Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Stay at the Hospital

My Surgery

My surgery was successful and as I was resting in the hospital recuperating.  Although everyone was friendly and charming, I was amazed at what I saw unfold in front of me.

My experience started when I walked into the operating room, able to see the Time Out poster on the wall. It wasn’t the interactive Check List Board  I would have preferred, but it made me aware that this group had some idea of the importance of cooperation. The anesthesiologist, who had many years of experience, gave me a calm and reassurance I needed knowing what I know about surgery and surgical complications. I also am well aware of the miracles of surgery and how often a patient’s quality of life is improved following surgery – otherwise I would not put myself in this position.

 I asked, in the operating room to be part of the Time Out procedure which address The Joint Commission Universal Protocol of wrong site procedures I was asleep before that ever happened.

I won’t share all the details here, there are just too many, but I will tell you that my name and birthdate were rarely verified. I can count one time, when I first arrived and the second when the nurse was telling me something that was contradictory to what the doctor had said. “You are Corina, right” she asked. I said “yes” and then she asked me my birthdate.

 My medication, only one, came only on the first day in it's original wrapper even though I asked for them all to be delivered that way. I was told that Percocet  does not come individually wrapped and I cannot see the wrapper that this pain reliever, narcotic was being delivered in. My advocate was with me, but I asked him not to say anything. By this time, I was preparing to go home.

15 minutes later, when the Colace was delivered in a small cup, without the wrapper, by the same nurse, I asked if these also were not available to be delivered in their original wrapper. The nurse asked if this “annoyed” me. I explained I wasn’t annoyed but for both of our safety – so she doesn’t make a mistake and so I get the proper medication, it makes sense that I, or my advocate with me for the days I am here, verifies this information. She left the room with no response.

I was given a shot for blood clots that were also not marked for my verification. My doctor never told me I would be receiving shots. Given late at night, after my pain killers and after my advocates went home because the room was too small and crowded, I gave in.
The privacy curtain for my roommate, broken for at least 2 of the days I was there was not fixed when I asked the nurses or aides to fix it but was finally fixed when I asked housekeeping to fix it by hammering a small nail that slipped out and kept the curtain from sliding. Her lack of privacy made it difficult for my advocates to feel comfortable in the room.

 Rarely would anyone introduce themselves when entering. A new resident or doctor would explain why they were there, but people from housekeeping, or pain management didn’t. When a woman came in, touched the IV and wrote down numbers, my two visitors stopped her and demanded to know who she is and why she didn’t introduce herself. Obviously embarrassed, she explained herself and apologized. It should never have to go that far.

 As someone who has been an advocate at the bedside for approximately 40 patients in the last 4 years, I have never witnessed this sort of careless behavior. When I asked a nurse why, after I know that The Joint Commission was there just the week before (I heard staff talking) would they not check my name or arm band, introduce themselves to me or deliver my medications so I know what I am getting, one nurses response was, we know who you are, it’s not that busy here.

 Fortunately, hand washing wasn’t the biggest issue. I watched as everyone coming and going used the wall hand sanitizer. When my advocate didn’t see the surgeon use it, he asked her to. She said she did already but would do it again.

 Unfortunately, immediately following surgery it didn’t go as well which is probably why all the other incidents stay close at hand. The morning after surgery, two residents arrived and said they wanted to check the site of surgery. I asked them to wash their hands first. “I did” said the one who now had her fingers on my stomach. “And I showered this morning too if that helps”

Yes, I am grateful to my outcome but nope, not a happy hello to my stay.  We still have a long way to go.

Feel free to leave a comment.  I have 4 more weeks to read them.


Iris said...

I guess that I shouldn't be surprised by your concerns as written regarding your hospitalization. Although my nursing hospital experiences were
back in the the 1980's, I do recall the following. I always asked the patient to confirm their identification and if the patient wasn't responsive checked the arm band. Washing my hands between patients was a must along with answering questions to the best of my ability. This might include stating that I will obtain that information and get back to you with the answer. Introducing individuals accompanying me was also a necessity as was the reason for being there. Some times getting back to the patient took awhile, but it happened before the end of the shift. Iris

Anonymous said...

Hi Ilene,
Are you feeling back to normaal? i hope so! Wondering if you will share your "undercover" experience with the commision?

India Pharmacy said...

Well what can i tell... if you ask me i prefer to ask for private clinics because i get a better service but i have to pay a lot of money