Keep track of your medicines!

This weekend I learnt not to trust Ambulance and Hospital staff with my medication. I was admitted on Saturday morning early with chest pains (being of that age 🙁 with a family history) and the Ambos must have taken my blood pressure and cholesterol tablets. That was  either for easy referral to by hospital staff, or in case I needed to take any, I guess. I don’t recall completely the sequence of events, although I do recall being questioned about some out of date pills I’d forgotten to throw out. There’s no other way they could be missing, at any rate.

When I was discharged about 8 hours later, I took the belongings home that I knew about. However, even if I knew to look for them, I don’t recall any indication that I had pills to retrieve as well. Therefore, somewhere along the line, some procedure failed and I left without them (assuming they weren’t thrown out). That means – due to excitement around the election, and mucked up schedules – I went for a day and a half without taking anything to control my blood pressure. That wasn’t a damaging in my case AFAIK, but I hate to think what might happen if some critical medications are taken and misplaced by emergency medical staff.

After a phone call to RPAH, I’ve determined that I now need to go and buy replacement medicine as they have nothing in their lost and found box. I’ve written to both institutions noting the procedural problems and hopefully they’ll  fix how they handle patient medication. My next step is to have a better procedure myself; the obvious step is to keep the bulk of my pills and the scrips stored in a drawer, away from prying eyes, and have a small name-tagged bag containing enough pills etc. for a few days as the readily accessible stash. Emergency staff  can take and lose that and it won’t mean I have none left.

Update: I’ve received a very quick response from NSW Ambulance with a request for follow-up information and a formal response with an incident number. That’s most welcome, even though I suspect that the issue lies with RPAH staff. Note that I’d be very critical of any individual, as they were all very helpful and polite while being run off their feet. There’s obviously system failure in staffing levels and more general resourcing issues. Shit happens and we need to speak up and try to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.



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