Thursday, March 17, 2011

This is nursing?

Over the years, I have often had the pleasure to praise the nurses I have come in contact with. They are usually overworked and under appreciated. Every time I have been in the hospital over the years, I felt that it was the nursing staff that made it tolerable - or even pleasant. I have the utmost respect for nurses ... usually!

My wife is in the hospital right now. She had surgery and although it was ambulatory, she was scheduled to spend the night and then be released the next day. Everyone in the hospital (a prestigious NYC hospital) was very friendly and helpful through the admission process, the pre-surgical and the post surgical time in the recovery room. Then she was brought up to her room and things changed.

From the moment she was moved to her room, the nursing staff proved itself to be - at best - uncaring, and at times, bordering on incompetent. One nurse came to take her blood pressure, and then got distracted, left the apparatus - without taking the readings - saying she would be right back. She wasn't seen for almost 6 more hours! At one point, my wife's hospital gown became soaking wet, and when she asked the nurse for a new one, she was told, "in a little while." Was she expected to remain in a soaked garment until the nurses would get around to it? Medications - which she was told to bring to the hospital herself and she knew when she was supposed to be given - had to practically be begged for.

And the nurses attitudes were simply awful. Her room is right across from the nurses station, and when she would ask for something, she could hear the nurse complain about the request when she left the room. I could understand this if there was a constant stream of silly requests all day, but I had been there for over 5 hours and this was the first request she had made of the staff ... she was in pain and wanted her pain medication - which she was entitled to. And how unprofessional is it for any professional to walk around chewing gum?

Last night, a sample had been taken to check for an infection before she was to be released. Hours later it was discovered that the sample had not been brought to the lab, but had simply been left at the nursing station. Another sample had to be obtained and hours passed after a determination should have been made.

There were many more incidents like this, and now, two days later, she is still in the hospital, waiting to be evaluated so she can be released, and she is receiving no information from the staff nor are they sympathetic to her at all. Very unlike any nursing staff either of us have encountered at any point in our lives.

Your comments (below) gratefully appreciated.


  1. I'm sorry you and Sandy had this bad experience and hope that she's out of there by now.

    I ran into this same sort of thing recently when one of my daughters had surgery. We have two hospitals here and the one where this particular specialist practiced was not the one we would have chosen normally. In the future, I would change doctors before I went back there.

    This particular procedure required that she get certain meds hourly. She once went 5 hours without getting her meds and it took calling the doctor who came over in person to read the riot act to the nurses, to get things straightened out. Then there was a shift change with even fewer nurses on duty. It was the same problem all over again. Dad had to set the new shift back on track per the doctor's written orders.

    This is just so counter-productive and potentially dangerous. Admittedly, they are short staffed, but still.

    In your case, it would seem that the hospital screwed up to the point where the extra stay should not appear on your bill. It was their fault, not yours.

  2. I am here at the hospital now and her doctor has sent over the discharge orders hours ago. We are just waiting for the resident to sign the order but she was heading into surgery. Now we have to wait and hope she remembers to sign it. Not good at all!

  3. ugh!!! that really sucks. Glad you guys are home now.

  4. That is totally disgusting.... I am in fact at a loss for words - which is a big thing for me.

    I hope once Sandy has left, you will be letting the hospital know in no uncertain terms, how you and Sandy are feeling about her treatment. TBH wouldn't do it while she is still there in case of repercussions.

  5. Chris, now that she is home, I am going to write a letter (my complaint letters are legendary LOL!) and send it to a number of highly placed hospital officers. It was the first time we have had this kind of experience.

  6. That's terrible I'm glad she's home now. I hope your letters get the appropriate response. Hospital visits shouldn't be like this.