Angry mom treated rotten in ER today

  1. I just am not sure what to do. I'm sure if i call the hospital tomorrow to complain i'll get transferred here and there and finally to an answering machine or get hung up on or no one will return my call. My mom is going through the change and her hormones are messed up causing dramatic vaginal bleeding. she often wears 3-4 pads at a time, underwear ruined, our chairs have towels on them, it's bad. she had a d/c and removal of polyps, cancer ruled out. no health coverage and medicaid won't help. she's weak, looks pale, gets horrible leg cramps etc. today was no exception and our bathroom looked like an operating room. she's had the problem for almost 2 years and apparently little can be done. she's falling asleep and uncomfortable in the waiting room like she might pass out. after 3 hours of waiting i finally told them she had better get examined right quick. got in there the nurse drew blood, and then helped her clean up and changed her bed. so far good, that nurse was an angel. the doctor comes though and basically says they can't do anything for her today, she has to make an appointment with her gynecologist which of course is ALWAYS SO BUSY, might not see her for a couple months. meanwhile she was told if she had problems to go to the ER. then they draw more blood. her count was ok so no transfusion or anything. another guy comes in to start an iv and mom asked for what and he didn't know! so she wouldn't let him so he takes his cart and leaves. another nurse comes in says here's your paper you can leave. she had to go to the bathroom and told them that but they wouldn't even give her anything to cover with to go out in the hall. i won't say what my loving mother did next but well a mess was made. her pants were soaked from blood so she had to leave in a hospital gown, no scrub pants were offered to walk out in the cold. and they didn't even really offer a wheelchair since she is weak and gets light headed. i pulled my car up had the heater going and luckily had a blanket in the car. i realize it's christmas but god last christmas i worked 3 days later i was terminated from my job because they wouldn't hold my position for recovery and 2 days after that i was in the operating room having surgery. medicaide won't help me either. i'm soon to be a nurse, helping people, and no one cares when you or a loved one is sick. what is this world coming to?
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  2. 80 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Unfortunately, health care is a commodity in America. Health care is not an individual right.

    Those with money and/or superb health insurance are treated the best when receiving care in health care facilities. If you flip the coin, those with less money and no health insurance must resort to treatment in overcrowded urban hospitals or low-cost clinics where patients are not treated well.

    I'd hate to admit this, but your mother might have had a better experience in the ER if she was an 'economically viable' patient. Economically viable patients have the means to pay for good health care via health insurance, cash, and other assets. Many health care facilities do not wish to deal with patients who have no way to pay for the services rendered.

    I am sorry for what is happening to your mother. She deserves to be treated as a living, breathing, dignified person.
  4. by   alwayslearnin
    I wish the commuter would please clarify her remarks. I.E. if the mother was more "economocally viable" she would get better care. As an ED nurse, I am always striving to give excelllent patient care regardless of ability to pay-I usually don't even pay attention as to wether people have insurance or not unless it has to do with their care or ability to get meds filled. It sounds like the original poster's mom definetly could have had a better experience. The person starting the IV should have known why or if not told her that he would find out and then go do so. Someone should have helped i.e. getting the mother to the bathroom with extra pads etc and a wheelchair to go out with. Unfortunetly if I sent every one of my patients out in scrub pants and gown, we wouldln't have any left. It seems sad, but we always are sending people home in gowns, blankets ets -another cost eaten by the hospital-can't do it all of the time for everyone. Sounds like there is alot going on for Purple Princess in her life. Hope you will get what you (and your mom) need to get better.
    alwayslearnin
  5. by   Kymmi
    If mom has had this problem for 2 years then I can understand why she was told to follow up with her gyn in the morning. If the H&H was stable, vitals stable then it is a chronic problem and not an acute emergency. As far as nothing being able to be done Im not so sure that is a good answer and I'd find another gyn to visit for another opinion. I had alot of trouble with excessive bleeding a few years ago and had a endometrial ablation done and havent had a problem since.
    I do also disagree with insurance or ability to pay having any influence on the emergency room treatment. I agree with the above poster who says most of the times she has no idea whether the person has insurance or not because I know I never pay attention because it doesnt concern me...my patients are treated the same by me whether they live in the streets or in a mansion.
    I do think that mom could have been treated with more respect though however it makes me wonder if all that hospitals ER patients are treated that way.
    I can understand why the OP is upset over the ER treatment however if it was me and my mother I think I'd be more proactive in finding another gyn or at least finding answers from her current gyn as to why they are not able to provide better care.
  6. by   Multicollinearity
    It sounds like the ER folks did all they could - but I know it doesn't feel that way.

