My mother died on October first of 2006. I will carry the guilt of the fact that I let her stay at DRMC too long for the rest of my life. My mother was 80 years old, but not like most 80 year olds she was still very full of life. She was the mother of 8 children and a grandmother of 24 and a great grand mother of 20 and a great-great grandmother of 3, she loved us all and she loved life.
It all started with a fractured pelvis, the nurses on 2 east let her fall out of the bed after we had told them she was not herself, because she had contracted a urinary tract infection from a catheter that had not been cleaned and managed properly. She was so out of it she thought she could walk. We asked them to please keep the rails up on the bed, their comment was it was against the law we found out later that if the family requests it they could, well duh we thought we had requested it when we asked them to keep the rails up, anyway when she fell out of the bed, and they finally put her back in the bed she coded and aspirated.
She wound up in ICU with a 10% chance of survival. Guess what, she survived! Dr Amita Patel wanted us to pull her off all machines, she even showed my niece and myself what could happen if she did survive. There was a man in ICU eyes all swollen and rolled back in his head, on a vent and a dialysis machine, a worse case example. Thank God we said no. She had pneumonia, sepsis (blood poison) and something called clostridium defecil (CD) which can be deadly by itself. It's from taking so many antibiotics, but she survived.
Mama was in and out of the hospital many times between April 5 and September 28, she had not eaten solid food since July 4 2006. She was at Washington care for rehab to learn how to walk again. By the way they took the best care they could of her, but I do want to add family should always check up on family members in homes regardless of where they are. I could tell you when something was wrong just by the way my mother would talk or look at me, and I'm no Dr.
Back to the food, they said that sometimes when you are on so many antibiotics it will kill your appetite, Bless her heart she fought so hard. On Sept. 22 we took her back to the hospital because she started throwing up the little bit of soup she was eating, they had already removed her gall bladder about a month before this but she still couldn't eat, during the time of the GB surgery we asked over and over if they would move her to Jackson. We were told if WE could find a dr. that would take her then sure they would move her.
My brother through connections he had with Baptist hospital found 3 Dr. that said they would take her. By the time they finished talking to Patel they had all 3 refused. We told them everything we knew that was wrong with her. This time after 6 days of hospitalization and no answers I get a call saying they are sending her back to Washington Care. I asked Patel on the phone to Please send her to Jackson, her response was I am not sending her to Jackson by ambulance for throwing up and have them laugh at me. She said the only way we could take her to Jackson was by car, so they released her to me.
By the time I got to St. Dominics, (keep in mind my mother was alert on the trip there) The ST. D. staff told us in 5 hours more than they had in 6 days at DRMC. My mothers diagnosis was, are you ready for this, Staph all over her body, so bad it was oozing out of her skin, Sepsis, Yeast in her Gut, pneumonia, she was suffering from SEVERE malnutrition, dehydration., her kidneys were shutting down, her liver was shutting down and her intestines were already shut down.
Please if you love your family members, take my advice don't leave them here. I will have to live with the decisions I made for the rest of my life. I miss her terribly, and suing the hospital and Dr. won't bring her back, it will just keep the wounds open. The best thing I can do is tell my story, and try to keep someone else from making the same horrible mistake I did.
I would love to believe that this is an isolated incident and that this tragedy could never happen again. The truth; however, is that it is not an uncommon outcome in today's hospitals... and not just at DRMC.
So who is to blame for this untimely death? There are so many possibilities. Obviously, many medical professionals (nurses and physicians) came in contact with this patient and all misdiagnosed, or ignored, her obvious symptoms.
Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and MRSA infections are among the greatest dangers in a hospital today and are directly related to poor cleanliness and improper infection control techniques used by the staff (often, simple hand washing). A first year nursing student should have been able to identify most of this patient's symptoms.
So, should DRMC be held accountable? Yes, because it is the hospital administration's responsibility to:
- Ensure the cleanliness of the hospital to prevent deadly infections
- Ensure the competence of its staff through medical credentialing and/or competency assessment. Simply holding a license does not indicate competence.
- Respect the wishes of both the patient and of family members with regard to issues of safety, dignity as well as patient care.
- Ensure that patients are not denied treatment, or medical consultation due to their inability to pay.
At the end of the day, no "one" is to blame for this patients untimely death. She simply got caught in that "perfect deadly storm" of ignorance, incompetence and sloth and consequently paid, the greatest price.Forthright