I am an RN, and I just finished litigation with several MD's and RN's over my husbands death. I am unable to go into detail due to a confidentiality clause in the settlement. But I will let you know what was viewed as problems with his care by the RN's and what happened afterward.
1. No documentation--nothing charted by TWO RN's on a major incident that happened during shift change while in report in the ER.
2. MD not notified of major incident in ER
3. Charted deteriorating condition, but RN was not aware it was deteriorating.
4. Failure to call MD as pt. deteriorated over a 12 hour period
5. Actually, all the common issues SirI posted.
Two of the 3 RN's in question were travel nurses that had worked several 12 hr shifts in a row. They were on auto pilot, and just went through the motions of nursing while in the ER.
A simple, I'm sorry goes a very long way. Instead, the hospital and MD's became afraid of me and the issue, and I was on my own. When I felt it was time to DC my husband (after 5 days) off the vent, I had to ask his RN to please call the MD so I could make some arrangements. It was me that brought up organ donation. Not a single RN, caseworker, MD had said a word to me about the subject about DCing him from the vent. I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to approach the subject. I agonized for several days and didn't really know at what point it should be done. The last few hours before I made the decision were surreal.There were, however, a few RN's and one MD who privately expressed their condolences and would talk to me when no one was around. They did not discuss the incident but provided me with support and were very caring. I will forever hold them in my heart as they were the true healthcare professionals.
Hospitals, healthcare providers and malpractice insurance
companies need to re evaluate their approach on how to deal with patients and families after a major issue. A special team trained in post malpractice techniques should be assigned to the family to communicate what is happening. A team approach also helps provide a "witness" as to what is said, and the family also encouraged to have 2 people when speaking with staff. This team would also be responsible to ensure that all of the families needs are being met and any prevention of any further problems. If the family had any questions regarding what happened, they would call the team. By using a team, it would also relieve the RN's caring for the pt. The RN would know they could focus on pt care and the family and not be afraid of having the family try to discuss the incident with them. Any discussion about the incident would be referred to the team. After leaving the hospital several times to go to a hotel to shower and try to sleep, I found out not from the hospital, but another patients family, that rooms were available at the hospital for families. Everyone was so afraid to talk to me that the rooms were never offered. I had never felt so alone in my life, at the time of my greatest need.
As we all know, medical incidents do happen. Care, comfort and open communication still needs to be provided to the pt. as well as the family.
I do not feel I can ever work as an RN again. For more info, read my first thread. I do appreciate being able to view nursing from a distance at allnurses.com.