Sunday, November 23, 2008

What country is this?

If you're looking for a blog entry that is politically correct...better walk away cuz this is not it tonight. I have reached my limit with the lack of proper and adequate health care in this country. I'm convinced that it's not just here in Las Vegas, but throughout the entire United States. Appalling, horrendous, inexcusable health care. Ha, that's a joke, "care".

This is how things have gone since my mother became sick with a cold the first week in November.

1. She calls her doctor to make an appointment because she's coughing and had a cold.
2. She's told her doctor left town without warning (how nice) and some ya-hoo who has never seen my mother calls in a prescription for cough medicine and broad spectrum antibiotics. Well now, that suprises me that they didn't want her to come in to pay her co-pay for 3 minutes of their time...not to mention that it really isn't good medicine to treat something when you don't know what the hell it is that your treating. But, she's old...what do they care.
3. We go to the hospital ER a few days later. She's sick at her stomach and complaining of some chest pain. Personally, I think the cough medicine with Codeine made her sick, that coupled with the antibiotic.
4. Getting a nurse to help out in the ER was fun...I ended up hanging a new IV bag because the other one was empty and I was sick of hearing the alarm go off. Dumb-ass nurse comes in, sees that a new bag had been hung, I say, "I hung it." Never once does he ask me if I have any medical knowledge or does he look to make sure I didn't screw around with the flow. He just said, "Cool. Thanks."
5. She was admitted to the hospital for observation and was repeatedly given the wrong food tray at every meal. She's a diabetic...nuff said.
6. She was transferred to a rehab hospital for a stay of 24-48 hours so they could monitor exactly what she ate, and that her medication was taken properly. She got there at 8pm. 12 hours later my mother had suffered a heart attack, and had been vomitting violently all night and no one came in the room. No doctor was intervention.
7. I found my mother gravely ill in this rehab hospital and had them call 911 to transport her to the hospital.
8. My mother spent the next 13 days in a cardiac intensive care unit. During this time, I had to fight on a daily basis to get the doctors to communicate with the family. They just didn't think it was necessary I suppose. Their idea of seeing my mother consisted of pretty much walking in the room, saying "Hi" and leaving. I truly believe the only reason a few of them even took the time to listen to her heart and lungs was because I was there. How much did they charge her insurance for the less than 2 minutes that they spent in with her?
9. She was there for almost 4 days before I was told by the doctor that she had indeed had a heart attack. Wow...thanks for the update.
10. Still fighting with getting information from the doctors...none of which I can understand. Their accents are so thick it's almost impossible to figure out what the hell they're saying. After 5 days I have to say, "Don't you think we need to give her some IV nutrition? I mean, she hasn't eaten in over a week." Damn, why didn't *I* go to medical school? IV nutrition was started immediately. Geez Louise.
11. She's transferred to an intermediate intensive care unit Friday night.
12. I'm there for almost 5 straight hours yesterday and her nurse didn't come in the room once. I had to go find a nursing assistant to help me locate a bedpan.
13. Yesterday her blood pressure was extremely low...and her heart rate was going from 44 up to 76. Think you might want to lower the dose of blood pressure medication that you're giving her???????? Or do you just want her to completely bottom out?
14. The lab came in during the night and tried to draw blood from her left arm. Umm...she has blood clots in that arm...the sign on her bed says so...unless of course you don't speak or read English which is a huge possibility. I took a Sharpie pen and wrote on her arm, "NO bp (blood pressure) 0r labs on this arm."
15. She has a central line, why would they need to stick her anyway?
16. She finishes lunch today and I'm thinking....hmmm, no one came in to check her blood sugar. So off I go to the nurses station which is directly outside her room. I go straight for the charge nurse, screw looking for her nurse who acts like she does't understand English every time I talked to her today anyway. "Hey...when was the last time anyone checked my mother's blood sugar?" Simple enough question. "Her nurse is with a patient down in x-ray right now." "Yeah, well, her chart is right there, how 'bout YOU taking a look in there for me, ok?" The folded arms and "don't F with me look on my face must have caused her extraordinary nursing skills to kick in because she did just that. Well....what do you know.....they haven't tested her blood sugar since she arrived on the floor.....almost 48 hours.

I had that charge nurse off her ass and in mom's room with the blood testing kit in about .06 seconds. Oh's 410. Normal is up to about 110 or so. Yeah, she's a tad bit high. It's about this time that I think the charge nurse was thinking she was about to poop her pants. I'm telling her to get some insulin and while she's at it, I want to talk to a case manager. This really nice case manager came pronto, and I laid it all out. She's got the charge nurse calling the doctor because there's no order from him for her blood sugar to be tested. He's on the phone, I'm handed the receiver and get this...this is his story. "I'm only on call on the week ends..." that's as far as I let him get. "Look...I don't give a shit if you're on one day, four days or four hours....this is YOUR patient, YOUR responsibility." Well, he agreed, took responsibility, like that changes anything, ordered the insulin and had to listen to me rant and rave for another 3 minutes. SO did everyone else at the nursing station. I also yelled at them...."What's wrong with you people, this is an intensive care unit....get it...INTENSIVE .....CARE. So you know a paitent is insulin dependent and you don't question that a doctor doesn't have orders written?" One of them said, "Well, how long has she been a diabetic?" Ohhh you did NOT just say that to me. "What the hell does that have to do with anything you moron!" "From now on, if she rings that call button, there had better be someone's ass in that room pronto...understood?"

This is like third world medical care. You don't expect this in America. Is it because she's old? That's what I said to the doctor. She may be old and used up to you, but she's my mother. There are people who love her and want her to come home. You're killing her.
This is no way to treat a human being..and what about the poor people who don't have a family member to be there to fight for them? It's inexcusable. What if I hadn't had any medial knowledge at all? My mother is too weak right now to even begin to look out for her own well being. That's what they're supposed to be doing. I can't be there 24 hours a day to make sure they're doing their jobs.

I'm calling the administrator in the morning and they better mark off a huge amount of time for me because they're going to get an earful...and then there will be a letter written as well.

No one should have to go through this. As I told the's stressful enough for family members to have a loved one in the hospital. Couple that with little to no communication with the doctors and the lack of nursing's despicable. I'm ashamed of my chosen profession.

Rant over....for now.


Kirsty Wiseman said...

holy shit
I cant believe I havent been here for a month and loo.
No no no.
sweetheart, NO!
God, what is going on... I thought our system was pretty bad.
I must call you.... can I call you over the weekend or is it all tense?
Miss you.
Missy Daisy, Charly and Rusty Pickle.
Miss your gang.

Amanda Cheek said...

No Freaking Way!!! I hate to say it, but I am NOT surprised at all. I just went rounds with Quest Diagnostics over a test that was supposed to be done on my sweet baby. They totally screwed it up, and not to mention the ladt dug the needle so hard into my baby's arm that it brused her. They just don't care. Let's not talk about the lack of compassion. I'm so sorry this is happening to your sweet mamma. I continue to pray for her and your family. You're in my thoughts. If there is anyhting you need let me know! ... please.