Medication Error

Tell Us Your Story about Medication Error

Were you ever given the wrong drug or wrong dosage? Did your doctor fail to inform you about side effects? Share your story.

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Stories about Medication Error

Brother bled to death from central line medical error

ginger_of_monee_illinois.jpeg On June 9, 2008, my brother, Kenneth Novak died due to the terrible mistake of two anesthesiologists at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL. While central lines were being placed into his internal jugular vein to prepare for a liver transplant, the catheter/needle was advanced too far, perforating both the jugular and right subclavian artery. My brother bled to death. Although these doctors admit to making a terrible mistake, they are not being held accountable in any way. The hospital offered to pay my Mother $18,000.00, but only in exchange for her not to pursue complaints on the hospital or any of the physician’s involved. My mother refused to sign off her son’s life for $18,000.00 and completed the formal complaints to the Florida Department of Health. After each investigation on the physician’s involved, The Department of Health sent my mother back a letter simply stating that "there is no probable cause," and thanking her for her attention to this matter. Thanking her for her attention to this matter? Oh my goodness, this was her son. These doctors are covered under Florida statutes that prevent us from gaining any real information. My family is devastated...the Department of Health would not answer one question we had regarding my brother's death because of this Florida law. What does a family do? No answers, no reasons for this tragedy. My mother is not suing; she wants accountability for her son's death and does not want this to happen to anyone else. One ironic point here is that I found that one of the anesthesiologists did not complete his 2 hours of continuing education on "How to Prevent Medical Errors." He simply paid a $589.00 fee and that was it. Why wouldn’t these physicians receive further training or a root cause investigation on how/why this happened or how to prevent it from happening again? What happens when they do the same thing to the next patient? We realize there are risks in surgery, but there must be a way of properly inserting these lines without killing the patient. And, if there is a tragic loss of life, why is there no discipline whatsoever? Update: I spoke with one of the doctors involved and he said he would be willing to sign a waiver of confidentiality so that my family can view the Medical Board's investigative report. He will have to request the waiver from the Department of Health, so we'll see if he follows through. When I spoke with him, this physician explained that this was an accident and that every person is built a little differently. He said they do this procedure the same for everyone. How can that be if everyone is built differently? Shouldn’t they do something to ensure they are placing these lines in the right spot? What happens to the next patient? Will he/she be lucky enough that they hit the right spot? When I spoke with the legal counsel at the Department of Health regarding the investigative report, she told me that it would be just a general report and no major information in the Board's decision will be revealed. So, we will probably never know how they came to the decision not to discipline. Looks like the families are still left out in the cold. Written by Ginger of Monee, Illinois.


Stopped breathing, woke up during surgery

Stopped breathing, woke up during surgery

In 2006, I was having a Medtronic morphine pump put into my body and the catheter placed into my spinal column. The surgery proceeded well until the surgeon asked the anesthesiologist to give me a shot of antibiotic. The anesthesiologist gave me another dose of the paralytic agent instead of the antibiotic. This caused me to stop breathing and to wake up during the surgery.

When I woke up I was in excruciating pain, I could not see, could not move but I could hear. I could hear the doctors calmly figuring out what had happened. I had a nurse, who I call my “Angel Nurse” talking in my ear and telling me that they knew I was awake and they were taking care of the problem. They got me put back under but I woke up again. I remember little else about that day except for pain, lots and lots of pain.

The procedure, although moments away from being done, was abandoned and I had to go back to get it redone. All of the different procedures being done/redone caused a CSF leak in my spinal cord and I had an excruciating headache that lasted for months. The one thing the doctor did right was the quick and thorough notification to my wife.


Father dies after 26 medical error ordeal

My father, aged 88, was admitted to the hospital for second and third degree burns on his buttocks and heels. He was placed on his stomach, without IV, with water in a glass on the nightstand out of his reach. He regurgitated acid from his stomach in the position he was laid, and could not drink when he needed to. His esophagus was burned by the stomach acid and he became severely dehydrated, and after 48 hours he began to have organ failure. He could no longer talk or swallow. He died after about nine days of severe suffering.

The hospital and the doctor stonewalled us, and said that my father had been in too weak condition when admitted. We tried to advocate for my father, taking turns to sit with him and trying to get whatever he needed, for which we were considered a nuisance. We had to go to court to get full disclosure. As I remember, the medical board that investigated found 26 errors by the hospital in my father's care during this time.


Alice Buehring of Gold Bar, Washington

Alice Buehring of Gold Bar, Washington

After taking a bad fall in January 1999, I required surgery to replace the humeral head in my right shoulder. Unfortunately, my recovery was painful and mostly unsuccessful. By May 1999, I discovered why. It turned out that I developed a Pseudomonas A infection in the surgical site, which was fast becoming septic. I spent the next week in the hospital on IV antibiotics to treat the infection. I was discharged to continue my IV treatments at home for another six weeks followed by oral antibiotics for another six weeks.

By the end of these treatments, I hoped that the worst was behind me. But my recovery continued to be painful and difficult. For the next six years, I struggled to find relief. I began to work with some natural and alternative health care practitioners who believed my arm was still infected. Most of the time my arm hurt enough to require pain medication and was periodically hot. I would slowly gain range of motion in my arm, only to lose it again. Each year I would return to my surgeon when the pain became unbearable. And each time he would insist that the infection was no longer present and send me home with more pain medication.

In May 2004, my pain became impossible to endure. I returned to my doctor who took another X-ray of my arm and finally determined that the infection was still present. By then, the infection had eaten through my humerus bone and destroyed my rotator cuff. I underwent a second surgery to remove the prosthesis, spent three days in the hospital recuperating and then continued my IV antibiotic treatments at home for another six weeks. Once the infection cleared up, I had a third surgery to insert a new prosthesis and then began physical therapy. Finally, I was infection free.

My hospital infection experience has had a lasting impact. I now have only a 20 percent range of motion in my dominant arm, which has limited my abilities in my daily life and at work and I still haven't gotten my energy back. I am grateful to be alive, that I still have an arm, and that the damage was not more extensive, but angry that an infection I caught in the hospital turned my life upside down for so long. I continue to live my life upside down.


Alicia Cole of Los Angeles, California

Alicia Cole of Los Angeles, California

In August of 2006, I contracted a post-surgical flesh-eating infection. What followed was a barrage of painful tests and powerful drugs. My two-day hospital stay turned into two months, six more surgeries, and three years of painful rehabilitation. The worst part was that I almost lost my leg.  Before I went in to have two fibroids removed, my only experience with the healthcare system was a yearly mammogram and pap-smear. It has taken three years for my wound to completely close.  The skin and scar tissue is so delicate that normal daily activities would cause it to tear, leaving me unable to work. I am still treating with doctors and suffering the lasting effects three years after being infected.  Federal inspectors subsequently found unsterile conditions in my hospital's operating area. They also found that my hospital failed to follow its own infection control procedures.  I was devastated and enraged by my experience.
 
Prior to becoming disabled by the infection, I was a working actress and a 15 year veteran of the Screen Actors Guild. I vowed that if my life was spared, I would dedicate myself to insuring that no other family would have to endure the trauma and burdens created by a preventable hospital Infection. I joined the fight against hospital infections and helped persuade the California legislature to pass a law requiring public reporting of hospital acquired infection rates. If I can help save even one life it will be worth it.


Doctor Failed to Diagnose Crushed Vertebra for Four Months

Doctor Failed to Diagnose Crushed Vertebra for Four Months

A Primary Care doctor failed to diagnose a crushed vertebra T-12 for four months of extreme patient agony. The patient was my mother, an 82 year old woman who repeatedly visited the hospital and PCP complaining about back, hip, and leg pain. Nothing was done until I insisted a referral be made outside this "zoo-like" hospital- to a real doctor! The spine clinic doctor ordered an MRI which immediately revealed that T-12 had been crushed during a fall on Feb. 14, 2007. MRI wasn't read until June 10th, 2007. The time that lapsed is ridiculous. This doctor is unfit and should have license pulled.

The hospital also falsified medical records after giving my mother "A-Fib" for 18 hours due to taking her off her prime medicines.  A-Fib is Atrial Fibrillation or rapid heart rate.  My mom slept for 4 days straight after that episode. I have evidence of their falsification due to having one of the vials of IV they put in her.  They said she was not treated for a problem.  What a big fat lie!

The hospital was recently exposed as having corrupt paramedics who falsified how a cardiac patient was picked up, who subsequently died because they made him walk down 3 flights of stairs.  I told you this place needs to be shut down! The hospital covered up these lies, but somehow they were exposed.  It was in a Sunday newspaper of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette in July.


Still in chronic pain years after MRSA infection

Still in chronic pain years after MRSA infection

I ended up with MRSA after a major back surgery. It spread to my incision and my back still has an open wound draining this infection that my surgeons nurse claims is S. Aureus. Surgery date was November 29, 2007, I was released from the hospital on December 4, 2007. By December 8, 2007 the incision was bright red and oozing. I returned to the surgeons office on December 10th to start the draining process. This went on for two day's and a follow up with the docotr on the 13th. doctor said it is lookin better, but still have a open wound and it is January 1, 2008. I believe I got this infection from the dirty hospital conditions and the lack of quality nurse care. Most of the RN's were 23 to 24 years old and had no training on patient care. I am very concerned that there is an epidemic at this hospital and others are subject to the same bacterial infections at this hospital.

Update (September 2009): It has been almost two years post op and I feel worse than I did before the surgery. I have since moved to Montana last February with my job and am still in chronic pain and having to take meds for the pain. The back pain is still lower and mid back from what could have been from the infection, who knows !!! No one would admit it.

My orthopedic surgeon stated that I could have had perm nerve damage from the infection and the surgery. From where the incision was reopened and while I was on the wound VAC that probably kept my muscles and other body parts from healing correctly. I have a real difficult time walking 100 yards or less, I must stop and bend over to relieve the pain which starts up as soon as walk again. Live with the back pain if you can, surgery is not always the answer.


New doctor erroneously decides on new diagnosis

New doctor erroneously decides on new diagnosis

While my psychiatrist at a local university affiliated mental health clinic was on maternity leave, I was assigned to another physician. My usual psychiatrist had prescribed three different antidepressants to be taken at the same time. This is sometimes done to treat "break-through" symptoms. Apparently, the combination caused side effects that looked somewhat like low-level hypomanic symptoms.

The substitute psychiatrist summarily changed my diagnosis from major depression of some 30 years standing to bipolar disorder, ignoring the information that I had never had bipolar disorder. He discontinued some of the antidepressants and simultaneously prescribed 1800 mg. of Depakote ER. I weighed less than 120 pounds at the time, making the top recommended dose less than 1200 mg., according to the manufacturer. He prescribed 150% of the recommended maximum dosage.

Soon I found it very difficult to think clearly, putting me in danger when driving or in any situation requiring higher judgment. I endured a change to another medication of the same drug class before the right diagnosis was re-established: major depression. I gained more than 30 pounds because of medication not required. The extra weight has affected my cholesterol, digestive system and blood sugar.

Subsequently, I requested a copy of my medical record from the clinic. This right of every patient is posted on the clinic walls. At that point, my social worker strongly criticized me and refused to treat me further. I received the copy only after I called the medical director. The record claimed I had exhibited "psychotic" and resistant behavior, apparently because I exercised my rights to see clinician notes. I needed to read the notes in order to refute them by adding a statement to my chart. I found many factual errors as well as judgments with which I disagreed. The clinic refuses to remove such erroneous documentation, requiring me to spend many hours reviewing all the errors and correcting them by adding my own notes. It was very upsetting to have to do this. It took some time, but I did it.

It took many months to recover from the trauma of misdiagnosis, criticism, wrong treatment and overmedication. I am still working on losing the extra weight. I have managed to lose one-third of it so far.

Many months went by before I received a new psychiatric evaluation and a new social worker. Neither my new psychiatrist nor my new social worker has found any psychosis. Both agree that I show no signs of bipolar disorder and never needed the erroneous medication. I am now on a new medication, but it took almost a year to get to that point. More than two years later, I am still dealing with the trauma of these events.

In a way, the worse abuse of all is that the erroneous diagnosis and information remain in my chart forever. Any subsequent clinician can review my chart and assume I was psychotic when I was not, thus coloring his/her judgment and subsequent diagnosis and treatment.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND that reducing the dosages and/or discontinuing one or two antidepressants would have been sufficient to resolve the mislabeled symptoms I was experiencing, which were also related to stress. This sort of conservative treatment would have prevented much if not all of the harm that I experienced.

Both the doctor and the social worker who misdiagnosed and mistreated me continue to work at this clinic. Few psychiatrists in this area accept my insurance, so I have no other practical choice. If I have an emergency, I refuse to deal with the doctor at all, instead asking for another clinician. I would call a hotline if necessary before trusting this doctor again.

If nothing else, I hope anyone reading this will remember to question doctors carefully about changes in medication and diagnosis that are surprising. Get second opinions if you have any question at all.


Spinal surgery leads to infection and long-term back pain

I had spinal decompression, laminectomy and 3 level lumbar fusion, performed by 2 neurosurgeons at the largest hospital in my state. I spent 7 days in the hospital, saw neurosurgeons once and was given day to day care by a 2nd yr (out of 7 yrs) resident. Four days after discharge to my home 75 miles away, I started to have a fever and puss discharge from the main incision. I was admitted to the local hospital which did appropriate cultures, finding that I had M.R.S.A, a potentially deadly infection. I was transported by ambulance back to the original hospital where I was operated on again. They found the staph infection was deep in the sites. Surgeons cleaned and debrided tissue and flooded it with antibiotic. They admitted that I had gotten the infection in the operating room during the initial surgery. After another week's hositalization, I was discharged and was cared for by my daughter, son-in-law and visiting nurses and therapists and friends for a month before I was well enough to care for myself. Two years later, I am still dealing with back pain and weakness, due to infection, failed fusion (probably due to infection) and roken hardware. No one at the hospital or state health department will provide statistics concerning this infection. Additionally, I will be on monocycline for life because if the infection were to return the metal could not be removed from my back.

Update: In 2006, I was diagnosed with 3 different autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, fibrosis of the lungs and autoimmune hepatitis A, all of which were caused by the long term use (nearly 5 years) of minocycline. The rheumatologist that I was seeing was the one who realized the cause. The infectious disease doctor, who had told me that I would have to take minocycline for the "rest of my life" told me to stop taking it immediately: that I had been on it longer than any of his patients.  Now, in September, 2009, after treatment with prednisone for 2 years, my autoimmune diseases have largely disappeared, my health pretty much has stabilized, but I still have back pain and am limited in my physical activity.


Barth of California

Barth of California

My father chose to go to the hospital in the middle of the night due to a persistent cough (which he had caught from my mother) and some shortness of breath. The doctors gave him a very high dose of steroids as an injection and then followed by steroid pills in order to help him breathe better. It was determined he did not have heart failure or pneumonia. He was very drug sensitive his whole life and had a bad reaction to the steroids. He became psychotic and combative within 1-2 days. He refused to eat and started a downhill slide. He had every test known to mankind (multiple brain MRI's, x-rays, urine and blood tests: all came out fine). He kept pulling out all his lines so they had him in restraints, etc. After smoldering along in the hospital for 1 month with the doctors just saying we had to wait for the steroids to get out of his system, he contracted MRSA in his bloodstream, not a surprise with all the intervention, multiple IV and urinary catheters, stress, malnutrition, etc. He went into a coma and died a few days later of kidney failure only days after his 79th birthday. Written by Barth's daughter.


Unexpected post-surgery aneurysm results in permanent disability

After undergoing a carotid endarterectomy, I began seeing double. I phoned my surgeon and he told me to get an eye patch. What he should have done was tell me to get to the hospital STAT; the reason I was seeing double was that an aneurysm was growing and when it burst I had a massive hemorrhagic stroke that has disabled me to this day. I lost my speech, my ability to walk and, of course, work. I've since recovered my speech and I can walk with assistance but cannot recover my computer skills.  

