We were back in the hospital last week.
I say “we” because when my husband goes in, I go in.
And once again, we experienced the “hospital” mentality that says they know best and we know nothing.
Once again, we were proven right but, once again, at the expense of my husband’s health and the cost of 3 days of our lives!
Here’s the deal.
My husband has been hospitalized 40 times since 2001. The first 15 of those hospitalizations were for surgeries due to bladder cancer. The rest of them have been the result of repeated infections resulting from his urostomy. When he gets sick, his fever runs straight up the thermometer and we run straight for Chester County Hospital.
My husband goes septic not in days but in hours and sometimes in minutes. But we both know the drill and so does our General Practitioner. Visit the doctor; give a urine sample. Get a prescription for an antibiotic. Take one with two Tylenol and take the temp every 30 minutes. When the temperature hits 101 degrees, head for the hospital.
At the hospital, the same one he has been admitted to over 20 times, the one with the au courant Electronic Medical Records (EMR), the one where they should know EXACTLY what to do, he is admitted, quickly, put on IV fluids and almost immediately, put on IV Zosyn – the antibiotic that is specifically designed to hit the bacteria that make him sick.
At least that’s the way it’s supposed to go.
Every once and awhile we get a doctor (or two or three) who maybe can’t read EMRs or have their hearing aids down and can’t hear me or my husband when we tell them what he needs. We got “those doctors” this time. And from Tuesday evening to Thursday evening, my husband was subjected to the wrong antibiotics — antibiotics that made him even more sick, antibiotics he had an allergic reaction to and antibiotics that made him vomit.
During this time, the two of us must have asked, pushed for and demanded Zosyn a dozen times. Every time we were patronized, told they had to wait for the cultures and ignored. On Wednesday, I bet the doctor $50 that the cultures would show enterococcus, klebsiella and/or ecoli. He smiled, shook his head and said we had to wait and see.
The cultures showed enterococcus and klebsiella. Then and ONLY then did they hang Zosyn (actually Unisyn but the same drug). Less than 24 hours later, my husband was back, feeling good, able to sit up, read, eat. Which leads me to some questions for the medical team at Chester County Hospital.
Why do you know this man better than he does or I do? Why can’t you LISTEN? Why didn’t you do “Ctrl F, find and read instance after instance of hospitalization to learn that — duh — he cultures the same 3 bacteria every single time? Why didn’t you believe he needed Zosyn? Could this be why health care costs are so high in this country?
Are our doctors really deaf and dumb?
Patients and their families can be troublesome. They can be demanding and upset and blah, blah, blah. I get it. But NOBODY knows the patient or the patient’s history like the patient and the patient’s family. Our input shouldn’t be ignored; it shouldn’t just “be considered.” Our input should be factored in to all the other information now readily available via EMR to the medical staff and someone, anyone or how about just one of them, should listen to us.
A letter will be going to the new President of Chester County Hospital. I love the changes he has brought, the energy and the warmth the staff now exhibit. But they still have a few things to address….like involving the patient and his family in decisions regarding treatment. This is a big problem that’s still open even though it is written as a policy in their patient handbook.
Maybe they should all read that before they start their shifts!
2 responses to “About Hospitals…and Doctors…and Illness”
So sorry to hear about your tough week. They are lucky you are taking the time to make them aware of these issues so they can do something about them. Hope your husband continues to heal quickly…
Thank you lady of light! I love your blog, your insights and your smile. And yes, people are in our lives for a reason. You may be thousands of miles away but you remind me, once again, to be grateful for my life, my love, my family. You quoted some of my very favorites, among them Thich Nhat Han….and your smiled just warmed some small, cold places inside me that have started to melt. Thank you. Namaste.