What Can We Learn from Susan’s Horrendous Hospital Stay?

No commentary needed here. See what my friend Susan shared with me about her recent experience:

I had a routine colonoscopy, then 5 days later, I began to hemorrhage and passed out on the street corner. Some passerbys helped me and called an ambulance, but I ended up in the St XXX’s ER, one of the 9 circles of hell. I had a second hemorrhage there and was hospitalized for 3 days…

The St XXX’s ER was so horrible – you should have a permanent station there! I was tucked away in a corner room alone. I was on a monitor and I began to feel bad – my blood pressure dropped dramatically (30 points) and I called out for a nurse. Someone was passing by and he said he’d be right back. He never returned and I was by myself for another 20 min – at which point, I realized that being good wasn’t going to cut it and I needed to be assertive.

I started shouting and some staff showed up. One woman was trying to draw blood from my hand, but I was shaking so bad (probably from the shock) that she couldn’t fine a vein, so she just kept poking me while I sobbed. She never looked at me, but instead carried on a conversation with someone outside the room about celebrity gossip.

The ER was also filthy – I saw so many violations of sanitary standards.

On a better note, the GI Attending was a great doctor and once I got to the ICU, the care improved dramatically.

It had taken me years to get up the nerve to have a routine colonoscopy – it’s rather ironic that I did this for my “good health” and ended up in the hospital.

I have nothing to add to this except to suggest you take a page from Susan’s book. BE ASSERTIVE if things are not going the way you think they should. Be the squeaky wheel!

Thanks for sharing, Susan.  You have provided someone else with what they need to advocate for themselves in a similar situation.

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1 comment

    • Bonnie on November 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    My mother went to the ER on her 84th birthday. Kept on a gurney for almost 12 HOURS! A PCT (patient care technician) placed her on a bed pan & with the SAME pair of gloves on went to the next room & made up the the bed. I had to take her off of the bed pan because no one came back. She was diagnosed with a UTI (by a hospitalist) & put on Levaquin. Her subsequent hospitalization was horrible! The Levaquin caused her blood sugar to drop so low, she was confused & disoriented (the nurses ASSUMED she had dementia). Luckily I, a layperson with minor medical background, suggested to the hospitalist it might be the Levaqin. He said & I quote “might be worth a try”. Guess what I was right. We live right outside of Philadelphia, PA & the hospital she was in is affiliated with the hospital where her doctors are on staff but for some reason communication is not allowed. Sounds stupid doesn’t it? I could go on & on with the errors that took place i9n this hospital stay. Luckily, Mom is almost back to her normal, thriving 84 year old self & I am now on a first name basis with the President of the hospital! Take your complaints to the top.

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