I recently had a bladder infection, which increases my tendency for urge incontinence, and my doctor prescribed an antibiotic prophylactically before the culture was complete.
When the culture results were received the office notified me that the antibiotic would probably clear up the infection, but to let the office know if I did not see any improvement. I obtained a copy of the report and, doing my own research, found that the bacteria that grew was resistant to the prescribed antibiotic. This resistance is so well know the laboratory that did the culture did not test the bacteria for sensitivity to the prescribed antibiotic.
With some trepidation (after all, I'm not a doctor) I pointed this out to the doctor's office. She reviewed the results and agreed the original antibiotic was not appropriate, and prescribed a different one.
I believe a nurse in the office made an honest mistake and gave me the wrong antibiotic. The names of the antibiotics were similar. This particular mistake did not cause any major issues, although it could have, if the infection ascended to my kidneys.
My point is, if you suspect a mistake has been made, or you are not receiving the care you feel you need, speak up. After all, it's your health at stake. You must be your own advocate, and either you or your insurance is paying the bill. Never assume a doctor or members of their staff will always be correct. Specialists such as urologists have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of patients and see many of them every day in their offices. In my case, my urologist is also a professor of urological surgery, so she has teaching residents to contend with as well.
And, to be honest, in general mistakes do not bother me. We have to remember that medical personnel are people too, and we all make mistakes. It is unfortunate that sometimes people die from medical mistakes, but this can happen in other professions as well. Don't be afraid to take up for yourself!
Published On: April 20, 2011