Jan. 20 2017 01:00 PM

    Yes! If it affects your life and livelihood.

    We pay professionals to do a job. When they do their job well, there are few problems. But, when there are oversights, that’s when trouble begins.

    I spent a week at my family’s dairy farm over the Christmas holiday. There were two incidents, within a two-day period, that gave me great cause to worry about the attention to detail in our human health care system.

    The first one involved my mom, who had colon cancer several years ago and still has some side effects from the surgery. The doctor had recently ordered a CAT Scan to determine why she was experiencing a feeling of constriction to her body.

    After several delays at the pharmacy, we learned the doctor had prescribed a preparatory medication in which my mother was severely allergic. What followed was a drawn out discussion including many assistants at the pharmacy, doctor’s office, and even the radiology clinic.

    The conversation involved a bunch of circling dialog.

    Health professional: “Cannot do it without the drug.”

    Mom: “No, I am allergic.”

    Mom: “Can’t it be done without the drug?”

    Health professional: “Your doctor prescribed it.”

    Mom: “Is there a substitute drug to take that I am not allergic to?”

    Health professional: “We cannot change the doctor’s prescription.”

    Overall, it was like a comedy routine; but in this case it was not funny.

    So, between all the parties, and hours of explanations and reeducation, Mom was finally able to have the CAT Scan, without the medication she was allergic to, and relieve her worries that she was going to get ill or even die from the drug or the procedure.

    The second scenario involved my dad. He had to complete milking early to make his morning dentist appointment. They were scheduled to pull some teeth and fit him with dentures.

    For a half dozen teeth being extracted, Dad had little pain and milked that afternoon.

    However, at his two-week checkup with the denture dentist, the specialist was shocked to see that the first dentist did not pull all the teeth he was supposed to!

    Who knows what went wrong?

    Were instructions not clearly written?

    Was information not read?

    Did the extraction dentist overlook it?

    So, why is this a blog? Lots of reasons . . .

    • Do not assume that everyone providing health advice is informed and has checked the records. In my mom’s case, it could have been a very dangerous situation.

    • Be your own advocate. If you are uncomfortable, ask questions until you get an answer you are comfortable with.

    • If you have close ties to a parent or grandparent, or small child who has health issues, just check to be sure they understand health-related issues.

    • If you are unsure about anything, refer to the records. That is what the information is for in the first place.

    This ties into responsibilities on the farm and animal care as well.

    Be sure your employees are aware of why they are performing their duties on your farm. Do they understand the ramifications of medications, antibiotics, and drug residues? After my two days dealing with human health care, it is no surprise that the general population questions the actions of lay people and veterinarians who care for food animals because I was questioning the professional human caregivers.

    So, while you may not be charged with doing everything on your dairy farm, it is in your best interest to stay on top of all tasks and have solid communication with those on your team. It might turn into a life or death situation for an animal. But, even more importantly, take that same attention to detail to your own health and those you care about.


    Patti Hurtgen

    The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.