    It's life in these Untied States. Sadly, I'm not too optimistic that healthcare accessibility will change for the better, in the near future.
  7. by   caliotter3
    I almost find it hard to believe this post. It is almost exactly a snapshot of me and my own problems for the past four + years. One of the major reasons why I am currently unemployed. To put it bluntly I have been "bleeding like a stuck pig" or "bleeding to death" (two ways I myself have used to describe the symptoms over a period of years). When I had no hlth insurance, I was working my arse off trying to get the money to write the checks to the specialist I ended up with way back in 2002. Each time I saw her and went further with testing and dx and plans for the surgery, I would have to write another check for four figures, not an easy thing to do and work full time without stopping. A co-worker who couldn't help but notice that I was in the bathroom at work every hour, on the half hour, because I was hemorrhaging all the time, told me I had better get a second or third opinion based on her and other women's experiences, i.e., the proposed ablation might not solve the problem....she was suggesting that I should try to go whole hog, have it done right the first time, by having a complete hysterectomy. Well, as things go, life got complicated fast. I was supposed to be setting up the surgery date...hesitated...for money, and second opinion...other complicating reasons, etc., and it didn't get scheduled or done... Well, as things go, I ended up going to the ER at our county hospital more than once... ended up crawling away each time (the one time I actually got inside on a gurney...I was having a real nice little cardiac event right in front of them and was "pretend" treated and sent away with guidance to "take aspirin" the next time I experienced angina. I got worse and worse at my four juggled jobs, and ended up with no jobs. One manager had the testicles (yes, he's a male) to demand that I get medical care at the ER at the county since I wasn't good enough to have hlth ins w/this employer. Well, you can guess, the rest. Time went on. I got worse and worse. (Cardiac problems and other non-dx med problems which contributed to me not demanding medical care to help myself.) With no family, friends, or co-workers to advocate for me, I very nearly ended up dead in a flop-house hotel. Anyway, I just recently had the surgery, not without problems, but only because I managed to get some hlth ins thru a third party. My hlth is just starting to come back. The years of anemia and other metabolic problems have taken their toll. The bleeding seems to have stopped. Although I tried to insist on the hysterectomy, I only got the fancy ablation. At least the constant bleeding has stopped. I take 3 times the daily recommended dose of iron and will continue to do so until I get some labs that look normal. Since I am unemployed and very weak and out of shape, as well as wary of medical care at any cost, I am trying to be as preventive as possible about it all. I know I can't afford the hlth ins forever withou employment.

    Sorry this turned into a book. One thing I noticed through all this. A person can't go it alone. You need a sig other, family members, friends, co-workers, or anyone who cares enough to advocate for you when you get so bad that you can't take care of yourself or even clearly communicate your own needs.
    I hated going to the ER at the county hosp b/c I (when you could understand me) could only speak English and didn't get an interpretor, nor did I have that ticket to nirvana, the medicaid card. I wouldn't take a dog to get treated that way again. Even if I had offered to write a check then and there for the services it would not have changed the fact that for almost 8 hours I was going out on them in a room with another man with cardiac symptoms, all that they could do as the parade of family members of other pts walked by and gawked, was at one point, a very astute, competent, and professional ER nurse, had the good sense to close the door to our room so that the gawkers could not see that the other man and I were being ignored.
    Never again.

    I try to think what I can do other than nursing for a living, b/c enough is sometimes too much. It's hard to come up with another idea for a line of work where I can feel so out of place.

