Monday, June 13, 2011

HOLY NIGHTMARE ER - CAR WRECK

My friend, Sandy, and I were in a car accident Saturday. We were rear ended. Both of us ended up in the ER. She had a neck injury and is still in great pain. My head snapped backwards hitting the headrest. I was taken by ambulance strapped to a back board and in a neck brace. Was strapped to the board for several hours.

While in the ambulance, the guy asked me for my med list. I told him it was in my purse, but I had a medic alert bracelet and he needed to call the number for the long list of meds I'm on. He said they'd wait till we arrived in the ER. Then the other guy passed him his phone so that he could look at the photos of his car, the one he was fixing up on the weekend. NOT professional!! Not appropriate!!

It was a bad experience at the hospital for many hours. After the ambulance guy wheeled me in, he handed me the heavy chart to sign. Since I was in a neck brace and on a back board, he had to hold it above my head for me to sign. I thought it was very uncompassionate due to timing. After being taken into a room, I was asked multiple questions of which were hard to answer when your teeth are jarred together with a brace. Remember, there was no one in there with me since Sandy was also in line to be treated. I was alone. The ambulance guy asked if I had a list of meds and I told him the list was in my purse. My purse was sitting on my stomach. I couldn't get to it. He said, "We'll worry about it when we get to the ER." I told him I had a medic alert bracelet and asked him to call the number because I was taking many meds and had multiple health conditions. He didn't.

When I was taken into the room, the nurse asked the same questions about conditions and meds. I told her the same thing. She said she would wait till later. I told her to call the medic alert number. I also told her my medical records were at that hospital. She said she would pull them up, but sometimes not all of them would come up. She left. The nurse call button was left hanging on the wall. I was strapped down to a back board and was in a neck brace. I was also left there by myself for over an hour. The pain increased so badly I was shaking all over. I've never felt pain that badly before.

Sandy was finally put in a room and came back to check on me. She handed me the call button. Her sister, sister's friend and mom had arrived and were in her room. When she went back to her room, I hit the call button asking why I had just been left. I asked for something for the pain. One more hour later, someone came in to take me to catscan. By then Sandy's mom came in to sit with me.

Another experience......the catscan room. To move me over to the scanning table, they just yanked me over hitting the table with a huge bang. Already in a great deal of pain, I just screamed! Doesn't anyone in this hospital teach compassion to patients??? Then they did scans to my head and neck. That took forever because they would pause and let me sit. The table would jerk up and down causing more pain to run down my spine. At that point I lost all feeling in my upper thighs. I was crying by the time it was over. Another woman joined the fun to pull me off the table and back onto the bed. She said sarcastically, "This will hurt!" I told her I was in excruciating pain. She just jerked me onto the bed like I was a moving box. My body was one huge muscle spasm and I just cried. She leaned over me and said, "You can breathe now." If I could, I would have slapped her. Sometimes I think someone should start a column entitled "What an Idiot!" It would be filled with many hospital ER employees from this area!

When I was returned to the room, I noticed I was leaning to the left side of the bed. If the rail had not been up, I would had slid right off. Put more pressure on the left side of my spine and by then the left side of my body was numb. So more hours passed with me strapped to the board and my neck in a brace. And I cried. Sandy's mom stayed in my room for a few minutes and then back to hers. I just cried.

After four hours of agonizing pain, I hit the nurse button again and asked about something for the pain. I had been brought in by ambulance from a car accident. I did not walk in with a stubbed toe or a bad cold. I did not twist my ankle. Yet, they treated me the same. They just left me in the room to suffer. The doctor had already said I could have something for pain. Four hours later, nothing. I was still shaking hard from the severity of the pain. Oh yeah, no one ever put a sheet over me. No one asked me if I was cold. No one checked to see if I was okay. Now add to it the fact I have chronic illnesses, am on many medications, and have an aneurysm just below my heart that could burst in a situation like this.

I learned this huge lesson: If you end up in an accident of any kind and have to go on a back board and a neck collar, make sure you are unconscious. You'll be able to endure the negligence much better.

Next was the x-ray. The lady was the most compassionate. She was gentle and kind. Problem was I was still strapped to the board. She had to come back. I told her I had been abandoned for hours. No nurse no one. She said she would make sure someone checked on me. She came back an hour later to take me down. Ten minutes before she returned, they freed me from that board. I never thought that ER bed would feel so good. They finally gave me a pain shot. Its affects lasted ten minutes. The pain was just too bad and too long lasting.

After five hours, tests showed no internal damage, but the pain is still excruciating. But since the tests showed no tears or breaks, they were done. They brought in prescriptions and papers and sent me out the door. When I was sitting in Sandy's room, I looked at the prescriptions. One was for a med I already take. I realized they never ever checked my medication list before they gave me new prescriptions. All those times I tried to get them to call my medic alert, they wouldn't. I told them I had a med list in my purse, but because I couldn't get it, they didn't have sense to ask Sandy's mom or someone else, they just didn't bother to check it. So I decided to call them on it. I stood up for myself. The Nurse in charge came to the room and I told her about the medicine list. She checked my chart, came back and said, "well, ma'am, that is the only other med he could give you." I told her it wasn't my fault he didn't bother to check my medications before he prescribed. At that point it was the SAFETY of the matter.

If I had come in there unconscious, they don't check for a list, they don't bother to call my medic alert, put whatever meds in my system, cause me to have a stroke, and I have the unfortunate circumstance of having to live with it, that is not acceptable. If I don't make an issue of it while I am alert, what will happen if and when I go in when I cannot answer their questions? I wonder how many other patients have had the same thing happen?? Scares me to death. That is negligence.

Pain is some better today than Saturday. I can feel the severe pain in my neck and going down my back in my spine. Have a doctor's appointment on Thursday to check it to make sure no damage was done since ER doctor did not check it.

Sandy's car is parked. We're waiting on the accident report to see what insurance will cover. Would greatly appreciate any and all prayers!

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