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Hospitals Scare Me

March 29th, 2008 · 11 Comments · Gripes

I have spent the last two days at the hospital with my mother. I am so glad I came down to Richmond. I had to pull a Terms of Endearment moment during my mother’s care. I can understand that nurses are busy and that there is potential for confusion when you transfer a patient from recovery to a room. My mother came out of surgery at 11:30.  At 2:15 she was moved into a room and left in my care. She was complaining of pain, which I attributed to waking up from surgery. At 2:45 a nurse from the floor finally comes into the room and then tells me that my mother has had no pain medicine and that recovery had failed to administer pain medicine.  Knowing my mother has not had pain medication, she then starts asking my mother to roll over and pushing her.  I told her to back off and take her hands off my mother. My mother is crying and asks the nurse for pain medicine or at least ice chips because recovery had given her ice. The nurse told my mother that they were swamped and they didn’t have time to get ice chips.  She then tells me that it is not her fault my mother is in pain and that they can’t help my mother because recovery also failed to put my mother in their pharmacy or care system.   I told her this was unacceptable.  I told her that I could care less who in their system failed, because her attitude and unwillingness to help was continuing to hurt my mother and that she better find a way to provide care because the moment she left I was calling the hospital administration, the surgeon’s office, and my mom’s lawyer. I give the hospital credit because within 15 minutes of making three calls I had a new nurse, a hospital administrator and a medical assistant caring for my mother. It still took them until 4:00 to get pain medication for my mother. I can only imagine how awful it must be for people admitted with no family. A hospital is not about caring for people. It is about making money as a business. Everyone had an excuse for why my mother’s lack of care was not their fault. It frightens me to think how long my mother would have laid their with no nursing care or medication if noone was their to advocate for her care. Having great insurance is no guarantee of great care.


11 Comments so far ↓

  • fragileheart

    You know… it really is a sad thing. Having an ‘old’ or a more ‘traditional’ way of thinking, I think of a hospital and THE place to go to get taken care of. But it’s been a long time since that’s been true. I’m glad you were able to get her some help. But I’m sorry you had to be the type of person that knows to stand up for herself just to get it. I do hope she recovers quickly so you can just get her out of there. You’re both in my prayers Beekers

  • Monique

    I don’t like hospitals either… I won’t even get started on the horrific treatment my niece got during her two week stay. I just hope and pray I never have to stay in one for more than a few hours. But even that freaks me out.

  • Monique

    I’m so absent minded sometimes… I wanted to say that I hope your mother recovers soon, but for some reason I hit the submit button before I thought about it… and then as I was sitting here watching TV it dawned on me that I hadn’t said it. Sooooo, again, I hope your mother starts to feel better soon 🙂


  • Jillian

    This sounds all too familiar. When my mom was in the hospital, they did the same thing. Only they weren’t swamped, they just weren’t answering the paging system.

    I understand it sucks to have to do a double shift, but you still have a job to do… people’s lives are on the line.

    I hope Mom recovers well and thank God you were there for her thought it’s sad you had to resort to all of that.

  • glitchline

    Hospital scares me too. Thank God that you were there with your mom. I hate those kind of nurses, I experienced the same thing when my dad got hospitalized. Although, I didn’t came to a point to report the nurse but I scolded her and threaten that she will get fired. Sometimes, nurses forgot the reason why patients needs nurses.
    Hoping for your mom’s recovery.

  • Alan

    yikes. that sounds like malpractice to me. If it were my mother I would be suing them big time.

  • haleyhughes

    Very scary. I hope your mother is feeling better soon.

    I totally agree that everyone in a hospital needs someone there to be an advocate for them. Even when the care is good, the nurses are often too busy to see to the little details that can make a stay more comfortable.

  • Beekers

    Thank you all for your kind wishes of a swift recovery for my mom. I am happy to say she is driving me nutty, which has to mean she is on her way to recovery!

  • pilotg2

    While it does suck about the treatment your mother got and I certainly hope she recovers quickly, I couldn’t help but take a little offense. My wife is a nurse so I get to here that side of things fairly regularly. While it is never acceptable to leave someone in pain, a nurse is bound legally to not administer any medications not prescribed. Orders in a hospital do not automatically transfer with the patient. But the fact that she was not in the pharmacy’s system is not acceptable at all. As for the ice chips, you may have just caught her at a bad time. I know my wife would have made an attempt to get some. It would have been a different story had you asked for some yourself (one of her pet peeves is having a family member treat her like she is their personal assistant and can get them coffee, she has no problem doing for the patient, but a big problem for for doing for the patients family). Of course there are nurses that don’t care. I here about them as well. Sitting in the staff lounge only seeing patients to pass meds. I would also be interested in hearing whether the nurse was doing primary care (no tech or other staff helping) and how many other patients she did have. Her reaction and responses may have seemed cold, but you have to realize that she has multiple patients and multiple family members on top of that all demanding her attention and expecting their family member to be at the top of the list (unless you are a big donor to the hospital , a possible big donor, or a celebrity don’t count on it). This may seem like I am getting on to, and I apologize if that is the case. But you were in a stressful situation, your mother was in pain, and the nurse did not exactly help the situation and tempers easily flare and feelings get stomped on very easily in such situations.

    As far as taking so long to get the pain meds, I know from the stories I hear that both the doctors and the pharmacy move at their own pace and the nurse can’t do anything but wait. It sucks and the easiest target is usually the nurse or the tech since you actually see them.

    And some hospitals have what they call a patient advocate. Their job is to provide the patient and family with as much information as possible and to make sure they get all treatments.

  • Beekers

    Pilot: I can understand your advocation on the part of your wife’s profession.

  • Elle

    It is truly a sin and a shame that health care must bow to the legal system before ministration to the sick. I am constantly amazed and frightened by the lack of vocation on the part of so many of our medical providers, from doctors who wouldn’t know their patients if they fell on them in the street, to hospital personnel who either are too blase or overworked to provide anything past basic care, and make mistakes in care because of high stress and overwhelming procedural and policy constraints. Everybody needs a law and a medical degree these days, it seems. I’ve recently had several family members in need of hospital care, and the pushing and pulling we as a family had to do to get our ailing relative’s needs met was appalling.

    I hope your mother recuperates fully and feels better soon.

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