When the aneurysm burst, the right side of my face went numb. I phoned 911 and asked for an ambulance because I was having a stroke; they asked how I knew I was having a stroke: Those were the last words I spoke for quite awhile. When I got to the hospital all I could do was laugh and, being New Years Day, they wanted to know how much I had had to drink. I had a five day old endarectomy scar, and they did not realize that Brocca's fold was being blocked. Only after I went into a grand mal seizure did they realize something was wrong. They discovered I had a massive bleed going on. I had been on Coumadin (a blood thinner) so it took 49 units of blood and fresh frozen plasma to stop the bleeding. I was told that I'd never walk, talk or work again so I received no rehabilitation whatsoever. I did go back to work, but it only took a few weeks to realize I could no longer do what I did (computer engineer), so I had to retire.


"I'd rather have my health back"

I went in for an L4-S1 spinal fusion in March 2005. When I awoke after surgery, I had intense pain all down the right side of my body. They did a CT scan and found that the pedicle screw in the right side of my L-4 vertebrae was too long, and was impinging on my nerve root. Although I asked the doctors to take me into surgery that morning, they said they had a full schedule, and would operate on me after they completed the last scheduled operation.

At approximately 11:30 pm, they operated on me the second time. This time when I awoke after surgery, I still had pain down the right side of my body. Although it was not as bad as it was following my first surgery, it was still intense, only this time I was unable to move my right foot. After questioning the doctors for several minutes, one of them admitted that during the second surgery they tore my nerve root when they backed the L-4 pedicle screw out. The doctor also said that during the operation, my spinal sack was nicked, and that they had to do an emergency spinal patch. They said the problem with my right foot, known as “foot drop,” might only be temporary, and that the pain I felt down the right side of my body could be from operating on me twice in two days, so they wanted to wait 24 hours before doing anything else.

After 24 hours, I was still in pain and unable to move my right foot. They performed a second CT Scan, which revealed the second pedicle screw they installed during the second operation broke off part of my L-4 vertebrae, and was crushing my nerve root. They operated on me a third time in three days to remove the broken bone which finally reduced the pain on the right side of my body to a tolerable level. I was only supposed to be in the hospital three to four days, but ended up spending 19 days in the hospital.

It took me well over a year to recuperate, however, since I cannot do things I could before having back surgery, I do not consider having fully recovered. If that is not bad enough, I am in more pain now than I was before having back surgery; have to take 240 MG of morphine a day just to tolerate the pain; have to take two other types of pain medication multiple times per day when the pain is really bad; and have to walk with a cane and wear a fiberglass back brace to walk. Needless to say, if I could turn back the clock, I would not have had the surgery.


Surgeon Misrepresented His Skills And Risks Of Surgery

Surgeon Misrepresented His Skills And Risks Of Surgery

I received a surgery I never needed that was barbaric, called Thoracic Outlet Surgery. My website is www.tossurgerynightmare.com. The surgeon misrepresented both his skills and the risks of this surgery--on a form I signed. He cut out half my neck and my first rib and paralyzed my diaphragm muscle, paralyzed my scapula muscle, all for no reason.  He also caused severe damage to my neck structures and more. He was NOT qualified to do such a complex surgery as it was the third approach into the front of my neck. He is NOT a neurosurgeon. He needs to be stopped. The Medical Board did a SHAM peer review of my surgeon and let him off the hook--I have documents to prove this. I tried to sue IN PRO PER but was too disabled, so case was dismissed--though I DID file it. Malpractice attorneys were ferocious and threatening. Due to tort reform, MICRA, in California there is a CAP on Pain and Suffering of $200,000, so no attorneys bother with Medical Malpractice cases anymore--because they are not profitable to them, and they have a hard time finding and paying for the high costs of expert witnesses.  The more complex the case--the less likely any injured patient will find an attorney (especially if they were not a high wage earner prior to getting damaged). I will never work or teach again. I am dying a slow and painful death--and no doctors will help to assess me now. All doctors fear helping victims of medical crime so patients are left to die. I need any help you can offer me to stay alive. Thank you. Ms. Bobbie Jane Jenke, CA Special Education Teacher, Disabled by Medical "Profession." 


Young girl driven psychotic due to medications

Young girl driven psychotic due to medications

Our beautiful little girl Candace became psychotic after first being given overdoses of not one, but two sedatives that were not to be combined with the prescription drug she was taking. The sedatives were also administered incorrectly, by IV push, rather than titrated slowly through a saline solution. Two days after those initial errors, which placed her in the PICU, she was given four times the amount of the original medication which put her in the hospital in the first place, and then sent home with no warning about her continuous psychosis and hallucinations.

The result of their inept procedures caused irreversible damage to her heart, increased her heart rate and caused her to run a fever. Candace came home on a Wednesday evening, and hanged herself late Saturday afternoon, while in a psychotic state. The autopsy revealed a high dose of the medication I had witnessed them giving her, a medication they told me was simple Tylenol.

I can never forget their response when we questioned their actions and what they were doing to our daughter; "We have no idea what we are doing" and "We are out of our league on this one." Did it ever occur to them to confer with specialists who might know rather than hiding the truth from us? Apparently not, and we paid the ultimate price for trusting them.

Written by Mathy, mother of Candace.


Carrie Simon of West Hartford, Connecticut

Carrie Simon of West Hartford, Connecticut

In January of 2005, I was admitted to a major teaching hospital in the northeast for heart valve replacement and repair surgery. The surgery was successful, yet a few days later I began to show the early symptoms of MRSA. Neither the nursing staff nor the resident physicians recognized the symptoms. Only after about 36 hours of unexplainable deterioration in my condition and near fatal arrhythmia did the hospital staff respond appropriately and address the infectious disease that I had contracted. As a result I needed to undergo 5 additional surgeries, and remained a hospitalized patient for over 2 months. Then, when I got home I had to undergo 6 additional weeks of IV Vancomycin.

I am a veteran of numerous hospital stays and medical encounters; I am an adult survivor of childhood cancer, and a breast cancer survivor as well. I know, that there is a strong possibility that I will need further hospitalizations. Only now I am fearful of the very system that I must rely on to survive. If my family and I were apprised of the potential for hospital borne infections, the 36 hours would not have slipped by without medical intervention that complicated my recovery. If all hospitals begin taking the necessary steps to diminish the potential of such infections, not only would lives be saved, but so would millions of dollars in related medical costs.


Father Contracted C. Diff in Hospital Following Hip Replacement

I am the daughter of the deceased. My father received the hip surgery in the beginning of November 2007. The doctor was only going to repair the old replaced hip. As it was, he replaced the hip and the doctor used shorter screws and the ball fell out, but the doctor and staff never brought my Dad to x-ray to follow up because he is old. Dad went to a so- called recoup nursing home to recover, but he was slow and of course there was not enough help available for the patients. I live out of state and it was difficult to communicate, so I asked one of my siblings to ask the staff at the nursing home about my Dad’s recovery. After finding out he has had a fever for 3-4 days (that they were doctoring with Tylenol) the nursing home decided to send him back to the hospital, because after testing his blood they found out he had C. diff. Amazing, wouldn't you say? Now he has infected how many individuals. To think that C. diff is not a reportable disease. My dad did recover somewhat, but he was in the hospital and nursing homes for over 7 months. My father was a hyper-active person, only slowing down in his later years. He was completely healthy. On the go with the grandkids and friends. This past winter was too grueling because he couldn't get out much—he lost his battle. He died on Feb 8th from a heart attack.


Hospital hides cause of infant's stillbirth

Hospital hides cause of infant's stillbirth

The VP of Operations, Risk Management, and the Fetal Maternal Medical Doctors have hid the cause of my granddaughter, Chloe-McKayla’s stillbirth. They have refused to give her mother, LaTia, her medical records and baby's autopsy report. LaTia was given another patient’s medication which may have irritated her infection and complicated her pregnancy; we still have that medication she was given. The same week that she was given this medication her baby died.

During the course of her pregnancy, LaTia developed a bacterial infection that was not monitored or treated properly due to "inadequate insurance" coverage which lead to negligent pre-natal care. The hospital did not fully inform LaTia about how or why she developed the infection that killed her daughter but LaTia suspects it could be linked to another hospital that had an outbreak of MRSA in the maternity ward in combination with the “cerclage” operation.

The Fetal-Maternal doctor that treated her at the hospital under her private insurance convinced her to get a cervical cerclage for an incompetent cervix, which was performed at the same time LaTia was fighting her infection. LaTia refused the surgery at first because other doctors said that operation was too risky, no one informed her that it could lead to her baby’s death. The doctor told her it was a bigger risk not to get the surgery and if she did not get it she would go into pre-term labor and her daughter would fall out in the toilet bowl.

She was told that this surgery would save her daughter’s life and guaranteed it would preserve her pregnancy but instead it led to an expecting mother’s worst nightmare. This operation was supposed to have a very close follow-up, but as soon as LaTia lost her private health insurance the Fetal Maternal doctor her she would not treat her. The doctor did not follow up on her surgery as we planned, resulting in a more severe infection that caused the stillbirth. The fetal maternal doctor stated that she made $300 per hour, so of course she could only have private patients. So what if she performed a risky operation that required expert follow up? The baby died and this doctor could care less.

The hospital refuses to give the autopsy report. At one point they told my daughter that she could not have it because it was a "legal document." There were so many careless mistakes that these expert doctors made at this hospital and now they are showing that they really are heartless by denying my daughter her medical records and her daughter’s autopsy report. Please sign this petition so that Chloe-McKayla can get a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. With all that Chloe-McKayla has been through, this is the least that she is entitled to.

To learn more about Chloe-McKayla’s story visit her virtual memorial by clicking here. Written by Sharone, grandmother of Chloe-McKayla.


Not told about risks of chiropractic procedure

Not told about risks of chiropractic procedure

I was not given proper informed consent about a potentially fatal health risk. I was a healthy, fit 39 year old professional. I used chiropractic care for health maintenance. I believed it was a good thing to do for my body. On November 14, 2003, I suffered two brainstem strokes after having an upper neck manipulation. Initially, I lost speech, feeling in my right side, had a facial droop and slurred speech. When admitted to the stroke center, I found out that this is a known risk of chiropractic upper neck manipulations….Chiropractors, neurologists, etc. all know about it. However, because chiropractors are not medical doctors, they are not mandated to provide informed consent of this potentially fatal outcome. My speech, numbness, etc. improved, but my cognitive abilities are forever diminished. Since then, through the internet, I have met hundreds of other stroke survivors or family members of those who didn't survive, from this exact same adjustment. They, too, never knew of the stroke risk. Many have cognitive injuries like I do and many are paralyzed, unable to swallow food, have balance problems, etc. I'm lucky to have survived, but I mourn the loss of my former self.


Toe Surgery Has Caused Other Medical Problems

Podiatrist A negligently severed a tendon in my toe while removing a bone spur, causing the toe to rotate. Podiatrist B only performed half of the operation necessary to repair it, causing the condition to worsen. Hopefully, Podiatrist C has been successful, but the jury is still out.

After a year of limping, due to the toe problem (right foot), I've developed severe bursitis in my left hip.  Evidently, this is a fairly common occurrence in foot/ankle injuries.  I've had a steroid injection and physical therapy, but my condition continues to worsen, and I am in a lot of pain.  What drives my crazy is that I see no way of holding the original "Podiatrist A' to account.


Kidney Transplant Error Caught on Tape

On April 6, 2006, a Cleveland hospital did a kidney transplant on my son with his aunt as the donor. They were making a movie of this surgery for UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), which someone sent to us in secret when the surgery was over. The head of transplant surgery and the head laparoscopic surgeon did the surgery. They ripped the kidney out of the donor, killing the kidney and injuring the donor so badly that she had to have a second surgery to repair the leaks in her and she was left unable to have children. They put the dead kidney in my son. He and the donor were seriously ill for a month after the surgery. My son had unnecessary brutal treatments on him when they knew the kidney was dead anyway. He was 22 years old at the time, and they tortured him. We received the copy of the movie during this time and saw the additional medical blunders that were done while transplanting the kidney; such as the wrong stitches, sleeping assistants, and many more things. We had to force them to do something for my son and his aunt. They were leaving them to die to cover up what they had done. By the time the kidney was taken out a month later, it was black and dead and septic inside him. It was ready to explode, and if it had, he wouldn't be here now. When we approached the Cleveland hospital with this, they could have cared less. Their only regret was that we had caught them on film. They said it has happened before. Unfortunately, you just happened to catch us. That's when we decided to go public with this, so it would never happen to anyone else. Our website is www.kidneytransplantkiller.com.


Multiple misdiagnoses before identifying Castleman’s disease

I just had our third child in 2001. I was explaining to the doctor that I was having some problems breathing and catching my breath, and also I had broken out in hives. The good old doctor told me that I was going through postpartum stress. So he treated me for that, but that was not the problem. Then he started sending me to heart doctors: that was a joke. He then told me that I had lupus, but then that was not the problem either.

So on 6/4/03, I was at home and I was having real bad chills, so my husband took me to the emergency room. From there they told me that I needed a blood transfusion, and if I would have stayed overnight at home I would have died because I barely had blood to live on. I was in the hospital from 6/4/03-6/11/03. So I found out that I have Castleman’s disease—a rare blood disease which is a lot like lymphoma. They do not know to treat this either.


Gastroparesis misdiagnosed for two years

Gastroparesis misdiagnosed for two years

For two years (2006-2008) I was in the ER repeatedly with vomiting, pain, etc. I saw a physician in their facility on an outpatient basis. I eventually suffered arrhythmias, multiple episodes of aspiration pneumonia, and was even referred to psychiatric help. I ordered copies of the ER doctor notes and found out they labeled me a drug seeker. I eventually ended up in another hospital outside of my city where an ER doctor promptly recognized I needed to be admitted, not just sent home from the ER. After a few days in the hospital, the doctor recognized the symptoms of gastroparesis and ordered the test to confirm.


David Meyer of California

David Meyer of California

In May of 2006 I was involved in a motorcycle accident and taken to a Sacramento hospital for treatment. I had sustained a fracture to my right ankle. When I left the hospital the wound would not heal. After taking lab tests it was determined that I had a staph infection that required a debridement surgery. (It turned out to be two surgeries). After leaving an area on my ankle big enough to put two golf balls in, I was hooked up to a wound vac and pic line for about 6 weeks. With the pic line I was injected with antibiotics several times a day. About a month later an infected area appeared near the wound. Another test was taken and this time it was pseudomonas (sic). The pic line was reinstalled and I was given another six weeks of antibiotics by pump several times a day. Before this experience I had no health issues, was a vegetarian, had never had a surgery or been in a hospital in my life. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I observed that my hospital care seemed unprofessional to say the least. In retrospect, the student nurses were not washing their hands, cleaning pic line connections properly, wearing gloves and so on. The reason that I know this is that later surgeries and follow up care were done at a different hospital and the difference was night and day. I would like to do something to help other unsuspecting patients from going through the hellish ordeal that I went through.


Daughter advocates for ailing father suffering from hospital infections

Daughter advocates for ailing father suffering from hospital infections

Back on July 8th, 2004, my father went into the hospital for what his surgeon said would be an easy valve replacement with the expectation he would be out of the hospital within 7-10 days. My father was 79 and in relatively good shape and a well built man. The first surgery was done, taking a good 9 or more hours. Within 2 hours after coming out of surgery, we were told there was a leak where blood was filling around the heart sack, so they had to go back in and perform another 9 hours of surgery. We found out that apparently there was some calcification which they thought would not be an issue but once they closed my dad up, blood started to seep thru where the calcification was that was not addressed in the initial surgery. Surprisingly, my dad, being a strong man, survived all this surgery though it took a while for him to come around.

 Within a few weeks he seemed to be on his way to recovering well and there was another problem. Apparently he developed an infection in one of the valves so they had to open him yet again to take care of that problem. When we thought things were finally under control, they informed us again that he developed an infection in the sternum and had to go in again. After going in again for the infection that developed in the sternum, they could no longer close his chest because of opening him so many times so they had his chest open, with a vaccum suction in it sucking out any fluids that were building up. He was this way for about 4-5 days. At this time, they had a plastic surgeon come in to see if he could close his chest and he called me to say that he could not close it because my father had become so dehydrated that his skin was thin and opaque and would not close up. I questioned how someone on IV becomes so dehydrated and was told that the fluids he was getting were going to help fight the infection and I asked if that was the case why did didn't just give him more fluids then to make sure he remained hydrated. All they would say to me was that I didn't understand.

