Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Me and the Department of Public Health

I just got off the phone with the Department of Public Health. The conversation went like this:

Woman with a Heavy Asian Accent: Hi, this is mumble mumble from mumble mumble. I need to ask you some questions about C. Peevie. He was seen in the ER recently and was diagnosed with varicella?

Me: Yes, he had chicken pox. Wait a minute, who is this?

WHAA: This is mumble mumble from the Department of Public Health. We have to make a report when we get notified that someone has had chicken pox. Can I ask you some questions?

Me: Um, OK.

WHAA: Mumble mumble varicella mumble mumble General Hospital mumble.

Me: Yes, that's correct. He was seen in the ER at Lutheran General Hospital.

WHAA: Does he still have fever? Does he still have spots? Did he go back to school?

Me: No, he hasn't had any fever for about a week. Yes, he has spots, but they are scabbed over. And yes, he went back to school yesterday.

WHAA: Does anyone else at the school have chicken pox?

Me: How would I know?

WHAA: What school does he go to?

Me: Jones.

WHAA: Do you have the phone number?

Me: No, but I'm sure you could look it up.

WHAA: So you don't know if anyone else at the school has chicken pox?

Me: No.

WHAA: Do you know where he was exposed to chicken pox? Do any of his friends have it?

Me: No, I don't know where he got it from, and as far as I know, his friends do not have it.

WHAA: Did your son hang out with his friends after he got chicken pox? Where did he go? What did he do?

Me: Yes, we took him to several restaurants and had him cough on the salad bar; and then we went to a day care center and had him hug all the children and rub his arms all over the stuffed animals.

WHAA: What?

Me: No, he did not go out after he was diagnosed. But the day before he was diagnosed, he went to church.

WHAA: Does anyone at church show symptoms?

Me: I don't know.

The WHAA asked me a bunch more questions about our household and vaccination status, and then said

WHAA: OK, thank you. We'll call you back if we have more questions for our report.

Me: OK! Because clearly, this conversation will go a long way to stopping the spread of disease and keeping the Public safe and healthy.

Here's what the Department of Public Health should have asked:

When did he start showing symptoms?
When did he get diagnosed?
Where did he go and who did he have contact with in the three days prior to showing symptoms and before getting diagnosed? And then she should have tried to obtain contact information for those people and places.

That would give them information that they could actually use to protect public health.

But, hey, what do I know?


Paul said...

Ms Peevie, I have a GREAT IDEA!!! Let's put these people in charge of health care!!
No wonder there are now over 1300 waivers for those who do not want Obamacare [there are 30 in Pelosi's district alone]. If this law is so darned good why are all the Dems running from it... oh wait... they want you and I to have it.
First law I write as President, every darned law applies to every darned citizen... or throw out the darned law. I am tired of bureaucrats making such laws [or threatening them] for you and I.

E. Peevie said...

Paul, "Why are all the Dems running from it"--Huh? Many of those getting waivers are companies who opposed the health care law.

The waivers are TEMPORARY fixes to problems that inevitably come up when a huge federal mandate comes up against state laws.

Here's some fact-checked reading about the waivers from

You've not really appreciated the hilarity of my blog post, but thanks for reading The Green Room anyway!

Boy George said...

In re govt employees who seem to be just going through the motions: It's always refreshing to find service from people who appear actually to have been trained to do their job courteously and with their brains turned on. (For instance, they've actually been cheerful at the driver's license facility on Golf Road in Niles--where I seem to always end up on my birthday every four years, because I have a habit of not noticing that "this year, not next year" is when my DL expires...)