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My mom fell 2 weeks ago and fractured her femur, just above her knee replacement. She is 94, has Parkinson's disease and was diagnosed 4 years ago, but mentally she is still pretty sharp. She got 90% of the questions thrown at her today by an SLP correct, but no other significant issues. Surgery was 10 days ago and was expected to last 5 hours due to what appeared to be a complicated fracture. Thankfully, it went better than expected and finished in just under 3 hours. She is now in rehab and the post-surgical delirium she experienced seems largely gone, but the road to recovery will be long. She seems game, but as we know, nothing is easy or simple at that age. In any case, I am still feeling annoyed with the chief anesthesiologist in the pre-op area who just before surgery casually commented something like "Well, six months is about all you can expect. Statistically speaking." While that may be true, was that the time or place for him to say something like that? I was flabbergasted to hear that kind of remark at such a stressful moment. Am I over-reacting? I know there are bigger fish to fry, but a comment like that at a moment like that seems very out of place, and of course the "six month" thing is stuck in my head. Surely some people defy odds. Report this doctor to someone? Or let it go?

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Thank you, lindylu. I wonder that, too. And these places are not cheap at all. It's really alarming. Thank you for the well wishes!
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Oh no! How do they always manage to do things like that? Our family was vigilant too, especially my mom, but there seemed like there was always something getting messed up. It always makes me wonder how much must go wrong for those older patients who have no one looking out for them. I hope your mom gets back on track soon and that she has a speedy recovery!
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Thanks, careisgiving, msmadge, lindylu, and gershun, for your comments left after I was last on here. Sounds like my mom has been fortunate, all things considered, as this was one of just a very few times I felt a medical professional said something to mom/family that was out of line. Overall she has been pretty healthy and hasn't needed a ton of medical care anyway over the years, which is a blessing. Anyway, as you know and I know, there are much bigger fish to fry now. Just learned today that Mom's Parkinson's med schedule has been out of whack for the week she has been in rehab in spite of my discussing specific timings 4 days ago and being given assurances it would be taken care of. There have been other screw ups as well in spite of this being a very well-regarded rehab center. And in spite of family being very involved.
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Gosh, there have been so many instances with my Mom and with myself where doctors have made inappropriate remarks or done inappropriate things.

The last week of my Mom's life, when she had been sent by ambulance from the nursing home to the hospital, upon my arrival the Doctor told me almost immediately "I believe your Mother is passing" Okay, so I phoned everyone and we all gathered around. He made his final assessment for the evening and everyone was looking at me in a questioning fashion. So, I said "when I arrived you said she was passing" He looked at me and said "We're all going to die sometime, I can't tell you when your Mom will" Kind of a glib remark under the circumstances. I get he couldn't give us the exact time but he didn't have to be all snarky about it. As it was, Mom lasted another 7 days after that.

I think so many Doctors are so arrogant. I just don't expect to like a new one when I meet one. If one turns out to be sensitive and considerate, bonus but it doesn't happen very often in my experience.

I remember getting a pap smear once and I was right next to a window. I was looking out at the construction going on outside and the doctor says to me "Can you imagine what those construction guys would do if they knew there was a half naked woman watching them" Geez............I felt violated. I couldn't wait to leave. What an inappropriate thing to say.

What do you get when a bus full of doctors falls off a cliff?
Ans: A good start.
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It might be best just to call the anesthesiologist or jot him a little note, and just tell him exactly what you wrote here. Your explanation is totally reasonable, acknowledges he did a good job medically; you are not berating him or asking anything of him, just letting him know he was in earshot of his patient's family and that his words were upsetting to the people who agonized over having to send their mom to surgery.

If you don't feel comfortable telling him directly, it also seems fine to write it on the survey or talk to patient relations.
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Five years ago when my mom was going in for somewhat emergency surgery the anesthesiologist in the pre op area told me to prepare myself as he didn't think her heart could take the surgery - this was news to me and mom heard him so I had to deal with keeping her calm and deciding what to do - she had a kidney blockage and was going septic otherwise

Following the surgery the anesthesiologist tracked me down in the cafeteria and apologized for scaring us - while I haven't forgotten his words I'm grateful he did his best by her
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I was initially shocked, too, when doctors would make unsolicited comments about my father (now deceased) and my mother (now, alive). My father was the face of the human spirit in the face of adversity. He suffered horrifically from this and that but was determined to recover. He was a fighter. Doctors were just astounded at his old school grit. I was raised to be respectful to doctors - but then I would get irritated whenever a doctor would say something not appropriate. I have friends who are doctors and they all told me I should say something to a doctor who makes an insensitive comment. They all deal with arrogance from their colleagues all day long.

I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason. I believe my mother miraculously survived sepsis on that oral antibiotic (3rd generation Cephlosporin drug, broad spectrum) because I have unfinished business. She's here for me. You know what I mean? In the ER, the labs showed kidney, heart failure...she was on death's door. The entire hospice team was shocked at Mom's recovery. :-)

You'll get a patient survey in the mail. If you're still bothered by the doctor's comment, just write it down on that survey. Administration takes reviews very seriously. I guarantee you someone will tell this doctor he/she was out of line.

