understand and is unacceptable to me, and when things are that way, I try to say something, make it a teaching moment, regardless of the socio-economics, education and profession of those who’s biases effect how I and others, get treated.

NOT every patient who goes through your ED, is looking for opiates, some of us patients who are obese to morbidly obese, have done everything under the sun, to lose weight (hence my side gig as an activist, like one of 3 GLOBALLY, who helps people in medical and mental health trauma with serious gastric bypass complications, on the scale that I do, as well as other medical and mental health activism that I do).

My visit yesterday at Hennepin Healthcare’s Emergency Department, wasted time and money.

It caused me unnecessary duress, because you have patients with barriers that have a propensity to possibly be violent, which caused enormous anxiety.

But the worst duress I experienced, was the assumptions and absolutely NO questions asked about certain things by physicians, that could’ve made my visit a lot more pleasant.

I did see, after I pushed for a blood work up, that were ordered FOUR hours in to my visit, my labs were good.

I also saw today, that I was prescribed a script that was ordered and filled at your pharmacy of high strength ibuprofen when I have a bleeding ulcer history and NSAIDS are an absolute terrible treatment option for pain for me ( and again, I did NOT ask for ANY medications, nor will I get or take script).

Unfortunately, when the IV came out, my vein spurted which wrecked my discharge paperwork and the pants I was wearing and all over my hands and some of the staff was ready to send me home with no help, until another set of staff saw that I was tired and shaky and helped me and I was appreciative of their help.

For quiet non violent introverts, your Emergency Room department is a terrifying place to be.

As I’m sure it is for a lot of people, introverted or not.

For those of us who’ve been labeled  due to mental health issues, it’s even more amplified, with anxiety caused by patients who are violent and fear of medical professionals who’ve labeled me, in the last 17 years, not just for mental health issues, but because I had bariatric surgery.

And while some staff was great at the hospital, what will leave a last impression from what will be my last visit to your facility, is that a busy physicians didn’t take the time to ask me anything, either assuming I didn’t know or wouldn’t be truthful and while you were nice, once I said something about being upset about that, that’s NOT okay.

So please, for the mental wellbeing of your future patients, if they are ambulatory, alert, articulate and polite, don’t label or practice medicine with preconceived notions about a  patient.

Actually, just DO NOT  practice medicine with any preconceived notions about a patient, like EVER.

As in my case, I loathe seeking medical attention and my visit from yesterday made it that much harder, way harder than it should’ve had to be.

As well as it made it more difficult for yourselves, and I have the utmost respect for physicians (as well nurses and all other hospital staff)  of any specialty, but especially for those who work tirelessly and usually without thanks, in an Emergency Room.

So thank you for your time yesterday and today, and hopefully going forward this will help both patients and physicians in your hospital, going forward.

Respectfully, Alissa “Lisa” Kasen

Update: 1/17/2019, when I wrote this yesterday, I tweeted it to Hennepin Healthcare and to my delight, they actually tracked me down and called me, today,  to address my concerns, which is much appreciated.

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