Sunday, November 13, 2005

Update on the Conscious Surgery

On Thursday night, I got a phone call from the RN who is the
Director of Surgical Services at the hospital where I had surgery,

She apologized to me for about 10 minutes. It would have been
better if it wasn't on my TV night, but hey, I'll take what I can get.
She sounded sincere. She said that when she read my (4-page)
letter, she was just sick. She said they have meetings all the time,
and her nurses are told that they may not think people can hear
them, but they might, and some might remember it. She said she
knows who was in that OR because she checked the log, and that
they will get a warning that any other incidents like this will be
grounds for dismissal.

She also asked if she could use my letter at one of her monthly
meetings. I told her it was OK if they didn't know who I was.
She said she wants to emphasize to them that they certainly
wouldn't want their mother or sister to be treated that way.
She said that she hoped I'd come back--not because something
was wrong and I needed surgery--but that I would continue
to use that hospital. She thought I needed to bring it up with
the surgeon, but I don't want to do that.

Anyhoo, at least I got an apology. That's the least they could
do. An apology is much cheaper than a lawsuit. But really, that
RN sounded like she meant it. She said she has been an OR
nurse for 22 years, and this was very upsetting to her. Yeah.
To me too.


Blogger Kim said...

I would bring it up with the surgeon. He needs to be aware of what happened. His behavior was unwarranted, but the fact that you woke up was the fault of the anesthesiologist. He needs to know that you REALLY woke up and remember what happened.

If after talking to him about it, you feel that he was unsympathetic, I'd formally complain to the AMA about him and the anesthesiologist.

10:41 PM  
Blogger MamaKBear said...

I agree with really is the fault of the anesthesiologist...he obviously didn't give you enough drugs to keep you out during the whole surgery.

But the surgeon sure seemed kinda heartless in your account of the situation.."Sure she's awake, but will she remember?" geez...

If you don't talk to him about it, at least send him and anyone else responsible a copy of your letter.

I'm glad somebody has taken you seriously and that you've at least received an apology.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
I would also raise the issue with the doctor, but not directly.
What you should do is go bac to visit him again, and just say something like "Oh remember the last time we spoke...." When he as no idea what you are talking about, reply with "You know, it was during my operation, but don't worry, I've only told the medical board about it, so everything is fine."
That should make him think twice about doing something like that again.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Chickadee said...

I agree with Kim's advice and I like Rebecca's words to the doctor.

Both doctors need to be aware of this BIG mistake. There may be others who have woken up during the surgery and have not said a word either. Your words to the doctor (or the AMA) may save another person a lot of pain, and perhaps even their life.

Or a letter. If you're not comfortable talking directly to the doctor, write a letter to both the doctor and his office manager. Make a copy of that letter. If you don't get a response from him, write to the AMA and include a copy of that letter to let them know what a schmuck your surgeon was.

Good luck

5:38 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Thank you all for the suggestions. I agree that I woke up because of the anesthesiologist. The main one that talked to me was not in the room once they gave me something in the IV. I don't know how it works. There was another guy behind my head that may have been in charge of that. I know it was not the same guy--the main one was Black, and the other one wasn't.

The nurses were not without fault, what with their conversations and arguing over who had to do what to me.

I didn't talk to the surgeon about it, since he had gone on and on about how he hated to talk to patients in his office. I was uncomfortable and wanted to get out as soon as I could. This is a small hospital, with only 2 surgeons in that "special procedures" office. I don't want to be known as the complainer that nobody wants to treat.

So...I will take all of your suggestions under advisement. I wish I had the guts to go through with Rebecca's idea, but I am gutless.

6:47 PM  
Blogger coffee and cigarettes said...

Nurses are stupid to think that patients can't hear them. One of my friends who is a nurse got that drummed into her head when she started working in the intensive care unit of Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. I remember a few days after my injury before I woke up from the induced coma I was in, two nurses were standing next to me giving each other hand over.

"She hasn't woken up yet, but it would be nice if she did, like if her family could see her before it happens"

"Oh, so this one's not going to make it?"

"Probably not, and she'll most likely have brain damage if she does"

REMINDER: 9 times out of 10 we CAN hear you bitches!

But back to your case, my host father in Germany was an anaesthetist and is consistently horrified by stories of people waking up, according to him it is sheer slackness on behalf of the anaesthetist, or people lying about how much they smoke and drink, but considering that doesn't factor into your situation is definitely the fault of the anaesthetist

11:38 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

What you heard was worse than what I heard!

And I agree that it was the anesthesiologist's problem, because I don't smoke or drink, and gave the correct weight and medication history.

When my dad was dying, the hospice nurses told us that hearing is the last sense to go, so don't be planning the funeral and saying things that would be upsetting, because they can hear but can't respond. Not that it has anything to do with this situation, but it's interesting to find that out.

7:52 AM  

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