 Between all these surgeries, I made numerous complaints to their Patient Advocate unit and even addressed my letter to the head of the hospital. They had a social worker contact me who kept asking what she could do for me and I told her that there was nothing they could do for me but make my dad better.

 Also, in this timeframe in the hospital, after his 3rd surgery, a nurse was taking him for a walk down the hall. My father had a pacemaker which we found out had a connection that was not connected quite right and would flap around. Well, as she took my dad for a walk (she was 9 months pregnant), they made it to the visitor area and when they were heading back to his room he tried to tell her something didn't feel right. Apparently, the pacemaker lost a temporary connection, flapped and my dad passed out. In the process, he ended up hitting his head and arm on furniture in the visitor's room. When I went to see him later that day, he had horrible black and blue marks on his face and arm because of the cumadin he was on. I was very upset and told the hospital staff and they didn't seem too concerned over it. My dad was in ICU for five months and only got out maybe twice for a day or two.

 The remainder of his life was spent in ICU. There were CONSTANT infections which I believe was the cause of his not getting better and eventually becoming nothing but a shell of a person. Some of the incidences that come to mind were: nicking his lungs a few times while trying to drain fluid, damage to his esophagus from pushing tubes constantly down his throat and causing damage, going in and finding the mat under him had diarrhea on it and him having a horrible burning rash. When I asked the nurse about it she told me that because he had only gone "a little" they were not going to change the mat just yet.

 By the time the five months had passed in ICU, my dad was in total kidney failure, skin completely opaque, complete trach, he could no longer speak, tubes were everywhere in him and he withered away, he couldn't eat and couldn't breathe on his own. There were times he had been over-medicated but one of my numerous complaints to the hospital brought up the head of Geriatics who said he felt for his age he had been overmedicated so they decreased what he was on. He developed horrible skin rashes so severe on his legs that the skin was peeling. I NEVER saw them take him out for walks when he was well enough to walk and even he himself told me that. By the time they were done with him, the only thing aware was his mind. He would NEVER be better again and if we kept him alive, he would be living on a respirator, trach, and dialysis, never move, swallow, eat on his own or talk. The destroyed a beautiful human being which the only recourse left was to have his life support turned off and let him go peacefully and with dignity. I've never gone thru such a terrible and heart wretching five months like I did fighting for my dad to no avail. I called numerous attorneys because I felt the hospital was to blame for what happened to my dad. Not one attorney would take the case. The answer from them was......infections happen. Yes, I believe that, but you can never convince me that this many infections happen to one person when they are in ICU all that time. I believe there was serious neglect and my dad and, we, his family paid the price for that. My dad went into the hospital on July 8th 2004 and died November 12th 2004.


Near-death experience after Dilaudid administration

Near-death experience after Dilaudid administration

I was admitted to the hospital in January 2005 into the emergency room because I had viral meningitis. This was the second bout. The first was in October 2004 and it followed brain surgery in June 2004. In January, when I was admitted, I was in unbelievable pain (headache) from the illness. The following morning, a nurse came into my room and gave me dilaudid in my IV for the pain. She then exited the room and closed the door behind her. I was in a single room. I did not remember anything after that until I was being rushed to the ICU and saw lights passing over my head. There was a machine to make me breathe and a heart monitor was strapped to me. Every time I dozed off, I was awakened. I was told that I had gone code blue and my breathing and heart stopped. A doctor found me in my hospital room and said I was an incredible shade of blue. I don't know how long I was in that state. I do know that I was somewhere that was wonderful and I had no pain nor any cares or worries about everyday life. I was jolted back into reality and was quite upset about it because everything, like pain, came flooding back. I literally was "dead". I spent several days in the ICU and then was transferred back to a hospital room where a pic line was inserted and I could receive anti-viral drugs to help fight the viral meningitis. I had to keep the pic line in for an additional two weeks after I was released from the hospital and give myself both heparin and anti-viral medication. This ordeal was to a large extent rather life-altering because it followed other previous illnesses and brain surgery.


"Rampant neglect and mistreatment"

My father, Edward Martin, was riding a bicycle when he was struck by a vehicle in the bike lane. The collision broke his neck. After emergency CPR at the scene, he was transported to a university hospital in Sacramento where he received good care.

Within days, he was moved to his health provider’s facility, also in Sacramento. In Intensive Care unit, his care was adequate, but when he was moved to the long term care facility downstairs, he was ignored, neglected and he became very critically ill. The staff was rarely available for his needs and the feeding tube had been inserted improperly by an unqualified staff person who misplaced the tube. Liquid food was pouring into his abdomen instead of his stomach. In the course of this rampant neglect and mistreatment, numerous medical errors occurred. He developed lung damage from orderlies using suction equipment improperly, was dropped multiple times by nurses and staff while transporting him from bed to chair, he was told to sit in a chair for three hours without turning or moving to qualify for rehabilitation in another hospital- this led to bedsores as quads cannot sit on same spot for more than thirty minutes without damaging the skin.

He was too ill for a rehab facility to manage him so he was moved to a pulmonary unit at the same hospital. Various units in the facility didn’t know how to manage a quadriplegic so the advice and care he received in the pulmonary unit actually aggravated his condition. He did recover enough to participate in rehab but his condition was so grave, that he was unable to receive much benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.

The family was trained to provide his care at home and he was discharged home in December 2003. He continued to struggle with home rehab for 2.5 years. It is unknown to me, at what time he was exposed to the MRSA virus as numerous ER trips were accomplished during many breathing crises. The MRSA treatments offered and recommended would have damaged his kidneys. A less effective and less damaging option was provided but eventually the toll on his immune system and will to live became too much for his system and his psychological resources. My father passed away at home on May 27, 2006 after 8 weeks on hospice.

Written by Ludean Mines, MSW.


Ruptured disc surgery fuses wrong

Ruptured disc surgery fuses wrong

In 1976 I had my back operated on (because I had a ruptured disk) and the doctor fused my back wrong. In 1978, a neurologist tried to fix it, but the damage was too extensive. I have had chronic pain every since. In order to perform at all I live on pain meds: Fentanyl patches and Tramadol.


ACL repair surgery leads to MRSA infection and more hospitalization

In July 1995 I had ACL repair surgery. I developed a MRSA infection within two weeks, and spent further time in the hospital being treated for that, undergoing surgery to insert drains in the infected knee, and upon discharge having whirlpool therapy in an effort to halt the infection, as well as antibiotic treatment. In September the same surgeon operated again to remove some of the hardware at the site of the infection, which had begun in the tibia.

In the fall of 1997 I developed cellulitis in the same leg, which was found to be [the same?] MRSA; the button used to affix the tendon repair to my femur had come loose, and had migrated to the inside surface of my knee. At this time I went to a doctor other than the original surgeon. In reading my records, this doctor discovered that at the surgery to remove the tibia hardware in September of '97, the surgeon had noted 'gross pus' at the site. Yet I was never told of this nor did the original surgeon prescribe any course of antibiotics at that time in an effort to eliminate the still-present infection. This second surgeon removed the now-useless hardware and engaged the help of an infectious disease specialist, who then oversaw the remainder of my recovery. I was in isolation for nearly three months, nine days of that in the same hospital, the remainder at home, unable to go out or to have visitors. I self-administered IV antibiotics twice daily via a pic line, and had visiting nurses to change the dressing and check the progress of the healing, which naturally had to occur from the inside out.

To this date there has been no recurrence, though the infectious disease specialist told me he would never be able to say that it will never happen again.


Severed nerve and inappropriate medical device from hip surgery results in permanent disability

My mother had hip surgery during which the doctor, unbeknownst to my mother or her rehab crew, severed a nerve. After several months of my mother not getting the mobility or correct walking gait back, the doctor insisted it would only take more rehab. After one year of this doctor doing nothing else proactive to figure out my mother's problem, I brought my mother to San Antonio. Through the help of a doctor friend, I got her to see the best remedial Orthopedist in town. He was hopeful until the MRI came back showing that not only was the appliance in her leg LONGER than it should have been, but that the muscle connected to the severed nerve was now jelly and would never be able to rejuvenate itself. My mother went from having pain in her hip before the operation to a permanently impaired gait (a Trendelenberg Gait) that requires a walker at all times. I enlisted a lawyer friend in New Jersey to see about suing. He could find no doctor who was willing to testify in court against this high-profile orthopedic medical group: so powerful is the doctor whose name is on this business.

 


Jerk doctors stomach feeding tube

Jerk doctors stomach feeding tube

The doctor was supposed to be replacing a stomach feeding tube (goes through the stomach wall, for people who can't chew/swallow properly). He didn't understand the procedure for removing the old tube, got frustrated, and ripped it out by force. It was INCREDIBLY painful. Then, after he installed the new one, he jerked on it violently 3 times (supposedly testing the install) even though the first time obviously caused agony.


Mother and Son Experience Different Medical Errors

In January 2007 I underwent cabx5, an aneurysm repair in left ventricle of my heart, where a bi-ventricular pacemaker was inserted. According to my medical records, my doctor found the aneurysm in the left ventricle in 2004, and in 2005 in the stress test, and never told me about it. I am permanently disabled.

In April 2008 my mother was shocked 19 times by her defibrillator/pacemaker, 24 hours after a medical technician did some reprogramming in the device. In November 2008, my mother fell on to the hospital floor here in Texas while on her death bed. I had previously told them to use restraints and they refused to. This complaint is currently filed with the Texas Department of Health.


Glenn Cartrette of Castle Hayne, North Carolina

Glenn Cartrette of Castle Hayne, North Carolina

On January 1, 2003 my husband, Glenn Cartrette, had knee surgery. After three weeks he went back to work and found he had a new pain in his hip joint which grew worse during his 17-hour workdays. Glenn had a full hip replacement in October. After the two surgeries, pain began to be a daily part of Glenn's life. Finally the pain was so intense that he no longer could go to rehab. Then problems started with his lungs. The orthopedic surgeon said there was nothing wrong with his surgery but during one of his many hospital admissions Glenn and I were told he had MRSA. He was placed in a private room where visitors were required to wash their hands, put on a gown, gloves and mask before entering the room. He spent weeks in the hospital and continued to take vancomycin for the MRSA after he was released.

After returning home Glenn continued to have pain and difficulty breathing which required visits to the emergency room often. I would beg for help because I could see the stress on him just to breathe. We also consulted with pain management doctors to monitor the pain medications needed in ever increasing doses. Except for about 15 days in a nursing home, Glenn was in the hospital from July, 2005 until January, 2006. His lungs were infected with MRSA and he was in a great deal of pain. He died on January 26, 2006 unaware of what was going on around him. Death was the only escape from the horrible things MRSA had done to him and his body. I spend my days with our grandson that was born two months before his grandfather died. Also, my Dad died 75 days after Glenn. He had been in the hospital and also tested positive for MRSA. It has had a great impact and toll on this family.

I spend my days with our grandson that was born two months before his grandfather died.  Also, my Dad died 75 days after Glenn.  He had been in the hospital and also tested positive for MRSA.  It has had a great impact and toll on this family.I spend my days with our grandson that was born two months before his grandfather died.  Also, my Dad died 75 days after Glenn.  He had been in the hospital and also tested positive for MRSA.  It has had a great impact and toll on this family.

 Stop MRSA- A poem by Teri Cartrette

 My Fight
Who would have ever thought you would pay for this with your life?
It's an infection that seems to be rampant and causing so much strife.
It just seems there was no one willing to say you would not get well.
There were no answers as to why you had to go through hell.
The countless days and months of pain and suffering.
The awful damage to your lungs, which left you smothering.
There were signs posted on the doors all around hospital rooms.
But who knew this staph infection was a sickness that dooms.
The surgery you had was to keep you out of work for six weeks.
Who knew that two years and nine months MRSA would reek?
Watching you suffer daily while continuing to pray.
Reliving the pain should I have asked you to stay?
Fourteen states are required to report to the public these staff infections.
How many people will have to become infected not having any directions?
There are sites about hospital infections that are fighting to take action.
If you know about this infection then we need to battle it with a passion.
There has got to be a drive today to get this under control.
Before it enters your life, which is too much of a toll.
by TeriCartrette © March, 2006


Accidentally cut off blood flow during surgery

Accidentally cut off blood flow during surgery

An inept surgeon, during a repair of an abdominal aneurysm, made a mistake by cutting off the blood flow to the kidneys during my husband's surgery. After this surgery his vitals began shutting down and he was rushed into surgery to make a repair to this mistake, but it was already too late as his kidneys had been damaged. Dialysis was given at the hospital and then afterwards he had to do it three days a week, four hours each time. He has to deal with this for the rest of his life. Before these surgeries he had a perfect report from his annual check-ups and labs. This surgeon has continued to practice as a surgeon at a well known hospital in Houston TX, even though the medical staff would have to be aware of this. I feel so angry and frustrated.

This mistake has taken away our quality of life as we are no longer able to travel and we had to sell our RV. Three days a week my husband is so tired after the dialysis treatments that he is unable to take part in activities he once enjoyed. He continually has to have surgical procedures to clean out the dialysis access lines that go directly into his veins and we never know ahead of time when this will have to be done as blood clots form in the veins unexpectedly. All of this has affected my husband mentally and physically in an adverse way.

I do not want to sensationalize what he has gone through, but I do think the medical board needs to be made aware of this, as well as the general public that may have an upcoming surgery. People need to be made aware of what is happening and any changes that are to be made. We were talked to in a very public and noisy waiting room and could not hear half of what was being said to us. In retrospect we feel we were treated in this manner because we were not VIPs. There are excellent physicians; this one was not. We have also encountered excellent physicians to whom we are very grateful.


Surgical error during biopsy left me permanently blind

Surgical error during biopsy left me permanently blind

I had various symptoms of an undiagnosed illness from March to September 1991. Blood tests and imaging tests ( x-rays, ultra sounds, MRI, CT scans, that produce pictures of the inside of the body) suggested Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  However, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
 
On September 30 of 1991, a simple forceps biopsy was performed (in my chest of a massive 13cm tumor) to diagnose, and/or grade and stage Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A surgical accident occured during this biopsy; the Superior Vena Cava (large vein which returns blood to the heart from the head, neck and both upper limbs) was erroneously cut and erroneously sewn closed, resulting in Superior Vena Cava arrest. Surgery was emergently ended. During recovery, while on a ventilator (a breathing machine; aka life support), I awoke and was already totally blind.
 
Tests were performed, consulting phone calls were made to experts all over the world, and a second surgery was performed that evening to repair the damage.  During that second surgery, a heart bypass was performed (a Gortex graft from jugular vein in neck to the heart) to save my life but the total (both eyes) blindness could not be reversed. Later, it was determined that additional damage was done to my diaphragm and one lung. Today I remain permanently blind (due to optic nerve death from the lack of blood flow) and have medical complications directly resulting from the surgical accident.


Daughter faces lifelong health issues due to the carelessness of her medical providers

Daughter faces lifelong health issues due to the carelessness of her medical providers

My 14-month old daughter (with an ongoing brain condition but in great health) was admitted to a Seattle children’s hospital on 11/10/2005 for implantation of a shunt. An infection occurred as a result of the surgery and she was readmitted on Thanksgiving, 11/24/05. She had subsequent new and overlapping infections. We made dozens of complaints - all of which were validated by hospital management - regarding medical staff failing to follow basic hygiene and infection control procedures. We had someone in the room 24/7 with her monitoring the staff and had to continually correct egregious violations of basic infection control procedure even though she was in a "glove and gown" room. We were viewed as "troublemakers" at the hospital because we were so vocal about her care.

After insisting on the glove and gown environment, which the hospital insisted was unnecessary and unrelated to Hunter’s infections, she got no more infections. I had to override medical opinion a few more times and each time I was correct. I started requiring mandatory pre-surgery meetings of the entire surgical and pre/post teams – something I was told I was not authorized to do and told that no one would show up. Every single doctor and nurse involved attended those meetings. We “graded” nurses A, B, and C based on their diligence and performance and indicated we would only accept “A” nurses on surgery and critical days and only “B” nurses on non-critical days. “C” nurses were banned and I gave all nurses the option of not working with our family if they didn’t want to. Every “A” nurse specifically requested to be on our case.

