Sunday, July 24, 2011

Memories...

The brain that would not die...

In 2005 I took care of a patient with Jakob-Creutzfeld disease (or Creutzfeld-Jakob, depending on where you trained). This an uncommon, rapidly progressive, neurological disease.

My patient's family got in touch with a research program at the NIH, where they were collecting brains from these patients for further studies. So after he died later that year, his brain was sent off to their research center.

To this day, once a year, around the time he died, I get a letter from the NIH, asking how the patient is doing.

I used to write back pointing out that THEY had his brain, and to ask him. Now I just toss them.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Ibee, what's wrong with these people?

My grandfather passed away in 1999 and twice a week for two years I got letters from the hospital for treatment rendered after the date of his death at the same hospital.

I would call and say I don't know how he could have had an MRI on 3/99 when he died 1/99 or surgery on 4/2002? I made them reverse the charges, reinburse his HMO and Medicare.

I thought I had it all taken care of after the first few years, but still once a year I get a bill from the hospital saying he owes some sum of money.

Now, I tell them (last bill arrived just last month), when I get to the Pearly Gates (provided I don't go to HELL), I will have him write you a check.

Do hospitals really think they can get away with this?

Simpleton said...

Not surprised.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 9:59 -
Why don't you bill them for time and expenses plus interest, and attach a copy of the death certificate? Maybe they'll get the hint, maybe they'll send you a check. Send copies to the local newspaper health care/political/political reporters (depends on where you live), head of the hospital corp., et al. Name 'em and shame 'em...

a.generic doc said...

Considering the number of patiets you blog about who seem brainless, perhaps there is some logic to their wanting to know about one who really is.

Mockingbird said...

Send 'em a bill for services.
Make it artisanal.

McDuckGA said...

@anonymous 9:59 - I'd be threatening the hospital with a lawsuit for emotional pain and suffering, on account of them making you relive the painful memory of your grandfather's passing. Maybe that will get their attention!

Loren Pechtel said...

I think there are plenty of examples of people who are alive but don't have a brain. Why would you think that them having his brain would prove anything?

Dr Killpatient said...

Well, maybe the employees at the NIH following up on this study also have CJD?

Anonymous said...

Left hand, meet right hand. Now go forth and do good, not duplication.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a joke:
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: Yes, I guess it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Teri said...

On a practical note: next time you get a letter from them, before you open the letter, write "Refused, Return to Sender" and then cross out your address (Sharpie on a window envelope will work). Then drop it in the mail. They will have to pay the return postage and perhaps that will make them stop. If not, repeat it every year and make the suckers pay.

Anonymous said...

I still receive life insurance offers and insurance news letters for my step mother. She's been dead for 10 years now.

Anonymous said...

So long as he was buried rather than cremated, you could truthfully answer "He's cool." or "He just lays around."

C said...

maybe they are doing a 10 year study and they NEED 10 yrs of data, so they have to collect 10 years of data. You should tell them: "He's still dead."

 
Locations of visitors to this page