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Doctor’s Diary: Dodging Bullets

| Community | January 16, 2020

He fell and couldn’t get up, requiring hospitalization. A surgical procedure corrected the problem. On discharge, medications were changed including stopping a water pill and potassium.

This 87 year old military veteran faced many combat situations and survived. He followed discharge instructions explicitly, taking blood pressure and other vital signs every day.

The third week post-hospitalization, his wife called and said he was unable to come to an office visit because of weakness and low blood pressure. I did a house call.

Indeed in his daily diary, blood pressure had slowly decreased over the previous 10 days. So did his weight despite unchanging dietary habits.

Looking at his medication bottles from a mail order pharmacy, he was still taking a water pill and potassium. “It came in the mail two weeks ago and I assumed one of you doctors wanted me to remain on them.”

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Obviously there is no communication to some outside pharmacies as new changes are not implemented. How many times a day does something like this happen in our country?

He survived combat heading into his nineties. Now he has to continue dodging bullets in an all too often faulty healthcare system.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.

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