My aunt (Wanda’s sister) has been sick for about 3 years. Without getting into it, the entire family (and there are a lot of us!) have been frustrated with her care and and eager for her wounds to heal. Everyone is ready for her to get back to her old, perky self, but mostly these boys!
About a month ago enough was enough and we dragged her to our medical center. I felt like she was coming to the best hospital in the world and would surely be blown away by the kind of care that WE can provide! The hospital in her small town did not meet our expectations and her well-being completely depended on a few assertive family members.
My sweet aunt went in for a routine GI procedure Monday morning and I was excited to show off “my” hospital!
They arrived at 7:30 am for the 9:30 surgery. She didn’t go into the operating room until past 11:30. Completely understand! The previous surgery ran late, there’s nothing they can do about it.
Come 2:00 pm and we are still waiting for her to come out of recovery. When they wheeled her in she told us that she had been awake and alert for over an hour and the recovery team told her that they were just waiting for a room to open up, the room that my mom and I had been sitting in. hmmm..
Next, the doctor orders a CT scan and an upper GI. We were informed that radiology was waiting on the lab results of her kidney function to make sure she could tolerate the CT contrast. HOURS later a nurse came in to say that blood had actually never been drawn, the lab wasn’t working on anything, and the scan would be further delayed.
Despite already having an IV in both wrists the next obstacle was having a third IV placed in the crook of her arm. The nurse told us that putting the contrast into her wrists may cause the tissue to become necrotic. More pain and anxiety.
At 11:00 pm the two of them headed down to radiology where it was discovered that the IV in her arm wasn’t placed correctly and the wrist was just fine for the contrast. They then waited an hour for someone to track down “something” she was to drink for the scan, only to be told actually she didn’t need it. The whole ordeal, which we were all told would be done around 3 pm, finished at 1 am.
At 7:30 am my aunt began asking for something to eat. The doctor told her that he would put in an order for food. What she didn’t understand (and how would she?) was that she herself had to pick up the phone and order it, the doctor had just given the cafeteria PERMISSION to bring her food. Two hours later a nurse explains this process to her, but didn’t show her how to go about it, and she couldn’t figure it out herself. At that point it had been over 48 hours since her last meal.
I will say that nearly everyone we encountered was kind and very personable. A nurse who found out I was in med school even introduced me to a general surgery resident to taught me sutures! I felt like a rock star!
But miscommunications and unreasonable delays like we encountered shouldn’t happen. I was in the room when a hospital liaison came in to speak to us and I outlined her not-so-good experience. She was very receptive to our concerns and immediately promised to relay it to the unit supervisor.
I am so proud of the medical profession and I can’t wait to be a part of it! I hope I can take these experiences and use them to better myself and make my own patient interactions a little bit better.