At one point the hospital tried to retaliate by restricting our access to Hunter after a surgery because we were scrutinizing procedures so closely. They refused to let us see her for 3 hours after her leaving surgery. I filed a child abduction charge with the Seattle Police Department which was accepted and investigated. A complaint was filed with the State health department which was also accepted and investigated. At that point the hospital started changing their attitude, when teams of detectives and investigators descended on them.

Hunter was finally released after nearly two months in the hospital. Over three years later, she still has not started eating again. It’s likely that some peripheral damage was done to her brain during the 8 brain surgeries in which shunts were inserted, removed, and inserted again. In addition to being tube-fed at age 4-1/2, she has chronic gagging and vomiting issues. All of these are related to the part of the brain that governs swallowing, among other things, which was fine until the surgeries and infections occurred.

Hunter already had a rough start to life due to her premature birth (25 weeks) due to a medical error by a nurse -- there mysteriously is no record of the procedure or the nurse being on her case that night. Now she has another layer of lifelong issues due to the carelessness of her medical providers. “First, do no harm” indeed.

For more information about this story, visit http://seattlechildrens.blogspot.com/. Written by Fred Whittlesey.


Isabella Neves of Atwater, California

Isabella Neves of Atwater, California

My mother was in Merced Mercy Hospital suffering from cardio-vascular disease. She got MRSA while there and continued to have it until she died. At one point while I visited her, every room had a MRSA sign outside the room on the entire second floor. At no time did the nursing staff tell or ensure visitors to down gloves, masks, etc. it was just a free-for-all. NO MONITORING AT ALL. I was told that the hospital was understaffed in its nursing. one could not tell if people wandering around the coridors, obviously employed by the hospital were nurses, LVNs or janitors.

Written by H. Andrea Neves of Hillsborough, CA, daughter of Isabella.


Abdomen surgery to recurring MRSA infections and multiple surgeries

Abdomen surgery to recurring MRSA infections and multiple surgeries

I had what was supposed to be a minor surgery August 13, 2002. I was sick for the next 2 weeks. I had emergency surgery on my abdomen on August 27, 2002. I was in the hospital from August 13 till the third week of September.  When I was released, fluid started leaking thru my staples. I called and was informed to put a bandage on it. I let the Surgeon know that it was more then a bandage could cover.  I kept it covered the best I could. After my staples were removed, the strips put over each spot were gone by the time I arrived home, as so much fluid was leaking.  I went back in and the Surgeon had me lie down and cut about a 2 inch strip and told me how to pack it.  Never explained what he was going to do or why he did it. 

The next day I visited with my second Surgeon and he explained why that had been done and I asked him if he would test for Staph. After he did the test, when he took it out there to be sent off, it was a big joke to the nurse that they had forgotten to do that the day before. I was on antibiotics for 3 weeks.  No follow up tests were done to see if I was infection free.  June 3rd of 2003, I had another Surgery. After being released, my abdomen kept filling with fluid. It was drained 3 different times, and then my Surgeon put a drain bag in, which I had in for 11 days.  Removed the drain bag, and my abdomen filled back up with fluid, in talking to my Surgeon I was informed to ignore it and it would absorb back into my body.  Never was any of the fluid tested to see if there was an infection.  I was made to feel like I was a bother.

My sister commented to her Doctor about my condition. She suggested I contact a Doctor in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Colorado Doctor did some tests and had a drain bag put back in.  I had 2 pockets of fluid in my abdomen. After 4 days of having the bag in, I was not feeling well. I went back to Fort Collins and I was admitted to the hospital. Emergency surgery was done the next night. The fluid in my abdomen had turned septic, the nurse let me know, had I not gone down, I would have lived probably another 2 days.  I left with a pic line and a wound vac attached to my abdomen.

My staph turned into MRSA and I was informed to get my affairs in order.  I had another Surgery; this was to remove two pieces of mesh that had staph in them.  Finally on February 4, 2004, I was informed I was MRSA Free. I have had numerous Surgerys as I have had to have Incisional Hernia Repairs. 

On December 5, 2008, I was informed once again that I had MRSA again.  I had another pic line put back in, every 24 hours I went to the hospital for a treatment.  On December 10, I had another emergency surgery to clean my abdomen out.  Pic line was removed and another one put in.  I had a blood clot. Once again I had a wound vac attached to my abdomen which was removed April 7, 2009. I went back on Zyvox. I was on this for about 2 months, had to go off of this medication as this is the last known drug to treat MRSA . I went on another antibiotic which I was able to come off, July 10, 2009.  

This is a shortened version of my illness, from a Surgery gone terribly wrong.  Half of my stomach was removed, the vagus nerve was removed (tells your stomach to digest the food) and my epiglottis was removed as these were dead from the surgery error during my minor surgery on August 13, 2008.  I will be on medications for the rest of my life and l will be facing more surgeries.


Nearly shocked to death by defibrillator

Nearly shocked to death by defibrillator

My defibrillator fired fifteen times until I finally told them to turn it off. I said my goodbyes to my wife and told her I loved her, thinking it was over for me. The shocks stopped and nothing happened, much to my surprise, as I thought I would die. I later found that nine of the fifteen shocks were not programmed.

 

It was one of the most terrifying times in my life. This happened two years ago (in 2007) and I still experience phantom shocks and nightmares. It has shaken my trust in my defibrillator and caused me concern for possible future malfunctions to occur. It still causes me sleepless nights and constant worry. I reported it to the FDA and they acknowledged receipt of my case but were not at liberty to discuss the reasons behind these incidents. None of the doctors I saw explained what took place and why. I feel knowing the facts would put my mind at ease and greatly improve my quality of life and trust in my life-saving device once again.


Bladder cancer diagnosed too late

Bladder cancer diagnosed too late

My Mom, Joan Clayton, went to her regular doctor in August of 2007 with bladder problems. Instead of referring her on to an urologist when the symptoms did not improve, they kept trying different creams, antibiotics, powders, etc. She saw 3 different doctors, 5 different times, over a period of 4 months, after which she figured she had a prolapsed bladder and would have to live with it. She started to pass blood in July 2008. Her doctor gave her ANOTHER course of antibiotics in August 2008. I didn't know how much blood until I saw for myself. I made her an appointment with an urologist we like really well. He couldn't see inside her bladder because of all the blood and scheduled her for a larger scope in the hospital the next day. Turns out she had bladder cancer. She had a tumor the size of a baseball that had infiltrated the bladder, was into the fatty tissue, into the lymph system and also a lesion on her liver. The urologist's opinion was that it had been there for a least a year (which coincides with the time she started having problems and went to her primary care doctor). He did surgery, and removed what he could, but it was too large and by this time she only weighed 119 pounds and would not have been able to withstand major surgery such as having her bladder removed. She had surgery September 9th and she died October 24th, 2008. We took care of her at our house for the last week and a half of her life. We had just lost my husband's Mother in July of 2008 and we had been taking care of her for the past 5 years so we were with her as well when she died. Both Mothers died at our home with us and their granddaughters by their side. If any of the original doctors would have taken the time to refer my Mom, (instead I did it), she'd still be alive today. The tumor would have been small enough to remove and she would have been strong enough still for any surgery that may have been required. Now she's dead all because of laziness and incompetence. Written by Elizabeth C., daughter of Joan.


Misdiagnosed for four years

Misdiagnosed for four years

Beginning in 1994, my wife Betty LeBlanc was misdiagnosed for more than four years with fibromyalgia. Because we have no approved accurate laboratory test for Lyme disease my wife and thousands like her have been and continue to be misdiagnosed.

We have had to travel out of state to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease. Initially, my wife was diagnosed as borderline and was refused any antibiotics at that time. When we brought back a recommended treatment of IV antibiotics we were refused any treatment by four different medical facilities. I have also been misdiagnosed. There are thousands more like us that have had to struggle to find a Lyme literate doctor (LLMD). LLMDs are being persecuted for "trying" to treat chronic Lyme sufferers.

We started a Lyme disease support group here in central Virginia in June of 2008 and meet monthly. I am the Director of the Central Virginia Chapter under the umbrella of The National Capitol Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Association. You can click on Chapters to find more information the chapter and the NATCAPLYME organization as well.


John McCleary of Maine

John McCleary of Maine

John McCleary, my father, was admitted to the hospital on September 26, 2008 with a minor fracture of his ankle. He was in that 25 bed hospital for 12 days for rehabilitation and discharged in good condition on October 5. On October 7, he was unable to get up from bed. Profound weakness and fever held him down. He was readmitted that day. This started his 3 month battle with hospital acquired MRSA pneumonia.

MRSA triggered a series of catastrophic medical events that caused him to become a complete care, bed bound patient overnight. The first event was a heart attack. He was in the hospital for 20 days and the in the nursing home for 9 weeks. He lost his strength, his independence, his hearing because of Vancomycin, his appetite and over 50 lbs, his dignity and ultimately his life. When he died on January 9, 2009, he barely resembled the handsome rugged Irishman we had loved all our lives.

Questions and conversations with his doctors and hospital administrators about why this happened and what they could do to stop it were unsatisfactory. I studied a great deal about HA MRSA and realized that our hospitals are not doing all they can to prevent MRSA or other hospital acquired infections. MRSA colonized and infected patients go into hospitals every day and are undetected because no screening is done. These patients are housed with non infected patients. No special precautions are taken and the infection is carried throughout the hospitals by families, staff and visitors. Two other patients had died of HA MRSA in my father’s small hospital within one month prior to my father’s first admission. I was unable to get any information about the number of infections from the State CDC. I was told MRSA is not a reportable illness. This allows our hospitals to have absolutely no accountability for HA MRSA.

My mother and the rest of my family still feel as though we were blindsided by this horrible event in our lives. Dad was elderly, but he lived at home independently with my mother, his wife of 62 years. He worked so hard to rehabilitate after his ankle fracture. The sudden decline of his health status because of an infection that he got while hospitalized was a shock to him, and to all of my family. He was a fighter, but MRSA won out. When I found out during my research that MRSA is preventable, I became very angry. I channeled this anger, sadness and frustration into studying and writing the proposal for prevention of MRSA in Maine hospitals. My goal is to help save lives. I only wish I had done it before I lost my father.

Written by Kathy Day, daughter of John.

 


Thirteen Month Old Daughter Dies of Medical Errors

Thirteen Month Old Daughter Dies of Medical Errors

The medical error we experienced was the death of our 13 month old daughter, Taylor. I lived every parent's nightmare of losing a child and this is especially difficult because our child should be alive today, but because of medical errors, she is not. Here are the reasons why, and you judge for yourself:

1)When our 13 month old daughter was brought into the emergency room we were told that the shunt which was placed in her head at birth was in failure, her condition was "emergent", and that she required immediate surgery. We were then told that since the "OR" was too busy and due to the late hour and on the weekend, she was being bumped from surgery that evening and would have to wait until the next morning for surgery (but she did not make it until the morning).

2) Given her clinical presentations at that time, it was grossly negligent not to have done the surgery immediately.

3) To further compound the problem, she was not even placed in an intensive care unit, nor was she properly monitored while she awaited surgery.

4) My daughter was showing all of the signs of fatal intracranial pressure which was totally ignored by the nursing staff and the attending resident neurosurgeon who failed to even check on my daughter at all after she was placed in the room.

5) Prior to being placed in her room the resident neurosurgeon working that evening at the hospital paged the attending neurosurgeon who was suppose to do the surgery and was on call that evening, however, the attending neurosurgeon put his pager on vibrate and went to sleep and never came in and did not answer the numerous pages, despite the fact he had previously given an order to the attending resident neurosurgeon to tap the shunt, which the resident neurosurgeon did do, but the shunt was dry and no fluid was obtained, which was a dangerous condition.

6)After tapping the shunt, the resident neurosurgeon repeatedly paged the attending neurosurgeon to let him know that the shunt could not be tapped, but as previously noted, the attending neurosurgeon had gone into the supermarket to do his shopping, and then he says he put his pager on vibrate as he went into the supermarket, and then went home and fell asleep never answering any of the pages from the resident neurosurgeon and never even bothering to inquire as to the results of the shunt tap or my daughter's condition.

7) The resident neurosurgeon in question who rendered care to my daughter that evening had a limited medical license, which had expired at the time he rendered such care, yet he was left in charge to call the shots.

8) The resident neurosurgeon also ordered blood tests which were taken that evening, which showed that my daughter had critical carbon dioxide levels, as well as abnormal potassium and sodium levels, but nobody, including the resident neurosurgeon, even bothered to inquire, acknowledge or address these abnormal results.

9) Although ICU monitoring was needed, my daughter was not placed in and intensive care unit.

10) No doctor ever examined my daughter from the time she was admitted to the time she went into respiratory arrest. (12:20 am to 6:20 am)

11) The hospital could have done a bedside procedure to relieve the pressure on my daughter's brain but did not even attempt. This is why I'm fighting for patients’ rights and to prevent this senseless tragedy to happen to another child or family.


Surgery leads to life-threatening infections and thirteen more surgeries

Surgery leads to life-threatening infections and thirteen more surgeries

In March of 2001, I contracted four infections during a partial hysterectomy- MRSA, staph, ecoli, and invasive Group A strep. These four infectious bacterias resulted in flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis). I went into septic shock, was resuscitated four times, went into multiple organ failure, and was placed on life support. I spent three days in a coma and nine days in critical care before beginning the recovery and reconstruction process. My husband was told that I would not have survived two more days if they had not readmitted me for what appeared to be a "hematoma" above the incision area that moved and burst my incision open.

Due to the bacteria, I had 50 square inches of my abdomen removed during the debridement procedure. There have been a total of thirteen subsequent reconstruction surgeries to rebuild my body to the best that it will ever be. I endured spinal damage, nerve damage and brain injury in addition to the loss of the abdominal wall. I continue to have my internal organs monitored on a regular basis to determine function abilities. It is a very time consuming and worrisome process.

Proving the hospital to be at fault would have been a very costly and difficult process in the state of South Carolina, especially with tort reform being introduced in our legislature at the time. I am thankful that by the grace of God and the wonderful ability He gave to many doctors, who have and continue to care for me, that I recovered to the best of my ability. Sometimes, when a patient is unable to sue for a medical liability issue, it just would have been nice to hear these two words "I'm sorry".

 


June Anne Brunner of Potosi, Wisconsin

June Anne Brunner of Potosi, Wisconsin

In April 2008, my mother, June Anne Brunner, fell and broke her leg. She had surgery in a Wisconsin hospital to support the bone. The surgical wound became infected with MRSA, and had the whole family scared. She took IV antibiotics twice per day for 4-6 weeks. The medicine hurt her stomach and caused additional pain that was so hard for her to bear at age 77. She died shortly thereafter on April 17, 2008.

Written by Mary Brown, June's daughter.


Overdose of Medication Administered During Surgical Procedure

Overdose of Medication Administered During Surgical Procedure

I needed to have gall bladder surgery on 10/31/91, and the surgeon wanted me to have an endoscopy to see if a very large gall stone could be broken up (so I would not need major surgery, and he could possibly do the surgery lapriscopically). I was not told what drug I was going to be given, just that I was going to be given something in my IV to 'relax me.' I was given my first does of Versed which did nothing, then a second dose which sort of made me woozy. During the procedure I woke up 5 times choking, gasping for breath (I'm a very bad asthmatic also), and every time I woke up more Versed was pumped into my IV. I was told that I became violent (had a paradoxical reaction), and sat up on the table and tried to strangle the doctor. When I finally came to, I could barely move my head and I was covered in bruises, especially on my arms and legs. How can your body be bruised when it's your throat being worked on? No one would tell me what happened until about a day later, when a nurse told me what had transpired during the exam: I was given an overdose of Versed, and it took 4 orderlies to pull me off the doctor. During the incident, the orderlies apparently beat me up. Since Versed is a memory loss (and date rape) drug, of course I have no memory of the incident. Now I also have about a 15-year span of my life that I have no recollection of at all...mostly of my children growing up.

Also, I was left with PTSD from this medical horror. I've been suffering from severe anxiety and chronic depression ever since this took place at that Florida hospital. I've had several surgeries since this incident occurred, and I always put that I'm allergic to Versed so that this never happens to me again. I wouldn't wish what happened to me to happen to anyone. My life was ruined: I'm an emotional basketcase that most days can hardly function. I don't remember anything, and I'm on 5 different medications due to this medical mishap. I've done everything in my power to warn people about not accepting Versed for any medical or dental procedure, and I've written the FDA several times to request that it be banned from use on human beings.


