Contra Costa Times
With a number of people getting flu shots all sorts of side effects and reactions have been reported, but most people don’t end up losing their driver’s license because of a flu shot.
Red Bluff resident Robert Roof claims the shot is what triggered a series of events that has left him thinking how can one little thing lead to such a hardship for a person.
What started as a routine flu shot for the 68-year-old turned into an ordeal of losing his driving privileges and hundreds of dollars lost for medical exams.
In September, Roof went to Walgreens to get a flu shot. After getting his shot he fainted. The Walgreens staff assured him it was a normal reaction and sent him on his way.
It was no big thing, he said. I felt fine and I left.
The people at Walgreens told me it happens all the time.
The next day, Roof went to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital and asked for an EKG test. He had no problematic symptoms but thought that he should get his heart checked because of his family’s history of heart trouble.
While at the hospital he mentioned to one of the staff that he had fainted the day before.
In November, Roof received a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles stating that his license would be suspended.
Someone from the emergency room had reported Roof’s fainting to the DMV.
According to California health and safety laws, physicians and surgeons are required to report to the DMV any person who experiences a lapse of consciousness.
Roof didn’t know there was a law that physicians are required to report these types of incidents, otherwise he would not have said anything when he was at the hospital, he said.
There are many reasons why a person’s license gets suspended, said DMV spokesman Armando Botello. In cases involving medical conditions, the person must go through an evaluation and, depending on the outcome and doctors’ recommendation, the DMV will take action.
Botello could not comment specifically on Roof’s case and said the DMV does not keep track of the number of licenses that are suspended or revoked due to lapses of consciousness or other medical conditions.
To get his license back, Roof went through several rounds of doctor visits with different doctors, including a specialist in Chico. He had to show proof to the DMV that he was not epileptic and the fainting was just a one time occurrence. All the physicians he saw gave him approval saying he was capable of driving.
During the period when Roof’s license was suspended he had to use a taxi or bicycle because he didn’t have anybody to drive him around. It was especially difficult because he was dealing with some family issues at the time and he wanted to be with family members, he said.
I guess the reason why my situation is unique to others is because I was holed up in my house and I didn’t have anybody to drive me around, so that’s why I was making a big deal out of it, he said.
After working with the DMV and doctors to get the proper paperwork to prove that he was not epileptic, Roof had one last hurdle to cross.
He was required to take a behind-the-wheel driver’s test.
Roof took the test Dec. 17 and passed.
This whole thing has taught me that if you faint, you just keep your mouth shut about it, he said.
And don’t tell anybody, especially in the emergency room, that you fainted.
While Roof may have that new outlook, physicians still urge that patients be honest.
Disclosing personal health information to healthcare providers in any circumstance is paramount to providing effective treatment, said Kristin Behrens, marketing manager at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital.
Providing accurate, truthful information not only assists in streamlining the process of treatment, it also contributes to a more accurate and complete assessment of the health related situation and supports patient safety protocols.