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My Hospital Infection Nightmare

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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.

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