Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I still can't believe a health professional said THAT!

Today began early: I was at the regional hospital at 6.30 to join the queues to collect Mma's 2-month supply of chronic meds. The nurses offered a lecture on the management of cholesterol and diabetes. We also had a question and answer session.

I was sitting next to two women who've had the condition for a while. One woman has had diabetes for 17 years, so she was happy to also share some tried and tested tips. Another woman just received  a book called Dr Bernsteins Diabetes Solution as a gift from her sister who's based in Australia. The book seemed to have a lot of useful information, so I'm going to see if I can buy from Exclusive Books when I'm next in Joburg, or order an ebook version from Amazon.

The pharmacy portion of the trip didn't go so well though. The hospital was short of insulin pens and while they did have the insulin in bottles, the pharmacist only gave me a few needs.

When I complained that the needles were not enough, she suggested that I use each needle until the sharp end becomes blunt (I'll tell when injection becomes painful, she said).

Nope! I'm not joking. She actually said that. I pointed out that needles must never be used more than once and there is a warning label on the needles saying exactly that. Her explanation is that since I use the needle on just one person, mutliple use is unlikely to transport infections from one person to another.I decided not to argume and just buy more needles from a commercial pharmacy. But it also made me wonder what other people who don't have the money to buy their own needles have to do. BTW, it also struck me that needles don't seem to be a regulated commodity. Basically, I can walk into a pharmacy and buy a bunch of them and so far, no one has asked me what I plan to do with them. Maybe that's how drug users can get them?


tiah said...

Not a medical doctor, but I'd rather be safe than sorry and use a new needle on myself every time. I suppose money is a factor and not everybody can afford such a privilege.

Anonymous said...

I too have a similar situation when collecting my chronic meds from my local Government Hospital, namely my insulin. This hospital does not stock the pens but only the viles. They too only supply me with five syringes and needles and I was given the same instructions to use each one until it becomes blunt and it hurts you. I have since complained and now receive 15 sets of needles/syringes. But what has me really concerned now is that, I now for the next six months go to the clinic on a set date each month to collect my meds, thereafter back to the hospital for another checkup and it is again repeated. The problem lies with the fact for the past two months they have included my needles and other meds, but NO INSULIN. What a joke! Garry Seach

Damaria Senne said...

Oh my word Garry! That is a definite problem. I'm also planning to complain when I next go to the hospital in July to collect the meds. What bugged me the most, I think, is that there are probably people who'd take such instructions from the medical professional and not question it, and heaven knows what kind of germs they manage to inject into themselves using the needles multiple times.Then there are the ones who can't afford to buy what the hospital/clinic didn't provide and they don't consistently get their meds.
@Tiah - I've dealt with another pharmacist at the hospital who is more reasonable. When there is a shortage, she gives me a note which basically states that I can come collect any time within the next 28 days and lists whatever meds/medical tools that I need and they were short of. I don't mind going back.

Ordinarylife said...

wow, that is bad.

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