    The only advice I can offer....Never go into a medical place unless someone goes in with you....even a stranger off the streets. My thoughts are with your mom.
  8. by   caliotter3
    I forgot to say this...have your mom take iron supplements to compensate for the blood loss... I was taking as much as 4 times the recommended daily dose. When I passed out twice from bleeding and they had to transfuse, they wouldn't give me enough units of blood. I also got parenteral iron, but only once. After it was all over, my newly acquired MD said that my lab work was still low (well, no wonder) and told me I had to stay on supplements. I looked up anemia in a differential dx med text and saw where it was recommended to take 3 times the normal daily dose for severe, prolonged anemia. Also, for all the bleeding... I had a bevy of dark-colored towels that went everywhere with me. I wore blue jeans to work with a big ol towel inside. I used those serenity style incontinence pads (the largest size) with as many tampons stuffed up me as I could get) I think I got 5 in one time! I carred around my little supply stash of plastic bags, medical gloves, baby wipes, you name it, to try to function. Yet they still noticed that I was always on the toilet. Hope this helps. You just have to find a ob-gyn that helps uninsured people since they won't help you in the ER. My salvation was finally getting hlth ins (thru no thanks to my employers at the time). Again, good luck.
  9. by   welnet66
    Sounds like your Mother needs to see a different GYN since the one she has now is not addressing her problem. As far as ability to pay, that is never a concern or consideration in the emergency department.
  10. by   Calgon-take.me.away
    My heartfelt concerns for your mom. This same thing happened to me almost 9 years ago now. I was only 41, having terrible bleeding and passing clots that felt like I was passing a football. Could not go anywhere for the fear of bleeding everywhere. Called my gyn and he said that it was probably the change of life and that he could see me in July or August. This was in January that I called. But, if I felt that it was an emergency, I could come in as soon as April. ER visits did not help, just sent me home and told me to contact my OB/gyn. Being a nurse myself, I was no way satisfied with that answer. I called my aunt, and asked her who was her
    gyn, and called him the next day. He got me in within 48 hours, did an exam, and sent me right up to have a D&C. Tests came back that I had stage 2 uterine cancer, and was scheduled for a hysterectomy that same week. Went to my regular gyn and asked for my medical records and told him about this. Needless to say, he was silent and had me lead out of his office.
    One week later, went septic, had to be hospitilized and reopened. 10 months later, had to have a third surgery. A tumor the size of a pop can had grown on the ovary that I had chosen to leave in for hormonal reasons.
    II am wonderful now, cancer free for 8 years, but the bottom line is,,,listen to your bady, pursue all aspects. If you feel you are being treated based on your financial background, contact the hospital financial and social office.
  11. by   caliotter3
    This is for Calgon-Take.me.away: What is wrong with asking for and getting a hysterectomy? After reading your post, it seems like in today's world you have to be dead first. My co-worker friend (actually, supervisor) was telling me to get a second opinion b/c she knew of two women (who just happened to be nurses) who had to have multiple surgeries to stop the bleeding. I have told everybody that I have a family hx of cancer. I noticed that in my hlth ins info it states specifically that there must be a "medical necessity" to get a hysterectomy covered by insurance. Now, I wonder if the surgery that was done will be sufficient, or if in a few years, I'll be facing the same thing or worse yet, undiagnosed cancer. Sorry for dwelling, but I have not exactly been getting the best of medical advice and really am worrying about all of this, especially since it played such a big role in getting me unemployed. And maybe you can give some tips for the OP's mom to avoid going down this road too. It especially hurts to get the run around when you don't have the money to pay for stuff out of your own pocket. (BTW you should see the insurance EOB statements in comparison to the 4 figure checks I was writing back in 2002!!! What a rip-off!!)
  12. by   traumaRUs
    To the OP - yes indeed your mother should have been treated with more respect. I doubt anyone would argue that point. However, I would refer her to a different GYN provider to get a second opinion. Perhaps you could contact the ER social worker for a recommendation as to a provider that would work with your mother as to payment?