Infant Dies Following Hospital Acquired Infections

My pregnancy was completely normal and everything seemed perfect. Charlee was my husband’s only child and his pride and joy.

Shortly after she was born, we were informed that our daughter’s oxygen levels were low. Tests were done to determine the cause. We learned that she had Down syndrome and a hole in her heart caused by a condition called atrioventricular septal defect.

Charlee needed heart surgery. The cardiologist assured us the type of surgery that she needed was performed often with a very high success rate. He wanted to wait six months before operating, to give my baby time to grow stronger.

Her heart was working hard and it was initially difficult for her to gain weight. But after a feeding tube was inserted, she gained weight like a champ! She spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home.  We took her to her big brother’s football games and out to watch our friends play softball. Because she had a "compromised immune system" we took standard precautions to prevent infections. For instance, everyone washed and sanitized their hands before touching her. But, by no means, did we live in a bubble. 

By late January, Charlee was ready for surgery. It went very well, according to the surgeon, better than he had hoped! He was thrilled with the "miniscule" post-op leakage. We expected our baby to spend a week to 10 days recovering in the hospital. Instead, she suffered from a series of infections following a medical mistake. She died in the hospital 95 days after she was admitted.

At 1 a.m. on the morning following heart surgery, a nurse woke me and directed me to leave Charlee’s hospital room. People were everywhere. I had no idea what was happening. Someone would talk with me in the waiting room, the nurse said. My husband raced to the hospital to be with me. A few hours later, the heart surgeon came out to tell us that the catheter which was inserted into her heart to keep it hydrated had slipped out. My little 12-pound baby now had four extra pounds of fluid putting pressure on her heart and lungs. As a result of the hospital’s mistake, they had to perform CPR. The CPR damaged Charlee’s heart, requiring a second heart surgery, and eventually a third and damaged her lungs permanently.

In the following three weeks, she underwent two additional heart surgeries. Two months later, a complication from an infection required an emergency abdominal surgery. Between the time of her heart surgery and abdominal surgery, Charlee developed at least seven infections. Three different infections were caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae, another was from Serratia marcescens. She also suffered a urinary tract infection, and a yeast infection. Finally, she developed colitis, as the result of a C. diff. infection. We later learned that several babies in her unit also had Klebsiella and C. diff. infections.

The infections severely damaged her colon, which ruptured during a colonoscopy. Half of her colon and part of her small intestines were removed. She did not get enough oxygen during an abdominal surgery, even though she was intubated as a precaution. We learned a few days later that she was in a vegetative state as a result of the lack of oxygen. After the ventilator was turned off, she passed within just a couple of minutes.

We never will understand how this could happen. Our daughter was on her way home several times. At one point when she was doing so well, the hospital moved her to the bed furthest from the nurses’ station. The nurses had me bring her car-seat in and they took her for walks down the hall.

But the infections kept her from coming home, time and time again. The nurses and doctors would say that my daughter’s "immune system” was to blame, until I reminded them that she did not get sick once in the 4 1/2 months we had her at home. I have two boys in the home and pets. We live a normal life and were able to prevent illness. The hospital will take credit for lives saved. Why won’t they take responsibility for lives lost?


Daughter's Surgery Ended in Medication Overdose and Death

Daughter's Surgery Ended in Medication Overdose and Death

My 12 year old daughter, Leah, had an epidural for pain relief following surgery. It was approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch in the wrong place. The staff then removed her pulse oximeter after 24 hours while continuing to increase the narcotics: the hospital was "testing" a new computer program. Pediatric dosages had not yet been programmed in. Most staff was not trained in using this system. She died 30 hours after surgery from many errors, and eventually an overdose.  The pediatric resident gave her 2 mg of Ativan 20 hours post op. She weighed 77lbs, and was on heavy narcotics.
 
Leah died on December 15, 2002.This has destroyed my family and torn my marriage apart. I was with my daughter when she died. I will always feel that there was something I could have done to prevent this. As much as I know intellectually it was the errors of the hospital, since they never came forward with an apology or admission of responsibility, I carry that.


Hospital and Surgeon Ignored My Daughter's Latex Allergy

Hospital and Surgeon Ignored My Daughter's Latex Allergy

My family experienced a surgical error in 2007.  We filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Health over this incident. In the single issue of exposing an IgE latex allergic patient to a medical device containing latex, it should have been very easy for DPH to find that the surgeon and hospital provided our daughter with negligent care. The device was clearly labeled as containing latex, the hospital and surgeon identified our daughter, Kelly, as a latex allergic patient before surgery, standard of care at the hospital was the strict avoidance of all latex products in an surgical/medical procedure for an identified latex allergic patient, and the Informed Consent for this procedure does not give the hospital or surgeon permission to treat our daughter with a medical device containing latex. DPH attempted to whitewash this preventable medical error since the pediatric medical center where this incident occurred is the home of a university residency program.

DPH allowed an "impartial" surgery consultant (reviewing the case for evidence of negligent or sub-standard care) to change the FDA approved latex warning on the device--negating latex as a cause of our daughter's acute post-op reaction. Although the FDA and device manufacturer claim that the 9 foot long tube contained latex and was capable of causing a life-threatening reaction in any identified IgE latex allergic patient, the DPH consultant determined (without running any scientific tests) that the latex in the device used in our daughter's surgery was specially coated making it less allergenic--DPH then decided that our daughter's acute post surgical reaction was due to her disabilities, complex medical condition, or other allergies, but not the latex in the device. The surgery consultant even diagnosed our daughter with a neurological disorder that we didn't know she had (and neither did her neurologists). DPH tried to dismiss the complaint against the surgeon and hospital in April 2008.

Our daughter's allergists were outraged. Since they felt DPH was setting a precedent that endangered the lives of all patients with life threatening food, drug, and environmental allergies, they helped us file a challenge to DPH's dismissal of the complaint against the surgeon and hospital. Our daughter's allergists believed that DPH was violating our daughter's civil rights (by applying a different standard of care to her surgery than they would to any "normal" IgE Latex allergic patient, and they believed that DPH violated federal law--only the FDA can alter safety determinations (including latex determinations) on an approved device. DPH ended up reopening the case against the surgeon, and it currently sits in the legal office while DPH tries to figure out a way to close the case without taking any action against the surgeon. In our daughter's case there was no barrier between the regulators and regulated.

Our daughter's complaint was filed with DPH on July 24, 2007--one week after surgery. My husband and I had to file the complaint with DPH in order to force the hospital to reveal the error and tell us why our daughter was having an acute post op reaction. Even though there was an open (valid) negligent care complaint against the surgeon and hospital, in September 2007, the DPH Commissioner and DPH worked very closely with my daughter's surgeon and the hospital on a teen safe driving program. In November 2007 the Governor formed a Task Force to look into ways to reduce teen deaths due to motor vehicle accidents--she appointed the Commissioner of the Department of Public health a Co-Chair and our daughter's surgeon to the Task Force; and the only hospital to sponsor the Task Force was the hospital where our daughter's medical error occurred.

Although our state laws call for hospitals to report any incident that qualifies as a National Quality Forum “never event”, the hospital did not report this error as a preventable adverse event and DPH did not fine the hospital for their failure to report this incident. DPH entered into a secret agreement with the hospital and only asked the hospital to write a corrective action plan--the public was never informed of this serious 14 day breakdown in the hospital's patient safety and quality system. The surgeon billed our insurer for part of the operation. We do not know if the hospital billed our health care insurer. We have not seen a bill but in December 2007 we received a "retroactive" certification from our health insurer Blue Cross of California. The only reason we received this document is that the local Blue Cross (Anthem) refused to deal with the hospital's request for a retroactive certification and under California law we must be notified of any unusual requests from a hospital. According to Blue Cross the hospital asked our health insurer to retroactively certify this incident as the surgical placement of a jejunal feeding tube and a 21-day hospitalization due to an acute level (anaphylactic/life threatening) post-op allergic reaction--they did not report it to our insurer as a medical error.

Update:
Although Kelly has a neurological disorder and is unable to talk, she is aware and like many teenagers loves to watch TV/movies, shopping for pretty clothes, and boys. 
 
We are currently working with our state Senator to change the way Connecticut handles medical error complaints filed by patients, and address the issue of correcting inaccurate or incomplete  information in a patient's medical records (especially from a medical error). 
 
Currently in Connecticut (and many other states) it is almost impossible to correct information in the patient's medical records if the hospital refuses. In Kelly's case much of the information in her records from this incident is incomplete or inaccurate--and this has caused problems for the physicians in Boston who are trying to help us.  There is a discrepancy between what we and Kelly's pediatrician feel are her major problems after the July 2007 surgery and what the surgeon/hospital (where the error occurred) say is the problem.  Kelly's pediatrician, my husband, and I feel her feeding problems after the July 2007 jejunal surgery were caused by damage to her intestines from the use of a Baker Tube (suctioning hose) containing latex; while the surgeon and hospital (where this incident occurred) claim that Kelly's post-op problems are due to her underlying condition or her disabilities.
 
It took us a year and a half to convince a surgeon (at Boston pediatric center) that Kelly's feeding problems were due to the July 2007 surgery site. When the Boston surgeon finally operated on Kelly this past April (2009), he was embarrassed by what he found.  Not only had the latex and the overly large tube caused scarring at the July 2007 surgery site; when hospital personnel (at the center where the error occurred) removed the jejunal tube from Kelly's jejunum, they simply pulled it out, leaving Kelly with a gaping wound in her intestines/abdominal wall and an excessive number of non-absorbable stitches in her intestines.   The Boston surgeon explained that non-absorbable stitches do cause small bowel obstruction (or pseudo-obstructions if they are not detected in radiology studies)--the stitches affect the ability of the intestinal muscles to move properly (peristalsis) and the ability of the intestine to stretch and move food.  Apparently the hospital where this incident occurred, should have removed jejunal feeding tube surgically and removed the multiple sutures--or at least noted in Kelly's record that they were leaving a number of "foreign bodies" in Kelly's intestine (sutures are considered foreign bodies and they can cause a number of problems when left behind such as inflammation, intestinal irritation, or small bowel obstructions).


Second Hip Replacement Resulted in Limp and More Surgeries

The surgeon in California, who originally did a hip replacement on my right hip, used a laser to assure that both my legs were the same length. When the liner broke (13 years later), the orthopedic surgeon replaced the ball with a larger ball. This resulted in my right leg (where hip replacement was) being longer than left leg. I now limp because the left leg is approximately 3/4" shorter.  When he noticed that the length difference was causing limping, the surgeon responded that: "That won't bother anything." He never suggested having a lift made for my left shoe. As a result, slight scoliosis in my lower spine developed, and my L3, L4, and L5 disks were herniated on the left side as well. A discectomy and laminectomy were then necessary in 2008 (by a different surgeon in a different city).


Hospital didn't inform patient about sedative drug

Hospital didn't inform patient about  sedative drug

I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I arrived at the hospital alert but with a dislocated hip and a fractured ankle. At the time of treatment I was told they needed x-rays and I would be getting something for pain. I asked the nurse what I was receiving she said morphine. So I consented. What I did not know was that I was given Versed (a sedative) without my consent or knowledge. She omitted the information about the Versed. I was medicated twice with this medication which causes amnesia. I was under the influence of this medication for 11 hours. When I woke up I was confused and scared and hospital personnel refused to tell me what I had received. They would only say that it was normal to not remember. I said not for me. I fought the system to get my medical record. I was amazed to find out through research that the drug I had been given has some pretty serious side effects including death. I was also surprised to find out that I had stopped breathing and required hospital staff to breathe for me. I have written letters and made request to the hospital to discuss why they gave me this drug but I get no response. They lied to the health department and said I did consent to treatment. Even with my efforts I have never once received an apology from anyone who treated me. I have PTSD, depression, anxiety, and insomnia as a result of this incident and as I recently found out is also a problem with the drug Versed. I almost failed grad school and my level of functioning has greatly diminished. All of this for treatment of a fracture. Further, on that day the staff did not treat a laceration on my elbow. They removed the bandage that the EMT provided in the ambulance but did nothing else. My family said it was left open and gaping the entire day. They never even cleaned it or redressed it. Later the elbow became infected and took three months to recover with treatment of four antibiotics. The hospital also violated HIPPA law by speaking with family members that were not designated to decide my care. One more thing, my son who was six at the time arrived at the hospital with me he had a laceration on his arm and by sedating me made it impossible for me to be involved with my son's care thereby terminating my parental rights.


Recieved the Wrong Surgical Implant

Recieved the Wrong Surgical Implant

In 2000, I went into a surgery for my TMJ Joint. If needed, I agreed to a homograft (tissue or organ transplanted from a donor of the same species but different genetic makeup), but I only agreed to this. A silastic (flexible, inert silicone elastomer) implant was what the doctor put inside my head, after he removed the entire front portion of my right ear to get to the joint by open arthroscopy (a surgical procedure orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint). In short, the wrong implant was put into my body. Less than 5 months later it had to be removed, and 5 years after this I would discover the entire joint condylar head was cut off!

 

I have pain, daily, and the medical records were withheld by both the dentist and the doctor. I found out later that the surgeon did not have regular privileges at any hospital, and I believe he only had authorization to do my surgery due to the nerve specialist he used! We cannot assure this, but if I can I will file suit! Was that homograft the implant I signed for in that room, and was it defrosted like he explained to us (me and my hubby)? I feel it was not even available. That homograft is all I agreed to: why does the insurance company refuse to say why he wasn’t paid for over a year and refuse to say why there was such a discrepancy? And the silastic implant was also black label by FDA the year before! Insurance denied the implant’s removal! And more!


Wife passes in hospital after untreated hypoglycemic episode

Wife passes in hospital after untreated hypoglycemic episode

In 2003, my wife, Lisa, age 42, an insulin-dependent diabetic, collapsed into a coma while in a hospital. At the time she was discovered she had no pulse and was not breathing and her blood glucose level was almost non-existent at 2mg/dL. Records finally extracted from the hospital showed that Lisa had had an episode of low blood glucose three hours earlier but that nurses had ignored both the hospital's own printed protocol for treating hypoglycemia and a doctor's written order to follow the protocol if Lisa became hypoglycemic. A lawsuit was filed. Four years later the defense found a doctor who stated in an affidavit that ignoring the protocol and the doctor's order to use the protocol was not a deviation from the standard of care. The judge dismissed the case on the defendants' motion for summary judgment without a trial. What happened to Lisa is now a "never event,' meaning that the insurer would not have paid the hospital for treatment caused by the hypoglycemia. As it was, the hospital received $74,000 for treating Lisa in the ICU from the time of her collapse until she died three weeks later.


Health problems persist after healthcare-acquired infections

Health problems persist after healthcare-acquired infections

In June of 2000 I went to a Gastroenterologist because I had an attack of diverticulitis. This doctor’s way of diagnosing was to press down on the area and if the patient showed extreme pain then the patient had the disease. That’s why I had to have a colon resection. I received no antibiotics. Through the first half of 2001 I had to return to an outpatient clinic because of an infection in the wound site. The doctor kept pulling out sutures. In June of 2001 I developed a hernia due to my infection which was never cultured. The hernia was so massive that they had to use my abdominal muscles to anchor mesh. The hernia was operated on in spring of 2003. I still was having major abdominal problems and developed infectious ulcerative colitis. In 2004 I had to get an ileostomy where doctors removed my colon and I now have to wear an ostomy bag. During surgery, two walled off abscesses were found. No cultures were run but I insisted on having antibiotics.The antibiotics were not effective. Three to four months later my gall bladder burst. . I nearly died. When cultures were taken I was diagnosed with MRSA. Throughout the summer I was hospitalized with abscesses again and treated continually with antibiotics. In October of 2006 I had not been feeling well and on a trip an abscess burst. I had to be treated at the wound care clinic. I developed a fistula due to the abscess bursting through my skin. At the wound care clinic I became infected with Pseudomonas in addition to MRSA. I now do my own wound care at home. I will never be cured because the infection is in the mesh which was used to close the abdominal hernia. The mesh cannot be removed because the area it is covering is so large; therefore, more surgery is not an option. I have been told by two surgeons that I probably would not survive. The latest infection that was cultured is Acinetobacter, which is also health care-acquired.

