Thursday, December 25, 2008

What's In A Name?

Merry Christmas !!

Happy Hanukkah !!


For a while my posts will be short, but not sweet. I am still having to limit my computer time as I tire very quickly.

One thing I learned from my recent hospitalization and rehab stay is that communication is sadly lacking in the medical system. To illustrate this I will tell you how my last name served a worthwhile purpose.

You have all heard of the actor, Kevin Costner. Very often when people hear my name they want to know if I am related to him. At times it's fun to say I'm his mother, but when I tell the truth that my late husband was distantly related, they are impressed. I find this to be ridiculous, but so be it.

When I checked into rehab the woman who took my information was extremely excited to learn that they had a Costner in their midst. It seems that Kevin is her favorite actor. Later that evening she was telling everyone in the office about me. It so happens that my primary care physician had stopped in to get the room number of another patient there and overheard the conversation. He asked what was the first name of the Costner patient. When they told him my name he said, "That's my patient." and took over my care from that point on.

Up until that moment not a single person who took my records bothered to inform him that I was in the hospital, even though his name was on my HMO card and the information that he was my primary care doctor was given.

I later discovered that this was a small example of the compartmentalization that occurs in the entire medical system. If it isn't their job the information goes over their head into outer space and never gets reported to the proper person. At times it can be very frustrating.


Bear Naked said...

Merry Christmas Darlene.

Bear((( )))

Gary White said...

Great to see you on the blog again, Darlene. Hope you have a happy holiday season.

joared said...

Am not surprised about the name thing. Glad you received the good care, but sad that's how it happened. I recall many years ago when I was serving a facility a woman stroke patient came in for Rehab. Seems she was the mother of a well-known still living Academy Award winning actress. As soon as the the primary owner of the Rehab company with which I worked then learned of this family relationship she immediately came out and took over. She had never ever done that before or after. In fact, I rarely ever even saw her, much less talked with her though I was quite involved with one of the other partners.

Glad you're on the mend. Happy holidays!

Rain said...

Merry Christmas, Darlene and glad you are back posting, short or not.

That is amazing about the Costner thing. I had read it got people reservations in restaurants and freebies but had no idea it would impact medical care also. I guess it's human nature but not something to make a person feel good. Incidentally, he's also one of my favorite actors and not just because he's good looking or even a good actor but he picks such interesting and worthy projects to make films about. He has a queue of which he can be justly proud and likewise even his distant relatives :)

Darlene said...

Bear, Thank you and Merry Christmas to you.

Gary, It is rewarding to read such a nice comment. Than you and I hope your holiday season is nice also.

Jo Ann, Well, I didn't get the VIP treatment because of the name. I guess I should have been his mother.

Rain, I never tried using it for reservations. I guess I should give that a whirl when I am able to dine out again.

Kay Dennison said...


Merry Christmas to you and yours!

kenju said...

I am not surprised about that Darlene, but I am dismayed by it. I hope you will get better soon and that you had a Merry Christmas!

Tabor said...

I have been away, Darlene, but so glad to see by this post that you are returning to the communicative! I hope you are healing nicely, if a bit slowly, and wish the best over the holidays.

Darlene said...

Kay, Kenju and Tabor; Thanks for sticking with me. Have a Happy New Year full of peace, love, good health and joy.

Anonymous said...

That no one had asked you for the name of your primary care physician is astounding. I've never had a medical emergency; but, whenever I show up at any medical facility, the first thing they want to know (after my name and DOB) is my primary care physician's name. The medical people in your area need to get with it!
You must be doing OK if you can rant! *grinning*
Cop Car

Darlene said...

Cop Car. Thanks for visiting. They did ask for my primary care doctor's name, but no one informed him that his patient was in the hospital or in rehab.

NancyB said...

It saddens me to read your post about the terrible communication in the facility in which you were admitted. Being a health care professional, it also angers me. I read about your fall on Time Goes By. I wish you well. Be patient with yourself. You will gain strength. Eat well, drink fluids, and make sure your surroundings offer you a safe haven.
Do you have home care/support? If not, you may want to check with your doctor as Medicare does certify home visits by a nurse in certain cases. Even though you are on the mend, it may be comforting to have someone check in on you.

I hope you are able to walk around some in your home. Just don't overdo it. Take care. Happy and healthy new year to you.

kyrielle said...


I'm over here from Time Goes By also - glad to hear you are home and on the mend. It's shocking to me that your primary care provider wasn't notified - and a good wakeup call. I think I'll discuss this with my husband - if we are ever in a similar situation, we can call and advise them ourselves to be sure that gap in communication is closed. (Er, well, after I again HAVE a PCP - my last one moved and is practicing in another state now.) So glad that he did learn of it in your case, at least!