Dec 232010

Sample Time

By David Satterlee

The miserable old man lay in his hospital bed, staring at the clock on the wall. The nurse had just left after waking him from a vivid dream to take a sample of his blood. They were probably checking to see if he still had elevated amylase and lipase in his blood; indicating pancreatitis. “Hell,” he mused, his stomach was still distended; anyone could see that. “Hell,” he mused, “if the disease doesn’t kill me, all this bloodletting will.”

He hated that dream. It haunted him from before he retired; before his wife had died; before he started drinking. Always, he was railing against an illogical way of doing things at the gasoline refinery where he used to work. Sometimes he was complaining to other engineers; occasionally to supervisors, managers, or even the working stiffs whose only concern was to follow orders. Always, nobody seemed to think that his issues were important enough to worry about, to say nothing of making the major changes for which he lobbied. It was the way that things had been done for years. It had become codified into operational software and work habits. Nobody seemed to care—nobody had ever cared except that noble champion of what was right and true that he used to be; this impotent, disillusioned, and very desolate old man that he was now.

In his dream, the engineer, still an earnest, idealistic, and fastidiously through young man, is speaking: “I have reviewed our new plant-wide data acquisition and reporting system. It has several design flaws, related to time, that need to be corrected. The first issue has to do with sample times for analytical laboratory tests. The system is designed to record real-time measurements of continuous process temperature, flow, pressure, and level at intervals down to one second. One of the benefits used to justify our new data acquisition system is the ability to incorporate laboratory test results, such as boiling point or viscosity, into the same displays and reports as the continuously metered measurements. The problem is that our laboratory preprints labels to be placed on sample bottles and these labels only show the time that the sample is scheduled to be picked up at the unit by the lab’s collection truck. It would be nice if we recorded the time that the lab test was completed, but that is a minor issue. The major issue is that the only thing that ties the sample test results to our continuous process measurements is the actual time that the sample was removed from the process stream! And… there is no provision for recording the actual sample time. When we look at the ‘sample time’ on a report, we are actually seeing the scheduled sample pick-up time. It gets worse. Because all samples are due at the same time, unit operators begin drawing these samples early, sometimes hours ahead of pick-up, at arbitrary and variable times according to their individual convenience. I was shocked to discover another distressing issue. For whatever reasons, some units keep reserves of previously-extracted process samples, which they send to the lab instead of new samples. Do you remember the fire that shut down our catalytic hydrocracker last week? The reports showed that two hours after the upset, while all the vessels were still being dumped to flare, several product streams, although having zero flow, were still on spec.

“Secondly, we are corrupting our data every time we shift to or from Daylight Savings Time. The policy is to simply reset the system clock. The result is that every spring, the units appear to disappear for an hour, before reappearing out of nowhere, and every fall, every instruments’ measurements for one hour are intermixed with their history for the previous hour. Both events make hourly and daily averages inaccurate. We are responsible to OSHA and the EPA to maintain accurate records that can be used to reconstruct and analyze exception events. Especially in the fall, we are systematically making that impossible. Unfortunately, the only solution I can think of is to operate refinery processes on Standard Time even when everything switches to Daylight Savings.” And so it went, in one version or another, to one person or another; the argument sound, the effort futile.

The nurse had interrupted that dream. He would have been grateful for that interruption, but for the irony, as we shall see. It had happened in this way: “Time for a blood draw Mr. Dawson.” Glancing at the wall clock, he challenged her, “It’s only 5:06 in the morning. I thought Doctor Wallent had charted it for 7:00 o’clock.” Nurse Betty looked annoyed. “It’s okay, it won’t make any difference. I’ve got a lot to do before going off-shift so I’m getting some of my work done early. And besides, I’ve actually got four patients with blood draws scheduled for seven o’clock; I can’t do all of them at the same time, can I?” This seemed to settle the issue.

Being a well-trained professional phlebotomist, Nurse Betty did an efficient and commendable job of extracting her sample from Mr. Dawson’s right-side median cubital vein on her first try, and with a minimum of discomfort to the patient. Nurse Betty put a pre-printed label on the sample tube and started packing to leave. Mr. Dawson scowled with annoyance. “Aren’t you going to write down the actual time that you took my blood sample?”

Nurse Betty scowled with annoyance. “It’s preprinted. They don’t give me a place to enter that information. Like I said, it’s not a problem; don’t worry about it.” She didn’t realize that Mr. Dawson had been worrying about precisely this for several decades. Nurse Betty had the grace to turn down the lights when she left at 5:13.

