Monday, July 13, 2009

I lost my daddy thanks to mistreatment by Duke University Hospital

It has been 11 months since Duke University Hospital missed dad's infection. At the admission, I begged the "hospitalist" Veshana Ramiah, MD to contact dad's oncologists and orthopedic surgeon. She flatly said "no." Dr. Ramiah reminded me that she was completely in charge.

I was so scared for my dad's life. Dad was in such serious infectious state that I thought he would die. I was strong enough to tell the Duke University Hospital Administrators that the rude hospitalists would be off my dad's case or I would have in moved to another hospital.

I got the change. I got the Duke Clinic oncologist involved.

But, I failed. I did not call the Duke Clinic orthopedic surgeon and request a consult as I did with the oncologist. I just figured since the skin infection was due to chemotherapy then I'd be okay requesting that consult.

And let me be very clear - you (as the patient advocate) do not ask a nurse or dopey hospitalist to make the consult. YOU call the clinic doctor - or you go to the office and sit in the waiting room and wait to make a face-to-face consult. That will work because the clinic and treating doctors care about their patients.

In retrospect, I should have contacted dad's Duke Clinic orthopedic surgeon. That surgeon would have cleaned the wound near the metal in dad's foot (or caused a orthopedic consultation). But I did not.

And by the time dad saw the Duke Clinic orthopedic surgeon saw dad 2 months post the discharge, dad barely had a foot.

I miss my dad. Dad got through heavy chemo treatment. Dad should not still be suffering with this foot issue. Dad should not be crying in pain. It is not dad's fault.

I remind dad that it was not the fault of any of his Duke Clinic doctors because trust is essential.

But I miss my dad's smile.
I miss my dad's humor.
I miss the way my dad was my best friend.

Duke University Hospital took my daddy away from me. And that makes me sad.

I am most scared that I will not get my daddy back.

I hope that others learn from my "learning on the job" and be an advocate for your elderly loved ones. They were your advocate when you were a kid - now they need you. Don't abandon your elderly parents to an uncaring and overworked hospital system. Please.

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