Friday, April 24, 2009

Why I Don't Own a Gun

We had a bit of drama last night when our son decided to take a header off a bench and land on a concrete slab head first. It was horrible, awful, sickening. (I swear this kid is going to kill me with worry. He is so active and rough that I want to just wrap him in bubble wrap and never let him do anything or go anywhere.) He may or may not have lost consciousness en route to the hospital. He may have just been sleeping, but since I couldn't easily rouse him we don't really know.

The good news is that after keeping vigil by his bedside all night because I was afraid he'd die (a bit of an exaggeration, but I was concerned nonetheless) he appears to be fine, minus the bruised head and swollen left side of his face down to his eye. The bad news is that our health care system is at the very least incompetent but more likely negligent.

I won't get into the entire story here but we waited hours with a toddler with a head injury. When we finally spoke with the House Supervisor he acknowledged that due to the severity of the injury and our son's age he should have been fast tracked, meaning he should have been in and out within 45 minutes. When I asked why this wasn't done he said, and I quote, "Well, I am not entirely sure because I wasn't here when you came in, but the nurse looked out through the window (a glass partition separating the triage area from the lobby) and saw your son walking around and determined he was behaving appropriately." Hello, Natasha Richardson! Apparently, based on that highly medical assessment she determined it was not that urgent that my son see a doctor. This must be some new method because I am fairly certain that 1)nurses can't make medical diagnosis' and 2)making a medical decision without examing the patient has to be a violation of some sort.

Aside from the total lack of care there was not a single person in the hospital that could/would answer a single question we had. Namely, we wanted to know how much longer we were going to have to wait because if it was going to be hours we were going to chance it and take him to a different hospital. Secondly we wanted to know if there would be any financial consequences if we took our son to a different hospital, one specifally with a pediatric department (I took him to this one because it was the closest and at that time I didn't know if he was conscious or not). Their response repeatedly was, "We can't really tell you to stay, we can't tell you to leave, we can't tell you if you'll be billed if you leave, we can't tell you if you leave if your insurance will be billed or if they end up being billed if they'll pay. Basically, we are under such strict federal guidelines we can't tell you anything about anything." I really find that hard to believe especially as I am standing there holding the Patient's Bill of Rights, every one of which they violated last night. My husband's response, which I thought was a good point, was "So, you stand by your nurse who made a medical assessment of my son without ever examining him simply by watching him through a window and then based on that assessment determinted urgent medical care wasn't needed, yet you can't tell me whether we should keep him here or take him elsewhere and if we leave if you will bill us?" His response was, "Yeah, we can't really tell you anything pertaining to any of those things."

The bottom line is that I am thankful our son seems to be okay and as of this morning I have filed complaints with the Arizona Department of Health Services, The Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations, the Hospital CEO, Hospital Human Resources, and the House Supervisor's superior. I figure at the very least we are owed an apology and personally I would like to see the dozen or so employees we dealt with last night lose their jobs. They should absolutely not be anywhere near sick or injured people. They messed with the wrong person; the last person you ever want to piss off is a mother with a sick or injured child who feels her child isn't getting even the minimum standard of care.


Nancy said...

What a horrible experience!!!! And I hope your son is OK! I would want to wrap him in bubble wrap too!

Joanne said...

I'm so glad your son is doing okay. It sounds like it was a traumatizing event, from all angles. You were certainly put on the spot with the vagueries of their answers, unable to make a decision with their nonsense. When my daughter had her car accident in January, she was taken to a small, local hospital where the medical service was prompt and compassionate. I hope you get some satisfactory answers from the authorities, because that treatment sounds out of line.

Moxymama said...

My son is doing much better. Thanks so much for your well wishes. I did speak with a hospital administrator yesterday who took the complaint very seriously. I have a meeting with her superior this coming week, so hopefully all will go well.