Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

July 2, 2003 | Volume 4, Issue 2

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Coumadin Clinic Shut Down

Rigorous dosing schedules, harassment prompt state investigation

BALTIMORE, MD--In a statement made earlier today, Maryland state health officials announced the closing of the Coumadin Clinic at The Phelps Center for Family Wellness. The action comes after numerous patients and families voiced concern over the intensity and complexity of their Coumadin dosing schedules.

The Phelps Center

Marvin Cosell, a retired 72-year-old masonry worker with a metallic aortic valve, was reportedly taking half of a 2 mg tablet seven times per day on Mondays and Fridays, and five 1 mg tablets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, after which he would have his prothrombin time checked and then administer weekend doses based on a sliding scale.

“It’s become my whole life. I can’t hardly keep it all straight. And just the other day my doctor called and said, ‘Your protime’s all #$&#'d up – have you been drinking, you old bastard?’”

Clinic director Herbert Baff, MD defends the Phelps Center’s practices.

“My colleagues and I have developed a very successful algorithm for maintaining appropriate anticoagulation,” says Baff. “Nobody said life was easy. If you want us to thin your blood here at The Phelps, you’d better bring your A-game. This isn’t for babies or simpletons.”

78-year-old Belinda Sporr, a longtime Phelps patient, recently developed atrial fibrillation and was placed on Coumadin. “I’m supposed to have my blood drawn each day and put the results of my protime into an equation that my doctor gave me. I had to have my son buy me a laptop to do the calculation. My doctor said it would be a miracle if an old broad like me could figure out how to use it.”

One patient, Zoë Neuhauser, is suing the clinic over her experience while on Coumadin.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” she says. “My doctor would call me with the results of my protime and be like, ‘For the love of God woman, take some vitamin K - are you bleeding? Don’t move around for Christ's sake! STAY IN ONE PLACE!’”

Soon, says Neuhauser, she was paralyzed with fear because of her protime, and had to stop working as an interior designer. She has since been successfully placed on one milligram per day of Coumadin and is doing well at The Highpoint Psychiatric Center.

State officials have also been given information about bizarre prednisone tapers and oral cephalexin doses of as little as 50 mg given thirty times a day for skin infections.

The Phelps Center, which is open every other hour from 6AM to 10PM, says it has not seen a decline in patient volumes since the investigation began.

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