We need to clean up our hospitals. Hospitals should not keep these infections a big secret.


Lucille M. Burns of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Lucille M. Burns of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Our mother, Lucille M. Burns, was admitted to a Pennsylvania hospital on October 31, 2007 due to a fall. She was initially misdiagnosed by the ER doctor with a broken hip and treated with morphine. Later the same day, upon review with her orthopedic surgeon, the diagnosis was changed to a “hip contusion”, with no evidence of a fracture.

She was in the hospital recovering from her fall and receiving physical therapy at the same hospital. She was doing well and fulfilling all of her physical therapy requirements and was given a discharge date of November 30, 2007.

On November 22, 2007 she was rushed to the ER of a Pennsylvania hospital where she was diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection caused by Clostridium Difficile. She had been exhibiting symptoms of this infection for several days prior, which was left untreated. Her symptoms included persistent diarrhea, a high fever and abnormally high white blood cell count. After being diagnosed with this infection it was suggested that she undergo emergency surgery to remove the “infected and diseased” parts of her colon. It was explained to us that it was her only chance of survival. She underwent surgery the next morning. Unfortunately, the surgery was not successful in controlling the spread of the infection, as that it had infected other parts of her body. Sadly, she died from this infection the early morning of November 24, 2007.

Later it was made known to us by her Primary Physician that another patient was hospitalized, diagnosed and died with the same deadly infection at the same hospital. This patient was hospitalized during the same time frame as my mother. The doctor said that my mother was definitely introduced to this “deadly bacteria” during her stay at the hospital and that they planned on doing their own investigation as to the circumstances of my Mother’s death. He said that I could contact him about a month following to hear of the results. I contacted him a month later as planned. During my conversation with him, he told me that the woman that had died prior to my Mom was on the same floor as my Mother, the sixth floor, and that the hospital had changed their infection control practices.

Our family believes that the hospital was negligent in providing adequate infection control practices, considering it just had had a recent death with a deadly contagious bacterial infection. Also, since the same hospital had just experienced a death from this infection, what infection control practices did they put into place to protect the rest of the patients, visitors and staff of the hospital? Also, since the other patient had just died recently from the same thing, the medical personnel should have recognized the symptoms sooner and thus reacted sooner to my Mother’s symptoms, which could have resulted in my Mother’s life being saved. We believe that the hospital is responsible for not controlling the spread of a deadly infection and in not recognizing and treating the symptoms sooner.

Written by Patricia Burns of Albuquerque, NM, daughter of Lucille.


M.N. of Louisiana

M.N. of Louisiana

In May of 2006, I went in to the hospital for a routine abdominal total hysterectomy. I had two previous C-sections, so my physician used the same incision site. After 4 days at home, I noticed a hard lump under the surgery site. I had a low fever, but nothing remarkable, and no pain. On day 7 (post surgery), I returned to the same hospital's E.R.(due to higher fever and abnormal looking lump under wound site) and waited 6 hours for a room. An ultrasound revealed a mass of some type under the incision. On the third day of this stay, and treatment with Vancomycin, another obstetrician (OB) did a needle biopsy which clearly showed puss and infection. I was released that day. Neither I nor my primary OB received any information about these test results. On day 12 (post surgery), I had an appointment with my primary OB. Upon hearing of the tests for the first time, he remained on hold with the hospital until he could get the results. ONLY AT THIS TIME, were we told of my MRSA infection, which was also resistant to Vancomycin. I was immediately admitted to another hospital (of my choice), and at 1am the next morning had an 8" X 4" X 2" section of my abdomen removed due to infection. The wound would remain open to heal from the inside out. After a ten day stay, with I.V. treatment with Zyvox, I was released with a Vacuum pump for 2 1/2 months, and home health. This infection was acquired in the hospital, during the initial surgery, and enclosed in the wound. Had my OB not requested the follow-up test results, and remained on the phone to receive the information, we would have never known in time. Yes, it could have been fatal. As it is, I am perfectly healed, with a very, very large scar. I am lucky, and I know that. I share my story, so that others will be aware. I reported the hospital to the Joint Commission, so that they will be aware. I will not let this go unanswered.


Mark Bennett of Maryland

Mark Bennett of Maryland Mark Bennett was a vibrant and independent 88 year-old World War II combat vet when he entered the hospital in February 2004 with a virus. Hospital personnel passed to him at least six different bacteria including fecal bacteria found in his sputum, multi-drug resistant strains throughout his body and a "flesh eating" bacteria that took his leg. His kidneys were destroyed, his trachea collapsed, his heart was damaged and his blood was poisoned. He went undiagnosed for days, was left untreated and received wrong medications. Despite daily visits to the hospital, his family was never informed of his conditions. After four months and having been moved through five different hospitals, Mark Bennett died.


Caught pneumonia after bladder surgery

In November of 1995 my father went into the hospital for surgery on his bladder. Because someone carelessly didn't wash properly between patients in intensive care, my father got an antibiotic resistant pneumonia which killed him in the hospital just two months before the birth of my first child, his first grandchild. My father helped my mother care for my brother who has Down Syndrome. My mother was then left to care for him alone until she passed away.


Experience Serious Side Effects from Sedative Medication

Experience Serious Side Effects from Sedative Medication

The surgeon was not prepared for my sedative needs, did not listen to my request of what to give me, and because I was holding up the Endoscopic Unit, he called for an anesthesiologist I had never met. He never asked a single question, nor did he check out my charts. He simply injected me with Propofol, without the Lidocaine to ease the pain. I was in hell, and then out for a quick intubation. As a heart patient with all the symptoms from that, I should not have had Propofol. I woke up coughing my guts and lungs up as they extubated me. I was on the other side of the hospital in the main recovery area. Neither doctor came to tell me what happened and what might happen later.

I had severe pain in the kidney area, screaming back spasms, and leg spasms that were so bad I had difficulty walking. I was emotionally wrecked and considered suicide before I called my family doctor. I was not able to see her until the following week. She contacted the doctor about my reaction. When I saw him, I had not yet researched the side effects of the sedative drugs, Versed and Propofol. He did ask me not to notify the FDA about the problems with the drugs. I have been on a mission to educate the public since that time.  Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZzjH04ye48

The hospital experience in the Rio Grande Valley was a horrendous ordeal. From the moment I walked into the hospital nothing went right. I wasn't asked at the desk for my Physician Directive, the nurses didn't have correct information from the people at the gastroenterology office where I had been evaluated three weeks earlier, my nurse could not find a vein, and I was told that I would be given the very drug with which I had experienced severe hallucinations during an angiogram procedure. I reminded them of the error, and they proceeded to call the anesthesiologist. I did sign a consent form for the colonoscopy procedure, but I certainly did not sign for a horrific drug of which I had no knowledge. I was then pushed into the operating room only to hear someone say that someone was already in the room and there was only room for one at a time. They then rolled me into a side room where another nurse was able to find a vein but got blood all over my arm, gown and bed. I was nervous as hell by this time.

By the time I got into the operating room, I was introduced to the techs, the student observer, the nurse, and the anesthesiologist as he hurried into the room. He asked if the nurse had a certain size needle and an intubation kit. She had the needle, but asked why she would need an intubation kit for a colonoscopy. He told her that any time an anesthesiologist was present that an intubation kit was needed. That's when I reminded everyone that I was a heart patient and that I would rather have the Versed with the hallucinations than something totally strange. I was ignored. The surgeon looked scared but told me that the prep was the worse part of the colonoscopy procedure. He was wrong. What has followed has been the worse part of it.

The procedure was almost twice as long as my husband's procedure. I felt like a lab rat. The loss of trust in doctors, the muscles spasms, the emotional stress, the going from a fast moving 65 year old to one that struggles to walk due to the damage done to my cartilage and bones has been far worse. Now what bothers me most is that I am not rich enough for the doctors to care what happened to me. There are no apologies or admittance of wrong doing. This hospital is owned by doctors and very powerful political figures who have the money to always be a step ahead in positive advertising in order to ward off any bad publicity, which by the way has to come from outside the Valley. I cannot get anyone to cover what has happened. I lived to be able to tell my story and to fight for the rights of other patients who have been harmed or killed in the circle of reckless endangerment by a group who takes an oath to first do no harm. I woke up to the reality that it is all about the money at this hospital. I am actively asking people to not choose this hospital grouping for their care or for the care of anyone they love. It is too big a risk and too dangerous. Because of signs on my car, on my husband's car, and on my back fence others have contacted me with their stories. Infections are rampant in the hospital, mistakes are made by doctors, nurses and staff, and deaths are occurring at an alarming rate. Just because it is the newest and prettiest in the area does not make it the best. I certainly will never be a patient there again.


Daughter suffers medical error and hospital infections her whole life

Daughter suffers medical error and hospital infections her whole life

Over the course of Meredith’s medical treatment for RDS (respiratory distress syndrome) and BPD (bronco pulmonary dysplasia), she suffered a range of medical errors, medication errors and hospital viruses and infections over ten years. Meredith had a trachea tube inserted the first year of her life and remained on O2 and in a wheelchair with severe CP until the end of her life. She also had a shunt implanted in her brain early in life that caused several problems for her health. According to her mother Debra, “Meredith was a fighter and determined to live! She also LOVED her life here in-spite of her handicaps.” In 2004, Meredith entered the hospital for a shunt repair that led to renal failure. After doctors induced a coma, which compromised her respiratory system, Meredith then contracted MRSA that was treated with antibiotics but her kidneys were so bad at that point, the antibiotics did more harm than good. At age 10, she passed away in her mother’s arms.

Read Meredith’s full story here, written by her mother, Debra Williams.


ER Doctor Missed Two DVTs and Five Pulmonary Embolisms

In January 2007, I went to the ER due to severe pain in right leg calf along with chest pain and shortness of breath. Due to having gall bladder surgery the previous week, and having a hereditary blood clotting disorder, I was concerned that I had a blood clot in my leg. I had never experienced that type of chest pain and shortness of breath before, so I was equally concerned about this also. After arriving at the ER, I informed triage and the attending physician of my symptoms. After ordering an ultrasound on my leg and a chest x-ray, the ER doctor informed me that I had superficial thrombophlebitis (occurs when a blood clot causes swelling in one or more of your veins) in my leg and that my chest x-ray was negative. He also informed that I would need to go back on blood thinner and follow-up with my PCP (Primary Care Provider) within three days. I followed his instructions and within three days I visited my PCP for a follow-up. My PCP informed me that Heparin has no therapeutic benefit for superficial clots and we both decided that I would discontinue it.

After a few weeks, as my health continued to deteriorate, I was referred to a vascular specialist. It was at this vascular consult that it was discovered that the ER doctor had read the test results wrong and allowed me to walk out of the hospital with two DVTs (Deep venous thrombosis, a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein that is deep inside the body). By the time I was hospitalized, another two weeks after this discovery, I ended up having multiple DVTs, and one in an artery. It was also discovered that I had at least five pulmonary embolisms (a condition that occurs when an artery in your lung becomes blocked). I knew how gravely ill I was when the priest came to my room and asked me if I would like my last rights read. It was not until I requested my medical records, due to a fight with the long-term disability insurance company, that I discovered the full details of the medical negligence that occurred. The last two years have been such a struggle due to the negligence of just one doctor. I now have permanent damage in the veins of my leg, along with heart and lung damage.


Toe Surgery Gone Wrong

At an ambulatory center I had surgery from a podiatrist/surgeon on the right big toe—because of arthritis, it turns out. She crippled me; because the surgery was not successful, she did a redo resulting in the partial amputation of the large toe, making it about one and a half inches shorter than it was before the first of 2 surgeries. During the second operation I woke up and could feel that I was being stitched up, and I cried out. I was then given more medication to keep me sedated until she was finished, ruining my foot and causing me to have a reduced quality of life for the last 9 years.

 The toe still gave me terrible pain, and so I went to an orthopedic surgeon who found a nerve floating around in my toe. I needed another surgery (a 3rd one) and he finally got me able to walk. But I still am in pain and cannot walk very far or for very long.  

 Well, I feel that I was crippled by the error and my life has never been the same. I am in pain most of the time, cannot take a stroll, and cannot drive for more than a 1/2 hour because my foot hurts. My life has been changed for the worse by this awful situation.


This staph infection literally changed my life

This staph infection literally changed my life

Written by Pam Pires of San Jose, CA. In July of 2007 I went into a hospital in San Jose, California to have back surgery and I was sent home with a staph infection within the incision site that almost cost me my life. I am so frustrated and angered that all this pain and suffering I've endured and continue to is because of a lack of sterilization within the hospital. I had to have two other back surgeries to remove diseased tissue and have drainage tubes put in my back to help remove the staph infection. I spent a week in critical care and a total of a month in the hospital. I had a picc line inserted in my arm so that I could have home health care and learned to administer 5 IV antibiotic infusions a day to myself....over 7 months later I was still on oral antibiotics! My original neurosurgeon could not and would not admit that I could possibly have a staph infection upon my return to the emergency room with an extremely high fever, shakes, severe pain, and disorientation. He literally put me through a gamit of tests for almost 48 hours. Finally, my infectious disease doctor finally operated and confirmed I definitely had a staph infection "within" the operative site of the back surgery.

I was still not getting better and even sent home to yet return to the ER with a abcess coming out my back and with another MRI confirming that both my L4 & L5 vertebrae were now engulfed with the staph infection and I developed osteomyelitits (bone infection). Again, another debridement surgery and drainage tubes inserted...this time by a new neurosurgeon with wonderful bedside manners and very caring. I wore a back brace to keep the vertebrae from shifting so my body could fuse the vertebrae together to save me from another back surgery. I had to have blood work done every 4-6 weeks and MRIs and CAT scans every 3 months for a year and then every 6 months to make sure my spine was healing and that the staph infection did not flare up. This staph infection literally changed my life. Those that have suffered from one or watched a love one do so can understand how it impacts a person not only physically but mentally, emotionally and financially.

It is disgusting how the hospital offered me the opportunity (they came to my hospital bedside) to have their risk management department review my case and discuss a mediation with them. They stated I was to not discuss this with anyone (legal council etc.) and scheduled a teleconference with me just to slap me in the face! They told me after their investigation that since it is protocol for all surgeons to discuss the benefits as well as the risks of surgery with one risk being a "staph infection" (I was never told about a staph infection!) and I signed the hospital consent form (a form you have to sign in order to receive care), they feel I was informed and therefore it was a "chance" I took! What? A chance? No one should ever have to go into the hospital for help and leave with something that is caused from improper sterilization procedures. The hospitals need to be held responsible for what these infections do to a person. We all need to get vocal, go public, get together and speak about this to everyone so we can make changes now.  


Almost left hospital with untreated, severe spinal infection

Almost left hospital with untreated, severe spinal infection

After back surgery, I still had severe pain that was thought to be pressure on the nerves from the surgical scar tissue. I was given a Racz catheter treatment at a local hospital as outpatient surgery in an attempt break up scar tissue and relieve the pressure on the nerve. Needles with a fluid are inserted numerous times to the scar tissue site.

The pain did not go away but got worse. As my wife and I were leaving the diagnostic center, the radiologist came running up to the car to stop us. The MRI showed a severe spinal infection that they said untreated would put me permanently in a wheelchair. It took six weeks of Vancomycin infusion twice a day from a baseball sized container to stem the infection that was cultured and identified as coming from the skin surface.

It was never admitted but tacitly implied by the doctor treating me that the spinal infection likely came from improper sterilization of my skin prior to the Racz catheter procedure.


Angiography Error Resulted in Hemiplegia

Angiography Error Resulted in Hemiplegia

In 1992, an intern just out of med school was allowed to perform angiography on my wife. He got the catheter tangled in the aortic arch, and failed to realize a "redundancy" was preventing the tip from advancing along the internal carotid. When he tried to correct the redundancy, the tip of the guide wire sprang forward causing a dissected carotid artery. This allowed blood to enter the inner wall of the artery. A clot from this sac later broke loose and lodged in a penetrating artery branching from the middle cerebral artery leading to right side hemiplegia. We spoke to the media many times during the years following the error, including a Senate Committee in 1999 chaired by Arlen Specter.