Mr. Dawson, realized that the universe had just shown him, as clearly as two billboards in a row with bright flashing lights, that now was the time to finally do something definitive about his frustration. He poured himself a glass of tepid water. He fastidiously wiped up the ring of moisture left by a little remaining condensation on the outside of his plastic pitcher. Fishing in the drawer of his bedside table, he removed all the tablets of narcotic painkiller that he had been palming. He took them methodically; each swallowed with a sip of water. He finished at 5:18, coded at 5:56, and was pronounced dead at about 6 o’clock or somewhere thereabouts. Mr. Dawson’s corpse was logged into the basement morgue at 6:42. Nobody ever noticed or cared that a laboratory report showed that his blood, supposedly drawn 18 minutes later at 7:00 am, contained elevated enzyme levels.

Writing context:
The author’s actual recurring dream. It’s Monday, December 20, 2010. I woke up at 5:06 am with the same damn dream and couldn’t go back to sleep. Here is the crux of the matter: it was a real issue. And, I still can’t do anything about it but whine to another audience.

Copyright 2010 David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Dec 042009

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Joel Kreisberg, DC, MA, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Teleosis Institute, an integrally informed institution dedicated to reducing healthcare’s footprint while broadening its ecological vision. Joel is currently an adjunct professor at the School of Holistic Studies at John F. Kennedy University and California Institute of Integral Studies Masters in Integrative Health Studies Dr. Kreisberg completed his Doctor of Chiropratic at New York Chiropractic College and he received a Master of Arts degree in Integral Ecology from Prescott College. Author of several books on Homeopathy and he has been teaching and lecturing worldwide for over 20 years. He maintains a private practice in Berkeley, CA.

Source: Internation Association of Healthcare Practitioners

imageDr. Kreisberg,DC serves as the founder and executive director of the Teleosis Institute (, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating health professionals and environmentalists on the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Medicine.
Adjunct faculty-John F. Kennedy University- Master’s Program in Holistic Health Education.
Instructor-Acupuncture and Oriental Medical College, Berkeley, CA
Dr. Kreisberg completed and his Doctor of Chiropractic at New York Chiropractic.
He holds a Masters of Arts from Prescott College and a Bachelors of Arts from Wesleyan University
Dr. Kreisberg, DC, MA has been teaching for over twenty years.

See also

Articles & Books Written
"Ecological Healing and the Web of Life" Explore Vol.1 No.2
"Integrated Environmental Health Clinics: Health Care for People and the Environment" Explore Vol.1 No.5
"Acupuncture as Ecologically Sustainable Medicine" California Journal Of Oriental Medicine Vol.15 No.1



Trends in homeopathic education: A survey of homeopathic schools in North America, 1998 (Unknown Binding)(Out of Print)

Nov 292009

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Thomas G. Goddard, JD, PhD, is Senior Associate on the Organizational Change Team at Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., one of the world’s largest management consulting firms. He is a founding member of Integral Institute and a contributor to Integral Healthcare studies.

Source: Integral Health Care Solutions

Thomas G. Goddard, PhD, JD, CEO of Integral Healthcare SolutionsThomas G. Goddard, PhD, JD, CEO of Integral Healthcare Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in law, health and insurance policy research, and management consulting. His consulting practice focuses on providing management consulting and research services to public and private organizations regarding health network management and quality improvement, healthcare and insurance compliance, litigation support, healthcare policy analysis, managed care program evaluation, organizational development, and provider contracting. Before going into health care consulting, Dr. Goddard was Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of URAC. While at URAC and more recently as a consultant to URAC, he served on accreditation review teams of more than 175 HMOs, PPOs, and health Web sites.  In addition, Dr. Goddard served as the Project Manager in URAC’s successful effort to obtain deemed status as an accreditation organization (AO) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

See also LinkedIn profile

Nov 292009

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Lawrence E. George, MD, is a Family Medicine physician with High Country Health Care in Dillon, Colorado. He received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and is Board Certified in Family Medicine, having completed family practice residency through the University of Utah at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, UT.

Source: High Country Health Care

image Dr. Lawrence E. George joined the staff of High Country Health Care in 1999. He provides care at Silverthorne Family Practice.

Dr. George is a 1981 graduate of the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota. He completed his residency in family practice in 1984 at the University of Utah, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. He received board certification through the American Board of Family Practice in 1984.

As a family practitioner, Dr. George is trained to provide comprehensive health care for the individual and family. He provides a complete spectrum of family care including pediatrics, adolescent, adult and geriatric care. He has a special interest in Sports Medicine, Integral Medicine and spirituality in the practice of medicine.