Don’t know what to do

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For the life of me, I did not know what to do. When a loved one calls you around 2 a.m., in horrible temperatures, and says, “I am so sick, please come to me. I think I need to go to the hospital,” your response is, “I’m on the way Mom. Hang in there.”

I arrived, and yes my mama was so sick. I called 911, and an ambulance was discharged immediately. Thank you to the 911 employees.

We arrived at the hospital, and then it seemed as if time was playing tricks on me. I believe there is a timer set when some one enters the ER. A doctor cannot enter the room until the timer goes off. During that time, I had to help my Mom to the lady’s room numerous times without help from anyone. I could tell she was dehydrating. She is 83 years old and frail.

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Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, a doctor came in and asked general information. I asked the doctor for fluids for Mama and something to help with the diarrhea and stomach pain. Finally, fluids arrived and two little pills for her diarrhea and stomach pain.

Eternity set in again. It was my mom and I alone again from 4 to 6:30 a.m., I watched the clock. Finally, a nurse came in, and I asked if they would admit my mom because she was so upset and so sick. They never said yes or no, only that there was a shift change at 7 a.m. We waited through the shift change. I went back out to the desk. The admitting doctor was due in around 8 a.m. By then Mom and I were emotionally gone. They gave Mom something to calm her. The admitting doctor was a no-show so another doctor came in to see her after I sought him out. By then, Mom was so upset she would not let him examine her so he left.

Around 9 a.m. he came back, and I talked Mom into letting him check her out. Then I found out that the admission paper work had not even been started. We waited another hour!

At 10 a.m., Mom crawled out of the bed and said, “I am leaving this hospital because an old person like me could die, and they would not even know it.”

I wrapped my mom up in my coat and scarf and walked her through the waiting room, and no one even noticed that we were leaving. A gentleman in the waiting room held on to Mom while I drove my car to the door. To that gentleman, I will be forever grateful.

At 1:50 p.m., approximately four hours after we left, someone from the hospital called my husband and asked if the I.V. needle had been removed from Mom’s arm. Of course not, no one came back to the room to check on us. I have had many I.V.’s removed myself, so I knew the procedure and how to do it myself.

I did not know what to do! I made a decision based on no information from the very people I turned to in a time of need. I do not want to go to Tallahassee or Thomasville in the middle of the night. I wanted to go to my hometown hospital, and I wanted to feel safe and cared for when I got there. I did not want to wait approximately seven hours in the ER for patient care. I cannot understand or think of any reason why it took so long and no one would or could make a decision or give me any answers. I do not know how many patients arrived that night, but I cannot help believing there should be a Plan B in the event of an overflow of sick people. It is horrible to sit there hour after hour waiting.

I do not know what to do! I do not blame the employees completely. I know they have people they have to answer to for their jobs. But I do know that if your employees are not happy, then it will show through their work.

If they are overworked or the ER is understaffed, then I would like to know why. I happen to know there are some wonderful nurses, doctors and health care professionals at Memorial Hospital.

What happened?

I do not know what to expect the next time a family member or I need emergency medical care. Something or someone is getting in the way of quality patient care. I want my family doctor to take care of my family and me when we are in the hospital.

Why has that changed?

Why is it that the last time Mom entered the hospital I was not told that she would be seen by a hospital doctor until he walked in the ICU room?

He was a great doctor but knew nothing of my mom’s history.

I just cannot believe I am the only one this has happened to at Memorial Hospital. I love my community, my friends and family, and I love my mother. She deserved more than she received.

What is the alternative next time? I really do not know what to do …

Sonya Weathersby
Bainbridge, Ga.