Suffering long after surgery

While recuperating from kidney surgery I was "dropped off" while sleeping in my room from recovery. I woke in the morning without being able to call the nurse, not being able to adjust my bed, and I had no IV or pain medication. Even with repeated calls from my roommate the nurses never came in. My surgeon came in at 10 AM after I had been in pain since 5 AM. When I asked him for pain medication he saw I had none and stormed out. A nurse appeared two hours later to set up my IV.

That night the alarm on a "pump" that controlled a syringe full of pain medication kept shutting down and the alarm kept going off. Instead of the nurse ordering a new pump she looked me over, said "You look like you can handle it" and proceeded to inject me with the entire contents of the syringe which was about eight hours worth of pain medication. I passed out and slept until morning and then had hallucinations for the rest of that day and the following night and day. I found out later my heart rate had dropped to under 50 beats per minute during the night I first received the overdose. I complained about it after I was myself again but got no response from anyone.

During the same stay I stopped the nurses from giving me someone else’s medication on one occasion and stopped them from giving me a second dose of my blood pressure medication after already receiving it an hour earlier on two different occasions. One other time the nurses tried to give me a 100 mg tablet of my blood pressure medication instead of a 50 mg tablet. Because my heart rate was already low as was my blood pressure, any of these mistakes I stopped could have resulted in severe consequences for me.

A year earlier I had a major heart attack and these errors had the potential to kill me. I later complained about all these occurrences to my surgeon at his office and again got no response or follow-up from him or the hospital.

I never expected I would still have discomfort and a big bulge on my side from the surgery. I wasn't told the possible consequences of the surgery, just that I had to have it . At this time I have also developed hypolymphodemia and type 2 diabetes. I don't know if they are surgery related or not. I do know after the surgery I had what my doctor described as a huge hematoma (mass of blood) where the surgery took place (my left side between the pancreas and diaphram).  The doctor also commented many times on the large bulgeon my left side which my surgeon claims is because of the nerves that were cut durring the surgery.


I don't get clear answers as to whether or not the  hypolymphodemia or the diabetes are related to the surgery from either my GP or the surgeon.  I am currently not working because of the hypolymphodemia and stress and am being treated for both, as well as being monitored for kidney and function because of the medications I am on.


Walking with limp and cane after hip surgery

Walking with limp and cane after hip surgery

I had a left hip surgery in 2007 and the doctor used a round silver ball and taped it to my left leg to measure the length of the bone in the x-ray room. I thought this would be good and to make my left leg the length of my right leg that I had 3 previous hip surgeries. Well, my left leg is 1" shorter than my right and now I still walk with a limp and use a cane.

I am uneven and I really want to do yard work safely. But I need help at times with other things as I cannot do many things with both hips being replaced. Now I am 5' instead of 5'2" as my left leg is 1" shorter than my right and my right became shorter due to three hip displacements within ten years. One hip is to last ten years.

I do not have mega bucks to pay anyone to help me in my house. The doctor really could not explain that my left leg would be shorter. I thought my left leg would be same length as my right hip after my left hip surgery.


Roland Martin of Texas

I had open heart surgery in 2000 and got MRSA during the operation. Doctors went back in and removed my sternum. I was on Vancomycin for six weeks and was very ill. They went back and did two more surgeries; scraping my rib cage, another round of six weeks on antibiotics and put me on Cipro to treat the infection. The MRSA came back on me in 2007 and 2008 with an abscess on my chest right beside the scar. The infection doctor said that if the abscess burst inside me instead of outwards that it will kill me. I had a huge hole in my chest for two years. MRSA almost killed me but I was a fighter and I had a great infectious disease doctor, but it was a very bad recovery. Several people I know in this area have gotten MSRA and some have died. I was lucky. I cannot work now because I am disabled, and I think a lot is from having this horrible disease. I will have it in my body now for the rest of my life they tell me.


Sandi Sampson of Boaz, Alabama

When I had ankle replacement surgery in December 2003, I looked forward to finally recovering from a broken ankle bone I injured in my backyard.  Unfortunately, I left the hospital not only with a new ankle, but also a staph infection from my surgery.   In the weeks following the operation, I felt tired and always seemed to run a low grade fever, but I didn’t think much of it.  I was diagnosed with the infection after my cast was removed three months after my surgery, and it became clear during physical therapy that the ankle replacement had failed.   Tests revealed that I had Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a difficult to treat infection.  

As a result, the prosthesis was removed and an antibiotic spacer was installed in its place.  I underwent 12 weeks of vancomycin treatments administered through a PIC line at home.  The infection seemed to improve and I had another ankle replacement surgery done.  But the prosthesis never bonded to the bone and I experienced another outbreak of MRSA.   I was put on vancomycin for another month to treat the infection.  In June 2005, I had another surgery to install a concrete spacer in place of my ankle, but again it failed to adhere to my bone.

My doctor has told me that the MRSA, which is in my bone and blood, will never go away.  It becomes dormant after it is treated, but trauma to my body -- like a spider bite I got in November 2005 -- can cause it to re-emerge.  I underwent another surgery in May 2006 to address my ankle problem. I fought to save my life and leg for four years: 37 surgeries. Finally, the only way to save my life was remove my leg. I had that done in February 2007. I not only lost my leg, but I was still left with $78,000 in co-pays (even with my BCBS insurance), and I had to refinance my home to pay the bills. Since my amputation, I have had two cases of staff related pneumonia. Also, I thought (just as so many others) that you get one artificial leg and you are set.  No: I have had three since my leg was removed, and even with BCBS my part is $2,500.  Also, my doctor wanted me to have a movable foot on my artificial leg: it has a computer chip in it, and once you walk it remembers how you walk and makes the stress less on the other leg.  No go; BCBS will not pay for this foot.  I now have problems with my other leg.

We desperately need to make our hospitals publish their instances of staph. We make food and restaurants publish their score: why not hospitals? Do not get me wrong, I walk now with my artificial leg and work every day; but why should I suffer at this time in my life, at 58, with all the bills (not to mention the cost of an artificial leg)? Why aren’t our hospitals held responsible?


Hysterectomy results in injured colon and more

Hysterectomy results in injured colon and more

In 2002, I had what was supposed to be simple hysterectomy and ended up getting my colon poked with an instrument. They couldn't find the hole and closed me up, and then I got septic and came so close to dying they called my family down to say goodbye to me. I was in a coma for about two weeks and a three-month stay in the hospital.

I was left with brain damage, stage three kidney failure, lung damage, a splenectomy due to E. Coli and staph infection eating my spleen and was not able to sue due to signing a pre-surgery statement saying that they were not responsible for any blood or bacterial infections. Now I am screwed for life and can't do anything about it.


MRSA to Handicapped, incontinent and can hardly walk

In February 2008, I had pain in my right flank area that lasted in the same spot all night. Thinking it could be a kidney stone, I went to the ER the next morning and they checked my urine and did a CT scan. No stone just a UTI, but they saw a shadow on my kidney, so the doctor ordered a MRI. The MRI showed a right kidney tumor which tested positive for cancer. I was sent to specialist to remove the tumor laparoscopically and save most of the kidney. So this is what I did.
 
The following month I went in to a New York hospital and had the surgery. The doctor saved 95% of my kidney with no chemo or radiation needed. They left a kidney stent in to be removed in 4 weeks as it healed. I was released from the hospital in 3 days with no restrictions. I could shower till sterile strips fell off. The doctor told me to go to my local urologist and have the stent removed in 4 weeks and make a follow up appointment to see him after. So I went home and rested. I asked to go visit my daughter in CA for a few days before I went back to work. I was told I could go.

A few weeks after the surgery, the left back of my shoulder was bothering me like I slept wrong on my muscle. I got to CA and in 2 days I got the chills and felt like I was getting the flu. My shoulder/neck was hurting with a temp of 102. Then I was getting worse and couldn’t pick my head off the pillow. My daughter called the ambulance and took me to a hospital in Southern California. They did a spinal tap, testing me for meningitis. It came back negative but I continued to get worse. They admitted me and my blood work showed an infection. Then my neck started to swell on the left side where my shoulder hurt. They wanted to do an MRI, but they were concerned if there was metal in the stent. It took 2 days for the New York doctor to get back to the doctors in CA as I continued to get worse. They finally did and it showed I had an abscess wrapped around my cervical spine at C-3 to C-5. I was rushed into surgery with no choice--it was MRSA and osteomyelitis. They took me to recovery room and I noticed I couldn’t move any of my limbs. They called in a neurosurgeon who took me back into surgery and he did a corpectomy, put a bridge and 4 screws and hoped I would move again. I was put in the ICU on a ventilator to breath. My doctor told my family it was touch and go with the infection in my blood.

About 5-6 days later I improved and got off the ventilator. I was transferred to rehab and had to learn to do everything all over again. At this time I had quadro paralysis and spent 1 1/2 months in rehab until I could be shipped home to another rehab in New York. All the doctors felt the stent was the source of infection. When I came home I continued to work hard on walking. Doctors said I was a miracle. Now, almost 2 years later, I lost my insurance and I’m still paying off 12 doctors and 4 MRIs. I can't afford physical therapy anymore; the co-pay is too much and I need it at least 3 times a week. Now I'm falling again and in constant pain. I have found that being a patient you’re nothing but a number. I was a very healthy active 53-year-old. Now my husband takes care of me 24/7.


Patient has to pay for contracting hospital infection

I had a cyst operation in April, 2008. I was given pre-op antibiotics. In May I started to feel horrible. I got a fever, was throwing up and had chronic diarrhea. I called my sister who is a nurse and she looked up my symptoms and told me she thought I had C-Diff. I had an appointment with the surgeon and told him what was happening. I also told him I thought I had C-Diff.

It was confirmed that I had developed C. Diff. I was put on Flagyl for 10 days. The minute I got off I had the bug again. I am presently on Vancomycin, which I will be on for the rest of my life. In addition when I went to Medicare prescription plan and put in the only pill I was taking- I was told the monthly fee would be $500.00 from the five companies that would provide this. That does not include the co-pay which would probably be $200.00. I am now down to one pill every other day for the rest of my life and I get them from Canada at a cost of $455.00 for 40 pills. Costco sells this for $692.00 for 40 pills.

So you do the math - Medicare drug coverage for $6000.00 a year plus $2400.00 for co pay. It now costs me $2100.00 from Canada to keep me alive.


Respiratory arrest in Kentucky

Following a hysterectomy in a Kentucky hospital, I was taken to my room where the nurse connected the IV. I stopped breathing, turned blue and went into respiratory arrest. The nurse was involved in busy work and did not notice. Fortunately, my mother was in the room and alerted the nurse who replied, "Go, get a nurse!" My mother ran to the nurse's station, but no one was there. She began running up and down the hallway yelling for a nurse to help. A nurse came running from somewhere to the nurses station and put out a "code blue."

When I started resurfacing, I had artificial breathing paraphernalia, and I was surrounded by an emergency team rushing me to an elevator. I passed out and awakened over 24 hours later in the cardiac care unit. I was told that they discovered carbon monoxide in my system, which caused an adverse reaction with the IV medication. I guess it is possible, but since I lived in an all-electric home and the surgery took place in the late spring when no HVAC was in use, I find it highly unlikely. I can think of no situation leading up to the surgery in which I would have encountered carbon monoxide.

Bottom line -- Had it not been for the alertness of my mother, I would be dead. I was charged for the extended stay in the hospital and for the additional treatment in the cardiac care unit, not to mention the mental anguish I now suffer prior to surgical procedures requiring anesthesia.


Cushings disease diagnosis after 30+ doctors and 7 years

Cushings disease diagnosis after 30+ doctors and 7 years

For years I had felt like I had the flu every day. It didn't last long, just a few hours each evening. It started to get worse and I started to look for an answer. I also started gaining weight, even when controlling diet and exercise. The doctors did a few tests and found a tumor on my adrenal gland. They treated me for stress. I got worse on their treatment. When I started getting worse, it seemed like they just started using different medication and diagnosing me with various names. In truth, they weren’t looking past the weight gain or the fictitious stress they believed I had. They all had it in their mind what it was and would not listen.

After a new MRI of my adrenal glands, they decided to take the tumor out of my adrenal gland. It had grown a bit larger. That was a sign that it was probably cancer, or so we were told. The first surgeon told us he wouldn’t take it out and wanted me to be re-diagnosed. He wasn’t comfortable with the situation. By this time, I was getting frustrated with doctors. I self referred myself to a Cleveland hospital. During my appointment with the surgeon, they said it most certainly needed removed. It appeared to be bigger to them than what the MRI was showing. They did some urine testing that showed positive for Cushing's disease. They canceled my surgery and did another test, once again showing positive for Cushing's. The doctors told me I couldn't have Cushing's, it was too rare. I got a second opinion and that doctor laughed at me. I got a third opinion over the phone with a doctor on the west coast. He told us I needed to be on a plane that week to get to him. We left the kids with relatives and flew out to the west coast (I live in Ohio). I tested positive for Cushing's many times that week, but still no help. It would take another 18 months of testing and 10+ doctors to get a diagnosis.

We would eventually fly back to the west coast to the same doctor again. Once again I tested positive, but no official diagnosis was coming. We tried every doctor in Ohio we could find that knew something about Cushing’s. What we found was a lot of doctors who would not accept my 5 inch file of lab results, doctor notes, and imaging. Most of the time, we were told Cushing’s was too rare and laughed at by the medical staff, after proper payment. Finally we traveled to LA and saw the top doctor in the Cushing’s field. Within a few months, I was diagnosed and on the way to brain surgery. To get that diagnosis would take two surgical tests performed at university hospitals in two states.

I traveled to a cancer treatment hospital to have a brain tumor removed from my pituitary. I was in remission a few months and ended up having both adrenal glands removed over a year later. The brain tumor could not be completely removed. The loss of the adrenal glands was an extreme way to cure me from Cushing's disease. It would take over 7 years and 30+ doctors to get cured. My body is damaged along with parts of the brain. I lost bone and muscle mass. I can't walk well. I get infections because of no immune system. Some, or most of all that, will heal. I will not however be 100% of what I was. I will never regain those seven years of lost time and wages.


Multiple sclerosis patient given wrong medication

Multiple sclerosis patient given wrong medication

I'm a 'human rights-disabled rights advocate since 1962.The importance of peoples learning to advocate on behalf of themselves, or loved ones is imperative in this day and age. I also sit on the San Francisco Mayors Disability Council. I thought I knew about physicians, hospitals, clinics, but was sorely deceived. My main diagnosis was multiple sclerosis, sensory peripheral neuropathy, acid reflux, nothing more other than disc cervical issues. For well over a year's time I complained to my then physician of terrible burning pain head to toe. The pain was beyond words. For a time I was given morphine patches. I also was dealing with bronchial issues and given medication. Between all my issues and symptoms, the wrong medication was given.

My daughter phoned my physician non-stop in the days before I finally went to the emergency, but no call back or care was offered. The evening before I went in my daughter called telling the call-in physician that I was in terrible shape, please respond. The call-in nurse told her to give me some aspirin and if I did not feel well come in the morning to emergency. Next morning I went in to the nurse on call. She took one look at me in alarm, took some tests and called the head physician who was also the nephrologist/physician over to the department and my prior physician's boss. I went in to see him. He told me I needed to report to the emergency room right away. My husband accompanied me and the next thing I was unconscious. I awoke in a sterile white room, all windows closed, hooked up to a machine. They told me I had a heart attack and I had lost all functioning of my kidneys. I went on dialysis for the next three and a half years. To date I am still on dialysis, but at another hospital. It was the worst experience of physicians/head nurse/manager I have ever had the experience of knowing or going through. It was a nightmare to say the least.

 


Given Three Times The Correct Dosage Of Medication

I received the wrong dosage of Lupron Depot after my shot was sent to the wrong doctor’s office. The nurse said they had an extra one on-site and gave me that one instead. I asked her if it was the 3.75 dose before she gave it to me, and she said yes. After the nurse gave me the shot, she realized it was the wrong dose and was actually the 11.25 shot (three times the dose). I have been sick with the side effects for over a month due to her carelessness. I am supposed to have surgery in a few months but am now considering another doctor: because of the mistake I'm not sure if I can trust them further.


