“Expanded List of Ten Things” Re: Emergency Visit to Hospital

Posted on November 9, 2014

When my husband suffered a severe loss of consciousness and what looked to me to be a sudden death type of event, I called 911.  I started rescue efforts and was able to hear air and feel air moving in and out of my husband’s lungs.  A Medic 3 and an EMT arrived and I quickly told them about his being treated at Duke Raleigh Hospital about 12 hours before this current event had happened.  They got him in the ambulance and within 20 minutes, I was following them as they drove Mark back to Duke Raleigh hospital. This was the same hospital where, earlier the day before,  he had been treated for a small irritated spot on his sigmoid colon wall.   Sitting here now, more than three years later, I now realize that I should have been more aggressive in my comments and my documenting facts about my husband’s treatment by the  ED doctor  and staff. Based on what happened to my husband at Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Emergency Department here is an expanded list of 10 rules that I will follow whenever a loved one goes to any hospital ED .  I have also included my reasons for making that rule.

1.  I WILL ALWAYS carry my Healthcare Power of Attorney for my husband with me.  Never again will I allow my loved one to go back into the back of an ED without my going with him.  Having that document makes it almost impossible for them to deny me access to my husband without extremely good cause.

2.  I WILL make sure to review with the doctor to confirm he or she has read the actual facts about drugs currently being taken by my husband and drugs he is allergic and reactive to.  My opinion is that if Dr. Cassell had read with understanding Mark’s chart, he might have caught the error that Dr. Plonk had made the day before in giving Mark CIPRO as an antibiotic.  Not only was Mark allergic to a member of that family of drugs but even worse, Mark was regularly taking Tizanidine.  According to the FDA,  ANY dosage level of Tizanidine is not compatible with CIPRO.

3.  I WILL Check the Facts that the nursing staff is entering in as to the events concerning my husband and make sure that all facts are correct.  Update:  Having just discovered in January 2017, a Nursing Flowsheet with information that simply, given the two drugs involved,  was not possible, I am heartsick to know that it actually happened.  Now that electronic records are standard, I will make sure to get print copies of everything regarding any visit to a hospital ED.

4.  I WILL MAKE SURE THAT THE DOCTOR TREATING MY HUBAND IS NOT BIASED against those who are on a pain medicine treatment plan.  My husband has been on a standard back pain treatment plan for over 25 years.  I failed to get the treating doctor to understand that my husband was NOT suffering from a narcotics overdose caused by his taking too much of his pain medicine.  Dr. Cassell refused to believe me when I kept telling him he was WRONG!   That will never happen again.  I will ASK for another doctor.  My opinion here – I believe that most doctors have a distaste for anyone who is on a pain management routine.  I have personally overheard paramedics and doctors making jokes about those patients.  If two doses of Naloxone, [some nicknames are “Narcan”, Nalone”, “Evzio” ]  do not bring a person to consciousness, odds are really high that a person has NOT taken an opiate or opioid overdose.  This was taught to me during my Emergency Medical Technician training course at Durham Tech.  I went on to complete the course, take and pass the NC State Exam and, for a time,  did volunteer with a local EMS squad and the American Red Cross.

5.  I now carry a small camera and I have a cell phone camera.  I will take pictures of anything that I see happening to my husband, such as when he had the blood pressure reading of 48/38.  This reading NEVER made it into his actual patient chart.

6.  Any time I feel that I need to have a memory back up, I will use a tape recorder to accurately document events as they are occurring so that I can be correct in my recall of those events.

7.  I will try to make sure that none of my documentation actions are witnessed by others who might not like the fact that I am helping to make sure everything is as it is supposed to be for my husband.  As we all know, one picture is worth a thousand words.

8.  The longer ED doctors and staff take to stabilize my husband’s condition, the more I will push to have more experienced medical personnel consulted about my husband’s condition not being improved by the efforts of the ED doctors and staff.

9.  When an ED doctor tells me that he doesn’t know if my husband is going to live, I will push harder to find out WHY he is telling me that.  Note:  Back then, I was afraid to make someone “mad”.  I was afraid enough that I did not yell back at the doctor when he said that I had to be wrong,  that no doctor would give a patient 12 mg of Tizanidine as a dose.

10.   TRUST IS TO BE EARNED.  This especially applies to anyone involved in administering medical care to me and my family.

I will be posting a ” My Short List of Rules for Hospital ED Visits”  as a separate posting.

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