    We cannot provide medical advice at All Nurses because that would not be safe. I hope your mother gets some help and soon. Please take care.
  13. by   Victoriakem
    Quote from Purple Princess
    I just am not sure what to do. I'm sure if i call the hospital tomorrow to complain i'll get transferred here and there and finally to an answering machine or get hung up on or no one will return my call. My mom is going through the change and her hormones are messed up causing dramatic vaginal bleeding. she often wears 3-4 pads at a time, underwear ruined, our chairs have towels on them, it's bad. she had a d/c and removal of polyps, cancer ruled out. no health coverage and medicaid won't help. she's weak, looks pale, gets horrible leg cramps etc. today was no exception and our bathroom looked like an operating room. she's had the problem for almost 2 years and apparently little can be done. she's falling asleep and uncomfortable in the waiting room like she might pass out. after 3 hours of waiting i finally told them she had better get examined right quick. got in there the nurse drew blood, and then helped her clean up and changed her bed. so far good, that nurse was an angel. the doctor comes though and basically says they can't do anything for her today, she has to make an appointment with her gynecologist which of course is ALWAYS SO BUSY, might not see her for a couple months. meanwhile she was told if she had problems to go to the ER. then they draw more blood. her count was ok so no transfusion or anything. another guy comes in to start an iv and mom asked for what and he didn't know! so she wouldn't let him so he takes his cart and leaves. another nurse comes in says here's your paper you can leave. she had to go to the bathroom and told them that but they wouldn't even give her anything to cover with to go out in the hall. i won't say what my loving mother did next but well a mess was made. her pants were soaked from blood so she had to leave in a hospital gown, no scrub pants were offered to walk out in the cold. and they didn't even really offer a wheelchair since she is weak and gets light headed. i pulled my car up had the heater going and luckily had a blanket in the car. i realize it's christmas but god last christmas i worked 3 days later i was terminated from my job because they wouldn't hold my position for recovery and 2 days after that i was in the operating room having surgery. medicaide won't help me either. i'm soon to be a nurse, helping people, and no one cares when you or a loved one is sick. what is this world coming to?
    I work in the ED & do a lot of Triage. Unfortunately, the average wait in an American ED is 3.5 hours. When several patients are waiting to be seen, the sickest go back first. I have had people with MI's who drive themselves in instead of calling 911 & trying to explain that to other's waiting without violating Hippa, is very difficult.Plus, all the ambos that come in, need to be triaged as well. Waiting for 2 years to fix the same problem seems like too much time to me. Chronic problems need to be properly addressed by a regular doctor. The ED is for rescue situations, to stablize patients. I'm very sorry about your mother's situation & I hope when you finish your nursing degree, you will see things from the other side of the fence as well. Seeing a loved one suffer is truly difficult. Frequently, techs or other nursing staff are sent in to start IV's & draw blood don't have the time to find out what the pt's problem is. However, trying to be as cooperative as possible with care, is a definite plus to get better help. Sorry to say this, but pt.'s who are argumentative or combative with staff, don't get cared for as soon as someone who truly wants to be helped. Also, the ED doesn't have extra scrub pants or other articles of clothing for your mother to wear home. We are lucky to find a pillow! Hope is all works out & my best thoughts to you.
  14. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Unfortunately, health care is a commodity in America. Health care is not an individual right.

    Those with money and/or superb health insurance are treated the best when receiving care in health care facilities. If you flip the coin, those with less money and no health insurance must resort to treatment in overcrowded urban hospitals or low-cost clinics where patients are not treated well.

    I'd hate to admit this, but your mother might have had a better experience in the ER if she was an 'economically viable' patient. Economically viable patients have the means to pay for good health care via health insurance, cash, and other assets. Many health care facilities do not wish to deal with patients who have no way to pay for the services rendered.

    I am sorry for what is happening to your mother. She deserves to be treated as a living, breathing, dignified person.
    I know what you are saying is true, but looks can also be deceiving. My sister is married to a multi-millionaire (won't say just how many times over, but will say he retired and sold his company for the millions in the $$$ digits). Anyway, she has a young child (the people at the peds office thought she was the grandma :uhoh21: ) and when they found out she didn't have health insurance they have treated her differently, suggesting she go get on some medicaid program called "Children First" or something like that. All she told them is that she didn't think they would "qualify." I know they look at her differently than insured patients, they just don't realize she is so wealthy she can afford to be self insured. And when they don't think you have a means to pay the options they offer you decrease greatly.
    I have health insurance but it's so crummy I still can't afford to go to the doctor. But in my pre-work years I learned health care is a privledge and not a right when I went to the ER with a severe gallstone attack and as soon as the doctor found out I was uninsured he said it wasn't an emergency and sent me home. I mean, he didn't even make an attempt to conceal the reason he was ditching me. But when we hear someone doesn't have helath insurance we shouldn't be so quick to assume they are indigent. I'll bet my sister isn't the only case of someone who has so much money it isn't worth it to buy healthcare insurance.

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