My Hospital Infection Nightmare

My Hospital Infection Nightmare

In November 2006, following a medical procedure, I came down with a 104 fever with an extreme headache. Informing the doctor of my symptoms, I was told I had probably caught a "flu bug" and to wait it out until my post-op appointment two weeks later. Within 3 days, I called the emergency nurses hotline at the medical facility where I had the procedure. I was told to go to their office immediately. I felt they were discrete and secretive and they refused to explain my condition and complications to me. The staff seemed burdened by my problem. After the procedure I was told that my condition had nothing to do with their facility or the procedure and that I should see a chiropractor. Nothing was mentioned about an infection.

My symptoms continued to worsen so I went to the local ER in Lake Arrowhead, CA. I was diagnosed with a herniated disk and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon in Lake Arrowhead who suspected a much more severe problem, told me to go directly to the ER at a hospital in Colton, CA where they had proper equipment for diagnosis. I was to tell the hospital that immediately, I needed a MRI and possibly surgery.

My organs were shutting down and my appearance looked like death. I went to the ER in Colton, but I was sent home with pain meds and told to call and make an apt for a MRI, which took over a week to get in then told I would be notified of my results. A complaint was sent to the CEO of the Colton hospital about the lack of medical attention and treatment they have provided. The response to my complaint was to go back to the ER to be re-evaluated. Upon finding a 5 inch intra-vertebral abscess in my spinal cord, I was admitted to the intensive care unit. Infectious disease and control was called and the first 3 days of my 2 week stay, was spent doing a CT scan, Spinal Tap, Bone Scan, Needle Biopsy and growing a culture to then be treated with proper antibiotics for a Strep group B infection. Discharged from the Colton hospital 2 weeks later, my diagnosis was a Strep Group B blood infection as well as Osteomyelitis and Degenerative Disk Disease, which resulted from being misdiagnosed for 6 weeks.  My infection was treated with antibiotics through a picc line for 2 months. Both mental and physical recovery turned into the biggest challenge of my life.

Several months later, I was able to walk with a walker and a cane, but with a lot of pain. I didn’t feel right and wounds were not healing. I went to a new doctor who suspected the severity of my condition prior to being admitted. I was then diagnosed with a Staph Infection (MRSA) and treated appropriately. I believe I developed the staph infection during my stay at the Colton hospital.

As a result of these infections, devastation to my life was everywhere. My children have been traumatically affected as well and although I have continuing medical needs, I am grateful for my life and that my children didn’t lose their mother over a preventative hospital infection.


Misdiagnosed with aggressive cancer

Misdiagnosed with aggressive cancer

I was misdiagnosed. I was told I had an aggressive, deadly cancer, and six months to live unless I got the necessary chemo to buy myself an extra year. Despite resistance from my oncologist, I was able to prove I had no cancer at all. Almost five years later I have never had treatment.

It took three months from the original biopsy that instigated the error until word from the NIH came that I was correct and had no malignancy. I had to fight the system of doctors who did not want to admit their error. I had no medical training or healthcare background. Today I advocate for others through a number of writing, speaking, broadcasting activities. Read Trisha's writing at About.com and on Every Patient's Advocate blog.


Oxygen Deprivation and Medication Error Results in Severe Mental Distress

My dear father, a 77-year old man with a history of pulmonary problems, suffered irreversible brain damage when he was deprived of oxygen and received a large quantity of pain and anti-anxiety medicine which caused him to go into respiratory arrest. He needed an MRI to diagnose some extreme back pain, and was transported via ambulance from the hospital to the hospital's MRI facility across the street without his oxygen. He was also without oxygen for the duration of the MRI. When he was returned to the hospital he was in respiratory arrest, and he was given a special drug to clear his system of drugs; then the offending drug was administered again, cleared again, and yet another offending drug was given! He went into the hospital as my father, and was never again the same person. Most of the time he didn't even recognize his own children, and he was in neurological distress-- unable to sleep, agitated, hallucinating, and delusional. Until I reviewed his medical records, I didn't know about the two powerful drugs, the unbelievable sequence of twice administering and then clearing anti-anxiety drugs from his system, nor his lack of oxygen. In addition, I discovered that the medication log for the period of time during which he received this high dose of medicine was "missing" from his records. After I pieced together what had happened, I contacted the hospital administration and started a series of letters and phone calls with their risk management department. They admitted to "sloppy record keeping" and lack of a process to ensure oxygen is transported with a patient, but ultimately denied responsibility for my father losing his faculties. Because of his extremely agitated mental state, he required sedatives to calm him for the remaining 35 days he spent in the hospital before leaving this world, and ironically, the only drugs that could calm him contributed to his death.

A complaint that I filed with the Illinois medical board resulted in a slap on the wrist for the hospital and a boilerplate letter to me, meant to appease me. Administrators and investigating agencies are often in bed together, so despite doing all my homework and spending countless hours trying to avenge my father's death, I have little to show for it. I wanted their policies changed, and I wanted their mistakes to be publicized so other families are aware of the cautions they need to take when admitting a loved one to the hospital. When a human life is involved, there is no place for cover-ups or games that skew hospital statistics for good publicity. Hospitals need to be accountable in deed-- not just on paper! I filed a separate complaint with the IL Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation against the attending doctor, and nearly a year later I have not received their judgment, despite following up on it regularly.


Be cautious of what's in the IV

After telling the doctor I was allergic to all penicillin medications, I was given one via IV after ear surgery. I went into anaphylactic shock. Worse yet, I was under paralytic medication and was unable to remove the needle nor could I take down the IV bag. My husband took down the bag and ran for a nurse. That nurse refused to do anything because I was not her patient. Then, the doctor did not arrive until hours later, but he had prescribed injections of an antihistamine.

Subsequently I discovered my mental processes had been damaged. I am a writer and I found organizing material for the book had become extremely difficult. I had to undergo therapy, and partial recovery took more than a year - complete recovery did not occur.


Family Experiences Many Medical Errors

I can give you ALL kinds of errors - some of which I prevented.

1) My wife's life was shortened by hepatitis C which she contracted at a clinic in Minnesota. She stayed at this clinic from 8/11/1981 to 8/20/1981. When my wife arrived at the clinic, after multiple tests, it was determined that she had no physical problem, but needed psychiatric treatment. (NOTE: No elevated liver enzymes.) As we were awaiting a taxi to depart, three doctors suddenly appeared (why THREE doctors?). They said her liver enzymes were "slightly elevated", and when we got back home to Clearwater, FL , we should have them checked. A week later she was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and later died of liver failure as a result. So do you think a famous clinic couldn't tell she had hepatitis C when the doctor in Clearwater could?

2) My wife's repeated largely psychosomatic (but not bi-polar) illnesses beginning in 1956 costing over $17,000 in 1991 alone, that ended dramatically over one night when she was FINALLY prescribed lithium in 1991, and never had another occurrence. My opinion is that doctors were prescribing just the latest, most expensive drugs (Elavil, Valium, etc.). The doctor at the NC hospital, who prescribed lithium after listening to her history, was adamant that she had a chemical problem and that lithium would solve her 35 year problem. The next morning it did - overnight - permanently.

3) My wife delivered our son on 2/12/1948, at a hospital in NC, when I was a student at NC State. She called me saying they were going to give her a transfusion, but they hadn't even typed her blood. I rushed to the hospital in time to stand between my wife and the nurse with a hanging bag of blood. She threatened to call the police if I didn't move. I suggested she do that, and the News and Observer would headline how I had saved my wife's life. She left, nothing happened. I was sure then she had discovered her error, as did I. The blood was type A negative, for a lady in the next room, which would have killed my wife. I could go on.

4) My wife was given a prescription to destroy her "defective thyroid" after the doctor did a T-3 test. We got a second opinion. The doctor did a T-4 as well. There was nothing wrong with her thyroid.

5) My wife had a minor vaginal infection. The gynecologist in GA said she needed a hysterectomy. A second opinion produced a prescription which cleared the infection in a week.

6) My daughter Vivian’s breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997 at a hospital after her family doctor told her that if the lump hurt, it couldn't be breast cancer. She had 17 infected lymph nodes before she got the second opinion. She's actually still alive after spending 7 months at the hospital - primarily because of chemotherapy after effects.  Re-hospitalized 6/13-6/20 from an infected Hickman catheter, she ran a 103 degree temp for week.  She was then moved by ambulance to a different hospital at parental insistence, which immediately removed the infected catheter and solved the problem. However that hospital then caused her to get a C-diff infection with an abdominal bacterial infection. Vancomycin stopped the infection. The C-diff instigated Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which required apheresis to be begun daily. Almost every room in the ward had a "C-diff" sign.

7) Yesterday I got 2 spinal shots for spinal stenosis after waiting the obligatory hour past my appointment time. The bill for the 7.5 minutes door-to-door in the procedure room was $1884.50. At 8 hours/day, 20 days/month, assuming the usual patient takes twice the time I was given, that comes to $1,206,080 per month.

You don't have space for all the stories.


Father Given Wrong Dosage of Life Threatening Medication

Father Given Wrong Dosage of Life Threatening Medication

I want to share a recent family tragedy here --- it is about my Dad. In 2008, my Dad was in a local hospital where he was given a sulfa medication, despite the fact that he was wearing a red wrist band warning about his well-documented life-threatening sulfa allergy, and despite that many medical references do not support this off-label use of the drug in my Dad's medical condition. Furthermore, without an emergency, the doctor and the nurses never informed my Dad or me (his medical power of attorney at the hospital 24/7) about the drug being a sulfa drug, or any of its risks. We even repeatedly asked the doctor about the drug risks before its administration. Yet the doctor withheld all this critical drug information, and lied about the drug risks (which turned out to be significant to my Dad). We later learned that there was also a plan to monitor my Dad after the first dose to watch for an anaphylactic drug reaction. But no one told us anything about this monitoring plan, even after my Dad showed signs of a serious drug reaction. My Dad and our family were the only ones who were totally kept in the dark during the whole time!

As a result of what we believe was a drug reaction, my Dad suddenly developed severe hypotension several hours after the 4th dose and suffered subsequent complications, from which he never recovered, and passed away only two weeks after he was given the drug. Six months after my Dad passed away, we found out that the doctor had been warned by the hospital pharmacist about a risk of cross-reaction and/or an anaphylactic reaction prior to him prescribing the drug. We also learned later that the drug carried three significant contraindications to my Dad. According to two specialists who are experts on this particular drug, the hospital doctor gave my Dad 2.7 times the recommended dose for people with my Dad's medical condition. After my Dad tragically passed away, we filed complaints with the state against the doctor and the hospital.

During the investigations, the doctor and the hospital remained dishonest; they down played the drug risks, denied any wrong doing, and blamed my Dad's health for his passing. They also never disclosed to the state that they failed to inform my Dad and our family about the drug being a sulfa drug and associated risks. Despite the clear and convincing evidence that the doctor and the hospital seriously violated my Dad's Patients Rights and provided substandard care and despite two experts' opinions on the misuse of the drug, the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) and the state hospital Facilities and Services Licensing have refused to take any form of sanction against the doctor and the hospital.

The MQAC claim there is no evidence that the doctor committed unprofessional conduct, even though the doctor lied to us about the drug risks and even though the doctor provided extensive false information to the state investigation, much of which can be easily checked with the hospital records. When we pointed out the doctor's contradictions to his own statements and hospital records, the MQAC just ignored us. When we asked them to explain why it was legal for this doctor to give my Dad a medication that had been warned for an anaphylactic reaction without informing him first, the MQAC has kept silent and refused to answer any these questions. The state Facilities and Services Licensing also refuses to investigate Patient Rights violation, claiming that "the drug is generally safe" and "hospitals do not have to tell their patients the risks of every drug." When we met two MQAC's staff to discuss our concerns over their "investigation" process, they told us that "it was serious to take a doctor's license away" and that "we are not medical doctors so our opinions do not account."

Since when is a doctor's license more important than a patient's life?! Since when can doctors give their patients drugs without telling them the significant risks?! And since when does our state Department of Health start to promote a medical standard that patients do not need to be informed of life threatening drug risks?! In 2006, a report, "Preventing Medication Errors" by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, revealed that at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) occur in the United States each year. About 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries happen in hospitals alone, which results in at least 3.5 billion to the cost of the hospital stay. For Medicare enrollees alone, the annual cost is estimated to be $887 million for treating medication error. These statistics are shocking, not to mention the loss of patients' earnings, pain, suffering, and even worse their lives, like what happened to my Dad. To reduce medication errors effectively, the report recommends that doctors, nurses, and pharmacists must know and act on patients' medical care rights. They should also make it a standard procedure to communicate and inform their patients fully about the risks, contraindications, and possible side effects of the medications they are taking and what to do if they experience a side effect. They should also be more forthcoming when medication errors have occurred and explain to the patient the consequences. This medication error report has been out for three years. Sadly, the same numbers of medication errors still occur annually in our hospitals. Yet, some medical professionals and evidently even our state agencies still believe a patient has no right to be informed about anything when being given a drug, even though the drug may cause serious reactions, even though we have had the Patients' Rights law since the 1990s, and even though we have these specific federal and state regulations to protect Patients' Rights. Something is seriously wrong. About ten years ago, the famous report came out stating that about 98,000 of Americans die each year due to preventable medical error. Now ten years later, we still have the same number of patients dying each year. Clearly the medical disciplinary system is a part of the problem. To improve our hospital safety, it requires a greater accountability and transparency in the state disciplinary process.


Michael Skolnik of Colorado

Michael Skolnik of Colorado Michael Skolnik… March 1979-June 4, 2004 It is difficult not to feel the sadness that permeates our house, as hard as we try, our beloved child, who made us a family of three, is gone forever. The loss of Michael has left scars that cannot be hidden behind bittersweet smiles. During normal activity, Michael passed out in September 2001. A CT scan showed a slight possibility of a colloid cyst, but whatever the two to three millimeter dot was, it was non-symptomatic. I consulted with a neurosurgeon who said it was urgent to place Michael in ICU for observation. The neurosurgeon did not mince words; Michael needed to have brain surgery within two days. It was to be a three-hour operation and six days in the hospital. The neurosurgeon explained that he had done many of these procedures, and he really didn’t even have to go inside the brain to excise the cyst. He said conclusively that the cyst was there and was blocking the cerebral spinal fluid from flowing. The three hour operation lasted six hours with no cyst ever being found. However, heavy manipulation had been done to Michael’s brain. His “six day hospital stay” became five months in ICU, 22 months in other medical institutions and the last six months of his life at home, in our own “ICU.” Upon further examination of the CT scan, it became evident that the neurosurgeon’s pressure to rush Michael into surgery was unwarranted. This marked the beginning of a 32-month nightmare of brain surgeries, infections, pulmonary embolisms, respiratory arrest, vision impairment, paralysis, psychosis, severe seizure disorder, short-term memory loss, multiple organ failure and near total dependence and disability. Michael could not eat, speak, or move anything but his right hand. Nearly every day during this traumatic time, Michael used his sole limb control to shape his fingers into a gun, and hold them to his temple. Our strapping 6’4’’ EMT and nursing student was now totally helpless and had the cognitive ability of a third grader. Michael’s medical bills amounted to 4.5 million dollars, and the legal bills were just beginning to amass. We listened to the doctor who had claimed to have performed many such surgeries admit - in a legal deposition - that Michael’s procedure had only been his second. Despite all our attempts to research the doctor’s background, this was the first time we’d heard the truth about his level of experience. I remember thinking I had to do something; our son is not coming back, but perhaps now someone else’s loved one won’t be lost. Three years after Michael’s death, we fought for physician profile transparency and disclosure in Colorado. We found out that there were other medical malpractice cases pending and a number of formal complaints to the Board of Medical Examiners regarding this medical predator. At that time, none of this background information was available to the public. We worked to change that. On May 24, 2007 Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed into law The Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, which became effective January 2, 2008. In 2009, my organization--Colorado Citizens for Accountability—launched PatientsRightToKnow.org, which allows you to find out what physician background reporting is available in your state. Historically, doctors are most trusted by our society. To maintain that trust, we all must advocate not only for insurance reform but for safe quality care. To have access to insurance without quality and safety is to have a bicycle without wheels or possibly a family that loses “their Michael”. Written by Patty Skolnik, Michael's mother and founder of Colorado Citizens for Accountability


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Medication Error

Were you ever given the wrong drug or wrong dosage? Did your doctor fail to inform you about side effects? Share your story.