Doctor Accountability

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: July 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: July 5, 2003 - PCOL Exclusive: A Volunteer's Courage : July 5, 2003 - US Peace Corps: How Returned Volunteers get medical treatment : Doctor Accountability

By Keith HowardSeymour on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 3:19 pm: Edit Post

I was in Peace Corps during the 2001 year, during which time I had some seizure activity. (I have epilepsy, and had not had a seizure since 1993). Peace Corps was very accomadating and cooperative. However, when I was on Medevac in D.C. it was the hospiatl and doctor that were less than cooperative. First, the hospital in question lost my blood tests (and even tried to get Peacec Corps to pay for a make up. When My EG was lost,theneurologist had me do a three day EEG. It was with my later meeting wiht him that he said he saw that there was no reason I could go back,but that my dosage of medication should be increased. I expressed my concerns to the doctor, and he assured me that he knew what he was doing. However,I asked the docotor to call my doctor, who has been my sepcialistband primary care physician for over 20 years. He assured myself,and the OMS nurse that he would. Due to the nature of of testing that would be needed following this increase in dosage, it ws felt that it was impractical for me to return to site. As disappointed as I was, I understood. Upon my return home, I made an appointment with my neurologist (I ahd to give himd all of the records that Peace Corps had instructed me to give him. It was at this time, that my Doctor let me know that even though I had phoned gs office from D.C. to let him know the specialist inquestion would ne conferring with him, this did not happen. My docitr jsut received notification that this is waht happened, and was led to believe that I was agreeable to the recommendation. When I had my reservations about it. Upon reveiwingmy meidcal history, the Peace Corps records,etc. My doctor here at home lamost hit he roof. The medication change that the nerologist in D.C. made was extreme and potentially dangerous, for my situation This is something that would have beenknown had the doctor listened tomyself, and OMS, and consulted with my personal doctor. It turns out that all that was needed was an additonal medication, which if prescribed in all probability would have allowed me to return to site.

Fortunately However, after more than to years I ahev been seizure free, and I am currently working with my neurligist and Peace Corps to get medical cleared so that I may be considered. I will be eligable in November, so I am currently undergoing a serious of examinations so that Peace Corps has all the needed information. My problem was not with how Peace Corps handled it. OMS did everything they could on my behalf. My problem is how the individual doctor handled it. While if the doctor had made the same medication change that my doctor made, I still had to come home, his efforts would have been appreciated.

The bottom line is that in many cases (such as mine) OMS is not blame, they are often not listened to buy the specialists that Peace corps uses. The Medevacs also need to be lsitened to, if they have concernss.

Peace Corps is important to me, and I am willing to do what it takes to find out if I am eligable and/or what i need to do to once again become eligable. However,not everyone is so tolerant. Someoone else in my position may not reapply,and end up being of service to another such organization. Peace Corps needs tomake it clear that the concerns of OMSand Medevacs are atekn seriousely by the civilian docotors they use.

Mr. Keith H, Seymour
Peace Corps-Philippines
March-september 2001

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