March 17, 2010: Hospital board needs Dr. J back

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To The Editor:
In today’s health care even doctors are disposable. I can say this with certainty because my internist was.
Dr. J. Ravunniarath and I met after I came very close to dying. I became ill on April 4, 2007 while at work. It was a strange illness, starting with hiccups and nausea, fainting and then hospitalization. The first hospital transferred me when I became weaker and they couldn’t arrive at a diagnosis. Much of the following five months of being in intensive care units I don’t remember.
The illness I had was so virulent and difficult to manage. The ICU doctor who put me on life support remained attentive and directly involved with my everyday care. My husband described to me how he put a desk at the door of my room and remained there giving me direct care. He turned my bed to face the window, in the hope that maintaining a relationship with reality would help me survive.
I was sent on to Albany Medical Center where, after four months, I was sent to rehab at Countryside Care. At rehab I didn’t do well because it was too soon. I left rehab when my insurance wouldn’t cover any more days. I went home without a doctor, after being followed so closely by so many specialists. My husband did not know what he would do. The home nursing service we called, a service I had worked for as a RN, refused to accept me as a patient. Furthermore, the nurse who came to our home called Adult Protective Services. They thought my devoted husband and family would leave me without care, something that would never happen.
This was when I met Dr. J. He did not shy away from me because I was complicated or difficult. He helped us in too many ways to list. He regulated and adjusted my medications so that I became stronger. Dr. J. didn’t have the resources of all the specialists I had in the hospital, but he became essential to my recovery.
At home I have healed beyond expectations. The Albany Med neurologist says my recovery is a miracle and says he doesn’t like using the word miracle because it took all the human effort out of it. I told him I see miracle in my situation differently. I am alive and healing because of faith, a devoted husband and Dr. J.
Years later I’ve stood, now take brief walks with physical therapy or my husband. Much is still limited because of near intolerable pain and persistent exhaustion. We cried, me, John and Michelle, the physical therapy aide, when I first walked. Dr. J. believed physical therapy was worth trying again (3rd time) and he was correct.
Since Dr. J. left Margaretville I have had to find another doctor. I’m so glad I did since the doctor who replaced Dr. J is already leaving. I’d return in a minute though, if Dr. J. came back. I am hoping that the Margaretville Hospital Board of Directors will reconsider their decisions that led to Dr. J. leaving.

Claudia Costa-Jacobson,
Andes