A post-op experience in a black-staffed hospital

This entry is a continuation of the entry, “An additional major reason to oppose government takeover of health care: race”:

Mel R. writes:

Please forgive the length of this. It is a copy of an attachment I sent with my patient survey for a hip replacement surgery I had in April of 2007. Save for item #15 every one of the people I spoke poorly of were minorities, mainly black, but one was Hispanic.

Attachment to Inpatient Survey:

Below is a summary of my experiences with the nursing and tech staff at a leading orthopedic hospital in a Middle American city.

1) On the morning of the surgery I was left in the changing room. I had to walk out on my own to inform the staff I was changed. They apologized.

2) I had surgery in the early a.m. on Thursday. A Birmingham Hip Resurfacing on my left hip. I do not remember much until after the 3:00 p.m. shift change on the day of the surgery.

3) I was very sick from the anesthesia and the pain medicine post op. I know I threw up many times and was having trouble breathing. My wife said my first post op nurse, the pulmonary guys and the heart person were all excellent and their care for me was first rate. My wife was with me that first day until about 7:30 p.m. She also said the 3:00 p.m. nurse was attentive.

4) I started coming to in the evening. Every time I even sipped water I threw up. So I started drinking 7 UP at the advice of the staff. I managed to keep that down.

5) My troubles began with the 11:00—7:00 nurse on my first night post op. My nurse for this shift was not a pleasant personality at all. She was very rude to me at 2:00 a.m. when she woke me to draw blood. Furthermore, during the night I urinated for the first and only time since before surgery. At 5:00 a.m. I started feeling pressure in my bladder and I could not urinate. I knew the pain was from the fact I had not voided enough. I pressed my button beginning at 5:00 a.m. IT WAS 6:30 A.M. before my nurse cauterized me to empty my bladder. By this time I was nearly screaming in agony from the pain. The nurse kept telling me I should have said something earlier and I should not have been drinking the 7 UP because of the sugar. Unbelievable.

6) Furthermore, my 7:00 a.m. nurse informed me that I had not had any pain medication on the previous shift that I had refused it both times the nurse offered it to me. I have absolutely no recollection of turning down pain medication less than 24 hours removed from a Hip Resurfacing.

7) On Friday my tech, Brittany, that had the shift from 7—3 was excellent.

8) My 3 to 11 tech was absolutely horrible and I asked for a replacement. Here are a few of the reasons. At one point I asked her to help me get up and walk with my walker. Very angrily she asked why my nurse Carrie wanted me to walk. She “helped” me but was very unhappy and quite unpleasant about the whole thing. I had no confidence in her at all. When she was “helping” me to get back into bed I asked her to help me arrange a few things and get more water for me. She got very huffy and impatient and told me she needed to go help someone to use the restroom that really needed help and that I could wait.

9) The replacement tech was fine. He was very pleasant and helpful.

10) My nurse, Carrie, from 3 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday was very professional.

11) The first thing my 7:00 a.m. nurse commented on was the fact I had asked for a replacement tech the night before.

12) My Tech from 7—3 on Saturday, was once again, an unpleasant and lazy person. Here are a few of her wonderful treatments. I had not had a B.M. since before surgery. At one point I asked her to help me get to the toilet. Which she did. I had to tell her that I would need the raised toilet seat when she started to help me sit on the regular toilet seat. I reminded her of my hip surgery and she said oh, ok. I was not able to have a B.M. then. Later in her shift I asked her to help me go to the restroom again. She was so unpleasant to deal with that I got myself off of the toilet and back into the bed by myself. She never even came back to check on me. I truly think she forgot that I had gone to the restroom. At one point she came into my room and asked me if I needed water. Since this was only about the 3rd time I had seen her in her shift I said yes, knowing I still had about a half of cup left. She picked up the cup shook it and said you don’t need water you can wait and then left the room.

13) On Saturday morning my surgeon had told me I could check out that day.

14) My last tech that came on at 3:00 p.m. was not very experienced and she received very little help from the nurse. The tech had no idea what I needed for my checkout or how to do it. My wife did most of the work. When the tech was pushing me in the wheelchair to leave she opened the elevator door and then proceeded to lead with my surgically repaired leg, of course the elevator started to close on my leg and my wife ran to catch the door before it closed on my leg. The tech had frozen. When we got into the elevator she kind of laughed and said that scared you didn’t it. There was no valet staff on duty. The tech said she had asked them to help but they replied they had already clocked out. The tech had no idea how to get me in the car so my wife and I did most of the work.

15) Finally, the staff person responsible for informing me of my precautions, etc. came into see me on Saturday morning just after I had had pain medication. I was not able to focus and asked her if she could come back upon my wife’s arrival after lunch. She said yes and left. My wife understood that she had a set appointment with this woman. When the appointed time passed, my wife went in search for this woman. My wife spoke to this woman’s supervisor. This woman came into my room, when visitors were present, and commenced to speak very rudely to both myself and my wife, as she was very angry that my wife had spoken to her supervisor. She was extremely unprofessional and unhelpful.

In summary, I would never leave a member of my family alone overnight with OHO’s nursing staff. I do not know which word accurately describes the worst of OHO’s nursing staff: incompetence, laziness or uncaring. I would never recommend OHO for a surgery that was not outpatient. With that said the front line surgical people and the folks watching over me immediately following my surgery were good as were the PT ladies.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 13, 2009 11:33 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):