Calling family after surgery

  1. I've been a nurse since 1978. This is a new one on me. My 95 year old Dad fell and broke his hip Saturday. He was taken to the OR at 1:30PM yesterday. The Surgical Resident told us it would take 2-3 hours at best--Plate and srews going in--and they had my # to call when the surgery was over. I called Dad's floor at 5:30 to find out when they took him down as I was getting very nervous. Finally at 7:30 I called the PACU. The nurse there said Dad was with her and asked hasn't anyone called you yet? She paged the Surgeon and while she had me on hold for his page his call went to my answering machine--I have call waiting --so all I heard was "Your father did well."

    My question is: All the times I've assisted in OB surgery and all the times family members have had surgery, the doc calls immediatly after the procedure. I'm a bit pissed. How should I approach this MD so that I can help him avoid putting another family through this wait?
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    About Hardknox

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 519; Likes: 4
    RN

    5 Comments

  3. by   nursemaa
    I had to deal with a very distraught family about a year ago- their mom was taken to surgery and ended up on a vent in ICU but the surgeon never called them!! Needless to say, they were extremely upset. I got the surgeon on the phone and told him he needed to talk with them about what happened. I wonder how he would have felt if it had been his mom?

    If I were you, I would just be honest with the surgeon- let him know that when you didn't get a call, it made you feel very hurt and anxious. Also let him know that families need an update, with support from the surgeon because they have entrusted their loved one's life to him/her- ask him what he would expect if it was his family. Of course, he may get huffy with you but at least you will plant the seed that his job is more than just to cut- he needs to be supportive and provide reassurance to families and patients. Good luck if you decide to talk to him.
  4. by   shodobe
    I have had to deal with surgeons for many years and unless you get him early in his career nothing is really going to change his habits. I know it sounds callous and very impersonal but most surgeons are not going to chase anyone down to give them any news. When patients are in our holding room most family members can come in and be with the patient until going back. We always tell them that the surgeon will either come down to the waiting room right after surgery or will call them on the phone. Most of the surgeons I work with are very good people but have a problem sometimes going face to face with family members, doesn't mean they don't care. Habits are hard to break for these guys. Mike
  5. by   granny7
    I guess I am very lucky. Where I work, the surgeons come out and speak with the family. I call the family to the consultation room and the surgeon talks to them. I also call the family at the start of every case and let them know the patient is in the OR and surgery has started. Our Docs are very good about speaking with the families. If they forget, which they do, the volunteer pages them.
  6. by   Hardknox
    Quote from granny7
    I guess I am very lucky. Where I work, the surgeons come out and speak with the family. I call the family to the consultation room and the surgeon talks to them. I also call the family at the start of every case and let them know the patient is in the OR and surgery has started. Our Docs are very good about speaking with the families. If they forget, which they do, the volunteer pages them.

    Welll Granny7, I wish we had gone to your hospital. Would you consider going to Burlington, MA to Leahy Medical Center and giving them lessons on how things should be done??
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    At our hospital, the surgeons always speak with the family (except for cataract removal).

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