Almost daily blood draws at hospital

Posted by jhp @jhp, Dec 14, 2022

Is this normal? Dad asked what they were testing for, and they said that it was routine for everyone on the floor to get their blood drawn. It's been nearly two weeks since they did all the imaging and mentioned cancer (still no lung biopsy yet, but there is a leg biopsy with pending results) possibly SCLC, but other than bone pain, dad is otherwise fine. They're planning to give him radiation at the end of this week only for the bone mets. His arms are all bruised up from the blood draws.

I'm worried about hospital aquired anemia. Other than prediabetes according to his last checkup, he doesn't have anything that would require a daily blood draw to monitor him for but they've been drawing his blood almost every day for two weeks now. I would think they'd hurry on the lung biopsy, but no word at all. I see from googling that overtesting is an issue, but the doctors don't visit everyday and I've haven't been able to find anyone to speak to.

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@jhp – How frustrating it must be for you and your Dad to lack answers.
I know how difficult it is to find the doctors to speak to them in the hospital. If you are designated as a person to talk to, you can go to the nursing station, and ask the nurse what is the most effective way to let the doctor know that you need to speak to them as soon as possible to understand what is going on.
My friend was in the hospital last week, with no next of kin or medical POA nearby. Three of us shared the caregiver/oversight and reported back to her daughter. (2 of 4 are highly skilled RN's) Between pain meds, we had her let the nurses know that she wanted the name of every test & blood draw & the results written on the board in her room where she could see them. When they resisted, she offered to get the doc to order it. It was done, and we could monitor what she often couldn't remember, and remind her of what had been done. Ultimately, this led to her getting a much-needed transfusion, which jump-started her recovery.

Once you know you are going to talk to the doc, have a written list of questions & space to make notes, so you don't forget things. Confirm that his primary doctor(s) and not the hospitalist (staff doc) are ordering the blood draws. My daughter (hospital RN and former paramedic) once said some hospitalists, leery of missing something because they are so busy, will order extra tests so if anything unusual sets in, the lab results will flag it.

Do you have a list of questions ready to ask?
Sue

Sometimes you need to very politely be the "bur under the saddle" – it is then easier to do as you ask than to argue with you constantly. So, if you don't get what you ask for, ask at every shift change until it happens.

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Thank you @sueinmn I followed your advice to call a doctor back today. Couldn't reach them but I did leave a message at the nurse's station so maybe they will call me back tomorrow.

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@jhp

Thank you @sueinmn I followed your advice to call a doctor back today. Couldn't reach them but I did leave a message at the nurse's station so maybe they will call me back tomorrow.

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Bless you for trying to help – it is so hard, as you know, to deal with the busyness of our doctors…like I said, you need to be a burr sometimes.
Good luck, and take a deep breath.
Is your Mom in a small hospital, or a larger facility?
Sue

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@sueinmn

Bless you for trying to help – it is so hard, as you know, to deal with the busyness of our doctors…like I said, you need to be a burr sometimes.
Good luck, and take a deep breath.
Is your Mom in a small hospital, or a larger facility?
Sue

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Dad is the one with the diagnosis in a large hospital. Mom is staying with him at the hospital as a caretaker.

It looks like I won't need to broach the blood draw topic because they're planning on discharging him very soon since his insurance doesn't cover anything other than emergency treatment at that out of state hospital. He had bone mets that required surgery and this out of state hospital could treat him surgically soonest so his admitting hospital made the call and transferred. Now I need to find out does he really have to recover from the orthopedic surgery before getting any cancer treatment since he won't be able to walk for a few weeks, but if it is the SCLC timeline…my parents tell me the doctors would hurry if this was an emergency. I don't agree.

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