I am resident, Louisiana. Come and sit by me, cher, and I’ll tell you of the heartbreak that is poverty. Listen to my tale of woe, so that maybe again our state can find the big ole heart I know it has. My story is but one in a sea of tales. We are legion.

This article chronicles the full experience of a single mother who’s a Medicaid recipient.

Prior to the incident on 5/18/17, the resident had been attended by physician A (PA) and psychologist A (PSA). The former was treating a very bad sinus infection, and prescribed;

  1. Steroid Shot
  2. Amoxicillin

(When that failed)

  1. Methylprednisolone
  2. Clindamycin
  3. Albuterol

PSA had resident on the following for GAD and PTSD;

  1. Effexor XR
  2. Klonopin
  3. Lamictal

On May 18, resident was brought to hospital A, incoherent, and with limited motor function. She was attended by her brother, who had limited information about her medicinal history, other than that she used BC powder for occasional pain. She was not cognizant, the initial report read “obviously intoxicated.” She was admitted to ICU, and they found a high aspirin count. She had never abused the drug nor recalls overtaking any at any time prior to hospitalization. She was not coherent the first day or part of the second. Once cognizant, she waited for the doctor to make rounds and he never did. She AMA’d and went home.

The following Monday, she called PA and had him transfer the hospital records. Upon receipt, they called and advised her PA would not see her unless she agreed to inpatient rehab. When she incredulously asked why, the receptionist at first said she couldn’t divulge that information over the phone — then said resident had tested positive for K2/spice in the hospital. The resident disputed the result, PA still refused care.

She researched all her medications. She found Lamictal (a psychiatric drug used to treat mood disorders) can cause false positives for PCP. For one particular test, it causes a false positive for K2. She sought the opinion of PSA for confirmation to clear her name, only to find that they too would insist on rehab.

Questions:

  1. If it was believed BC powder (aspirin/caffeine) were the culprit of the attack, why was she incoherent and not high on caffeine?
  2. Why was nothing ever explained directly to her in a cognizant state?
  3. K2 requires a more invasive than usual drug test. If there were no real indication of drug use with a regular drug test, why dig deeper to find something?
  4. It is her right to dispute a drug test and the hospital must reasonably accommodate. Why was this not honored by three different doctors?
  5. Why did the PAs office reveal sensitive information via phone?
  6. Is it not disconcerting that a doctor will prescribe a drug without knowing it can trip a drug test for illegal substances?

This resident is a 32 year old single disabled mother of 3. She has PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Crohn’s Disease. Left untreated, the Crohn’s alone could kill her, slowly and painfully. She’s worked since she was 14 years old, but can’t anymore. The only reason she isn’t homeless is due to the kindness of friends.

Without the Medicaid expansion, she would have died. With it, she was saved, but not without injury. Those doctors no more wanted to help her than the man in the moon. They wanted to be rid of her.

I am resident, Louisiana. We must all stand up before we can’t anymore. I don’t want to leave behind sad orphans whose only memories of me are of a sick and hollow husk. I’ll keep fighting for them, you, me — everybody. It’s all I can do.

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