Good luck with your Mom!
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Wow, careisgiving, just saw your comment. That's wonderful about your Mom. She is blessed to have you as her advocate. That's good advice about saying something right away. At the time, I was so surprised, I couldn't say anything. The surgeon was a real sweetheart when it came to my mom; I'm sure he would be ticked off with the anesthesiologist for saying what he did. None of us want to be viewed as a statistic or have a loved one viewed as a statistic. It was almost like he was saying---well, we'll get her thru this but statistically she only has 6 months; which is almost like saying 'why bother'? Very removed from the human spirit in the face of adversity, as you say.
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Thank you all for your very helpful comments. I really appreciate the feedback. Just to clarify, the unsolicited comment was made in the pre-op area quite casually as he was asking me to sign some release form, and it was definitely in reference to life expectancy. Mom was within 5 feet of us, but I doubt she heard him; she was mildly sedated at that point. It cut us to our core at the time; it's just not the moment you expect or need to hear something like that. I know anesthesiologists are far removed from patients (conscious ones), and that is by choice. No need for bedside manner! But anyway, while tactless and thoughtless, he was competent, and for that I'm grateful. If there is ever a patient survey, I may make note of it just on the off chance some other family can be spared a similar jarring remark, but otherwise I won't give this guy another thought. It was a silly and senseless thing to say, and he has no crystal ball; he doesn't know my mother at all. Thank you, everyone, for your feedback and your well wishes for Mom. :-)
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Doctors can be such arrogant know-it-all pricks. They're trained to focus only on numbers, clinical studies, statistics. They're not trained to consider the human spirit in the face of adversity.

In 2013, I rushed my mother to the ER for difficulty in breathing. The ER doctor (who was very compassionate) said my mother had sepsis and the only option for her to live was to admit her for aggressive measures. I told him no way, I'm taking her home on hospice and to just give her an oral antibiotic, letting nature take it's course. He then commented he didn't think the oral drug will be of any use but will order it so I have peace knowing I did everything I could for her. He then followed up with "Her death is imminent..." She shockingly fully recovered from sepsis from only using this oral antibiotic. She is with me today, four years later!

I would let this one go because your focus is your mother. However, in the future, if a medical professional says something you feel is inappropriate - call this person out for it - right then and there. People, in general, are raised to trust their doctors, treating them with respect. I was this way - until I got a full dose of the realities of healthcare. I now let a doctor know I don't appreciate his/her comment. I don't yell at the doctor. I just tell the doctor where I stand.
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If I'm understanding this correctly Stacey the comment was not made as part of a discussion about the viability of the surgery or in answer to a question but was voiced in pre-op, long after his opinion was wanted or useful.
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If the surgery went well and she recovered from the anesthesia effects fairly quickly, I would assume he was a competent anesthesiologist. I would let it go. You have a lot more important things to be worried with at the moment. This man was most likely a stranger who didn't know your mother well. He didn't know how much will she might have to live. What he said can just go in one ear and out the other. Letting it occupy any space in your mind gives it the power to upset you. I hope that your mother is back on her feet soon.
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Insensitive, perhaps, but he did quote that it was statistically speaking, so I would probably let it go, help her to fight the odds, and look forward to a new and improved future. I doubt that Anesthesiologists as a whole, have the best bedside manner.

I am sorry you had to hear such shocking news, right before a worrisome surgery for your Mom! Are you quite certain he meant "predicted lifespan", or perhaps the "projected healing time" for someone her age?

What I mean is, He may have misunderstood your question, or you might have misunderstood his answer. I hope it was the former!

I do hope your Mom makes a speedy recovery!
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Anaesthetists are normally dealing with people who are fast asleep; and they have often been guided towards this career specialty for good reasons. Plus the constant exposure to gases notoriously makes them go a bit strange. Plus their job is best described as "boredom interspersed with occasional panic." They're a rum bunch. I'd let it go.

But you could let off steam by writing to the hospital and asking for an apology. Do it if you'll feel better; I would expect them to respond graciously; but they'd probably have to give that person an entire personality transplant to be sure he never says anything tactless again.

And on the statistics thing: not just inappropriate but, more happily, meaningless. You cannot extrapolate from an "average" - what sort of average, anyway? - to an individual; as I'm sure the same anaesthetist, if you were to ask him how long a particular patient would live, would be delighted to explain to you, at length, in detail, zzzzzz....
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I'm going to take the other side of the debate. Many times I've had to grit my teeth over the insensitivity of people we've encountered in the healthcare field, and in retrospect I wish I had the courage to speak up. Nothing will ever change if if we don't.
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I agree that if he said it in front of your mother, then he should be reported. I have seen how some people seem to think that elderly, and children also I suppose, don't understand when they are being talked about. They do, and it hurts.
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So he was referencing your mom's life expectancy with that comment? Is that how you took it? I'd probably let it go unless you feel it would make you feel better to report it. I might write a letter to him to let him know how you felt about his comment. 

If he said it in her presence, I would report him, as that is totally uncalled for. If he didn't say it in front of her, my guess is that it's more likely a comment coming from a place of unawareness and his focus on the "facts" than an attempt to be cruel or mean. I'd focus on what you've got ahead of you and let it go. But that's just me.
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