"Admission to hospital and getting medication on time"

About: St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

(as the patient),

My story is about my admission to St Vincent’s Hospital earlier this year. It’s a long story but I self-admitted to accident and emergency of St Vincent’s as per discussion with my local doctor as I was not well and I thought I should be in hospital.

It’s a long story why but my local doc and I had had an argument with my private rheumatologist who had refused to treat me, otherwise, I would not have been there.  

My experience with emergency was pretty good.  I’m not sure how long I waited but I saw an experienced consultant that listened to me and rang an old Rheumy of mine that works at St Vincent’s.  I was admitted and I went through my meds with the doc. The next day when I got to the ward and asked the nurse if I could check that my meds were written up correctly. The nurse said they would page the doc. Anyway, the doc came, I checked and my meds were written up wrong.

This firstly should not have happened but what I was most annoyed about is when I got up to the strong opioids I was on, I feel the doc had a very judgemental look on their face! I told them that my slow release (SR) ones were not 'as required' but twice a day all the time, they seemed shocked about this and gave me what I felt was a judgemental eye roll.  I then proceeded to tell them that my one IR was 2 a day as required!  Then when I told them the meds I took to help me sleep, there were more ‘looks’.

These meds had (I’m on different ones now) been prescribed by my Rheumy and local doc and I’m under the care of a pain management doc. It is not the doctor's place to judge me for the amount of meds I’m on. I feel the doctor was inexperienced and has no idea how having complex medical issues and having chronic pain for 40 years leads you to have a lot of health problems involving lots of medications!

The second problem I had was not getting my SR opioids and prednisolone on time.  I have been on opioids for roughly 17 years and pred for 40.  My body is physically dependant on both of these.  SR tablets are supposed to last 12 hours but they only lasted about 9. On about 3 occasions there was about 16-hour gap in me getting them.  I’m not sure how long for the pred but too long for that too.  One morning I was sent for a CT without my tablets. At first I couldn’t work out why I felt bad (headache, dizzy and just weird).  I worked out that it was because I had not had my opioids or pred.

Then, once I was feeling better I had to tell the nurse that I need to get my meds on time or early. This mad me feel like a druggie.  I was sick in hospital with a chest infection and arthritis flare and feel I should not have to deal with this.

I believe doctors need more training on how to care for people with complex medical issues who normally have chronic pain and strong medications, particularly with the new laws.  I also believe the more inexperienced docs also need to just know more.  Oh, the docs also managed to write up my meds wrong a second time.

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