updated by Sherry_White on May 23, 2009 at 10:06:50 am Comments: 6
Comments ... #
How tragic and stupid. My husband survived a trip to Toledo Hospital 4 years ago, but it wasn't easy. We were horrified by the shoddy nursing he received on the neurology floor and the apparent lack of competency by the attending physicians. The first 24 hours he was admitted (as an emergency patient) were so terrible that I called our daughter who is a surgical nurse in San Diego and asked her to come home to help me manage her Dad's care. She came home and between my two daughters and my self we each took an eight hour shift, never leaving him alone. Our nurse daughter ran interference with the medical staff and we sent all my husbands MRI's and other medical information to doctors in San Diego by overnight FED EX for second opinions. If this seems extreme to you try to imagine how seriously deficient and negligent the care and diagnosis situation was that caused us to do this. The surgery my husband had there did not have a positive outcome and we learned just last year by another neurologist that it had been "botched" (right procedure done incorrectly) by the Toledo Hospital surgeon. That place is a pig sty for medical care.
Sorry for the loss of your mother.
It is good for people to be aware of symptoms of sepsis and the seriousness of the situation. Just a few months ago, sepsis got a lot of publicity as a result of that young Brazilian swimsuit model's death. (A urinary tract infection turned into sepsis, in her case.) I noticed on your webpage that you were interested in hearing similar stories to your mother's, which is why I brought up the story of the Brazilian girl. Here's a few links to her story: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/01/24/brazil.amputee.model/
Since you mentioned details about the physician on your web link, I presume you filed an inquiry with the State Medical Board?
I am very sorry about the loss of your mom. Certainly this Mother's Day will be difficult for you, and it strikes me that you are probably sounding this alarm in tribute to her.
Someone very dear to me also had emergency surgery at the Toledo Hospital for a perforated colon and also developed "a blood infection" during his recovery. I never heard the word "sepsis," either. I am just now putting 2 and 2 together after reading your post. There were also the swollen extremities, and extreme pain to the touch, and other problems similar to those you describe your mother having on your website. This gentleman also passed away after being hospitalized for approximately 8 weeks after the surgery. Those eight weeks were horrible, what a roller coaster of one step forward and two steps back. This is sad for me to write about because it wasn't that long ago -- sorry if I am disjointed here.
However, we (in so much as I am able to speak for the "we" involved, which is only to a certain extent) do not really hold ill feelings toward Toledo Hospital. And any ill feelings we hold are toward the administration and management moreso than the nursing staff; we found that there are some incredible, wonderful, truly compassionate and kind nurses at Toledo Hospital yet there are others who seem very apathetic and could not care less about their patients. In our eight-week experience, our family member was transferred all over the hospital. It seemed they were moving him every few days. So we got to see the full spectrum of care -- from excellent to horrible -- during his stay.
So the constant transfers from unit to unit around the hospital, I think, are one thing that we were angry about. First of all, this probably made it much more likely to pick up an infection while hospitalized. Second of all, the continuity of care seemed sometimes schizophrenic. THIRD of all, it is my own personal opinion that there was always a big rush, every time he showed the slightest improvement, to move our family member away from the good care he was receiving in the more intensive units with the best-trained, best-managed and most enthusiastic nurses to one of the step-down units where the staff seemed less motivated to put it nicely. The problem was that within days, he'd have to be rushed back to SICU. It was a constant merry-go-round. Meanwhile, his condition was very serious. The transfers to step-downs shouldn't have happened, in my opinion.
I blame this on poor management, and administrative policy that keeps staff trimmed down and beds unavailable. It must be hard on some of those step-down floors to be overloaded with patients, some of them actually requiring more care than you have enough time or specialized training to give, and some of them crammed tightly into rooms not much bigger than a janitor's closet. No wonder those nurses were unmotivated.
But I don't believe anyone in the family is "blaming" Toledo Hospital for our loved one's death. The fact of the matter is that he was elderly and not in the greatest health even prior to the surgery. It's also a fact that recovery from major abdominal surgery is a very tough, very long process fraught with setbacks even in healthy individuals. And it's also a fact that he desperately needed that surgery. There was no other option. Would the result have been different at some other hospital? I sincerely do not know, but I kind of think it would not have been.
Thank you for your kind responses.
Mom2, yes, I filed a complaint with the State Medical Board and received a notice two weeks ago that they are conducting a formal investigation of Toledo Hospital and the physicians involved. The Health Department and Medicare are also conducting formal investigations.
Thank you for sharing your stories. I'm so very sorry for your losses. I had a feeling that there are many more instances out there and while I am saddened to hear of others losses and pain, I am comforted in knowing that I am not alone.
I have received several very kind private emails from people who have also experienced the loss of a loved one from a hospital acquired infection. I knew that once I started talking about what happened to my Mother, I would find others who have also experienced devistating losses of their loved ones. One lady in particular has been successful with her State Senate in getting a bill passed in Maine. I'm learning so much. This will be next project. Please read her story.
There must be many, many people out there who wonder how in the heck their loved one unexpectedly became so ill after a hospital stay and then died. Please read and do your research because believe me when I tell you that the doctors and hospitals are not going to tell you that they screwed up! My father not only lost his wife, but he has many thousands of dollars in medical bills to pay as a result of the infection. Her expected hospital stay was supposed to be 3-5 days but instead she was in the hospital for 43 days before she died!
To Mom 2,
You mentioned that you wondered if your loved one had been in a different hospital if the end result would have been different.
It is absolutely possible that it would have been different.
Hospitals in northern Europe have been doing active screening for MRSA for years and their rates are almost negligable. I dont know the offending microbe in your loved one, but if it was MRSA, it is preventable. MOst of these infections are oreventable with strict infection control policies and stringent screening, isolation, handwashing and precautions. Without these steps, infections in hospitals will run wild.
Every single infection should be investigated. Was the patient high risk and not screened? That would be a problem. Was he/she placed in a room with an infected patient? Another problem. Did the staff follow handwashing protocol and use sterile technique when called for, such as dressing changes, catheter insertions, surgical site exams? another problem.
Doctors and nurses are well educated professionals, but that does not mean they don't get lazy or careless.
Make them accountable. Ask them to wash their hands each and every time. Watch to see if their hair,stethescopes, ties, clothes, or other personal contaminated articles are touching you/the patient.
I am working with an infection control collaborative in the State of Maine to develop a high risk screening program for MRSA in all Maine hospitals. We are making some headway and it is very encouraging. I am not affiliated with any hospital or employer, so I am free to speak my mind in these meetings, and believe me I DO!!
There should be a federal mandate to screen for these illnesses in high risk patients. Then the appropriate steps can be taken to avoid invasive horrible and deadly infections.