Family Relations

Surgery Fiasco

One may think that removing a person’s thyroid and goiter is a routine surgery, but not when that loved one is used as a training ground for new doctors.

My mom had that procedure done at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Thursday, July 27, and what followed was a series of incompetencies, neglect and crime.

First, during the surgery, one of the attendants stuck himself with a needle used on Mom, which meant she then had to go through HIV and other testing, on top of the removal of a goiter that had grown down into her chest.

Second, whoever cut the goiter out nicked her windpipe “several times,” as we were told, and then reassured that it was “not serious.”

Third, the care she received from the nursing staff was an abomination. One nurse showed up at shift change to let us know she was leaving, but we had only seen her twice during her entire shift. This is the same nurse I had to remind to put oxygen back on my mom after a bathroom visit, and she didn’t replace the necessary leg massagers that prevent blood clots. Her wound wasn’t cleaned, the nurses took calls on cell phones, and when I went to address Mom’s needs with a nurse, the same one mentioned above, she told me to wait, while she finished her personal conversation. I also asked for medication for her at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and she didn’t get it until 8 a.m. the next morning when someone from her doctor’s office stopped to check on her.

Fourth, with almost a half-dozen security guards protecting the front door for the possibility of smokers lighting up on the property, my purse was stolen from a waiting room when I went to check on Mom. During the day, the waiting room has an attendant, and you check in before entering. At night, when security is most necessary, no one mans the desk, and the security guards are no where to be found. The security investigator was disrespectful and unhelpful, and even now, refuses to return my phone calls. I gave descriptions of the people I remembered being in the room, gave identifications of the people caught trying to use my credit cards, and then was accused of being on a “witch hunt.” This investigator also told me that purses are stolen all the time, and that “it’s not a big deal.” If this happens “all the time,” I think Methodist Hospital/Clarian needs to re-evaluate their security procedures. For instance, have the security guards roaming the hallways, especially near waiting rooms, to discourage illegal behavior. It’s the same practice of prevention as neighborhood watch systems or police patrols. It’s a deterrent.

Now, for the worst part. When we came home, you could hear the whoosh of air coming from the drain-tube hole every time Mom coughed. On Saturday, she broke out in a rash. I called the doctor on call, and he suggested I quit giving her the prescribed pain medicine, but continue the antibiotic. I did this. The following day, Sunday, Mom started to swell in the face, chest and neck. I called the doctor on call, and he prescribed another antibiotic, much more expensive, and said not to worry about it unless she had difficulty breathing.

Even with a new antibiotic in her system, she kept swelling. By the evening, her eyes were swollen shut and she looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I decided to call her regular ENT for a second opinion, who told us to take her to the emergency room.

To shorten this long story, Mom was literally inflating. When the drain hole started to heal and close up, the air she released when she coughed (she’s a smoker and chronic cougher) was being trapped in her body. With wonderful instructions from the doctor, we left Columbus Regional Hospital (an excellent facility that could teach Methodist Hospital volumes) and, several days later, she is starting to deflate, albeit taking days longer to recover than necessary.

It’s a shame how “big city” hospitals, nurses, security people and other “service” people, who are supposed to take care of us and have our best interests at heart, treat those who have no choice but to use their services.

As long as I have control of it, I will not use this hospital and will encourage everyone I know to boycott it as well. Hey, Clarian, how about sending your staff to CRH and learn how to treat people!

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