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When Doctors Don't Follow-Up On ER Referrals

Posted Oct 26 2012 12:58pm

I am always appalled when I read or hear accounts of tragedies that have occourred because a private doctor has simply sent a patient to an emergency room and then not followed up to see what occurred, the results of the tests, and how the patient was doing. I think this is particuarly important for pediatricians and family doctors. Many ER doctors have little or no pediatric training. When I was in pediatric private practice, we had no ER doctors. i met the parents and their child in an ER and did what was necessary. If the child had to be admitted to the hospital I made morning and everning rounds. That way no lab report, X-ray, or problem slipped by without my knowing about it. I simply don't understand how any physician can  send a child or adult to an ER and wash their hands of the problem. This is just BAD medicine.

Continuity of care is so very important and a lot of tragedies could be avoided if doctors cared enough to follow through when they send a patient to the emergency room. Doctors will argue that they don't have time to do this. If you are trying to make a lot of money as a physician and running patients through your office like cattle in a stockyard, that is probably true, but if you care about your patients and money is not your goal, then you make time. When my brother was hospitalized in Las Vegas,  I flew there to be sure he was getting adequate care. I called his private physician to tell her that Keith was admitted to the hosptial and assumed she would make a visit. "Oh", she said, "I just work from nine to five and I don't go the hospital." That was the last I heard from her and I was the one  to oversee my brother's care until he died.

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