Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The mammogram chronicles – part 8: Backward care at the Västerås breast unit

The phone rang a few minutes ago. It was the breast unit from the central health clinic (Centrallasarettet) in Västerås. They called to report that the mammogram I got yesterday was “normal.” (They also told me this after yesterday’s test.)

“I see you’ve had soreness in your left breast and under under your arm since January. Do you still have it?” (The technician who did yesterday’s mammogram asked me the same question. Yes, I do.) “Then you should probably get a physical (breast) exam, too.” She then offered me FOUR different days at a VARIETY of times with a CHOICE of doctors THIS month.

“Why couldn’t you have taken care of this yesterday when I was there?” I asked. She seemed surprised by the question and mumbled something about availability or scheduling. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly what she said except that it was a bureaucratic non-answer. “Since your mammogram was normal, we wouldn’t normally do a physical exam. But you say you still have pain.”

Faithful reader, if you have been following this chronicle, it’s quiz time. Question number one: Why did I call the breast clinic in January?

The moral of this story: Don’t fall out of the system. If you’re not in the computer, you don’t exist. And if for some reason you pop up, the droids who keep the system going have no idea what to do with you.

Something is very wrong with administration of the breast clinic at Centrallasarettet, and the women of Västmanland are literally paying for it (another visit, another co-payment), also in wasted time and anxiety.

Västerås, stop playing the odds with women's health.

I’m sure my sister would agree.

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