Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Congrats Duke Medical - you win - looks like dad will die soon

I can try to make this post uncharacteristically short. It is hard to write because I am in tears.

I have been begging physicians at Duke Medical Clinic to give me guidance with dad's foot infection.

I have been trying for about 3 months now.

The infection seems worse but how can I know for sure -- no Duke doctor will examine him.

Today is very bad. Dad is disoriented from pain & infection. I am sad. The pins are coming out. No Duke Clinic medical personnel will return my phone calls.

It appears to me as though the foot should be amputated. It also appears that if someone had checked the wounds or checked the status of the infection at some point within the last 3 months, dad would have been able to keep his foot.

But what does it matter, right Duke University Hospital? Dad is 75 years old. But I am not 75 years old and I have devoted my life and jeopardized my health to care for this man every day.

1. Per Dr. Easley's instructions, I made sure dad learned how to use a knee scooter so that he could get the surgery to save his foot.

2. I have taken dad to physical therapy at Duke Center for Living as often as possible (usually 3x/week). Unless my knee and ankle prevented me from pushing him in a wheelchair.

None of that effort matters when the Duke Infectious Disease stops treating my dad and no one monitors the infection or wound care. None of it matters - none of my effort or dad's effort matters if dad's health deteriorates because Duke doctors ignore him.

Then, Duke Medical will finally achieve their apparent dream of dad dying. They have been trying for 2.5 years. More than one Duke Hospitalist told me to put dad in a nursing home because "I have a life too." At the same time, I had (now former) Duke surgeons tell me that if I put dad in a nursing home, he would die.

Looks like you win, Duke Medical. Congrats. Your refusal to treat him after discharging him with an infection leads to death and we never had to worry about the Nursing Resource Manager arranging a nursing home bed! Kudos.

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