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emergency room attitude toward pain management patients
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emergency room attitude toward pain management patients

Please read. I know it is lengthy (believe me there is so much more) but I am desperate for advice.

My 46 year old husband is a pain mgmt patient. 60 mg morphine sulfate (the 12 hour, not get high type) This year he has been admitted to the hospital through the emergency room seven times for intractable vomiting and diarrhea. (six, one time was for a massive heart attack). They are never able to control in the er, and he ends up admitted for 3-4 days.

The first episode happened feb 1 of this year. We have group insurance, he keeps every appt with primary and specialists and is compliant with meds, never runs out or takes too many, no drinking or smoking and an almost perfect diet. Docs dont know what is wrong. He has over nine specialists. Although meds (he is on 15 total) may play a role, they never lower or discontinue any. We ask to discharge some. Just last Sunday he was discharged with three new ones to add to the list. (fyi new meds = $120 per month)

Our problem is that the emergency room personnel only see the morphine and pain management and treat us with interrogation, disgust and disrespect. It is such a bad feeling for patients and families who need compassionate care to be treated so rudely. One doc, this last time, even told me he sees several cases like this everyday due to pain management. When I began asking questions like, what is their diagnosis?, do you have to admit them, or can we try and get him out with out admission this time?, how do they treat it so it doesnt come back? With these few questions the doc changed the subject and said sometimes something else is going on and he is going to order a ct abdomen and rule out other things.

Another thing I notice is that the docs dont come see us. We can see them sitting at the desk, but a 30 sec visit is the most we have had. I dont think a history has been taken since the first time. If I try to give info I am told they know he has been here before, they have the record. I try to tell the nurses eveything, but they are quick in and out. Also I am left to do all the vomit diarrhea work.change the sheets, keep iv line untangled, get him to the commode.  It is so gross. I cry every single time. It is so stressful.

In addition to worrying about my husbands life, his diagnosis, our kids at home, how we are going to pay, How am I going to tell my boss I cant come in again………… I have to figure out how to get these nurses and docs on our side. How do I get a kind word or smile? Or just a “we are going to help”.  I cant believe how much I dread going back there, not for the shear disturbance of a life on the line, but dreading the blacklist attitude.

Why should we have to contend with this?  Twice they documented drug withdrawal (one time he was due to vomiting and diarrhea times three days, the other was not as the drug screening showed opiates and my husb had only missed one dose since vomiting) Another doc even wrote "frequent flyer" in the discharge summary. Is this even ethical? Does it show the bias that we feel?

I am so so sick of this.  We have been referred to shands gainesville but until we find a diagnosis, we have to go there for emergency care.
Any advice?
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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356518_tn?1322267242
I am so sorry your husband and yourself are having such horrible experiences with the ER department. They do get alot of people looking for drugs and they tend to treat everyone this way. Did you know that any complaints goes against the hospital and the doctors themselves! I would start complaining big time. They do not want any complaints on file as it ruins their records. COMPLAIN and get the treatment you both deserve.
I live close to Gainesville and know that Shands is a great hospitial. I have been there and always been treated with respect. I would give it a try:)
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765775_tn?1366028291
I would also suggest to bring the Morphine with you so these inconsiderate people can see that he is not abusing his medication and he is not there trying to get more medication.

I would make a formal complaint. Any doctor that would write that is an A**HOLE!

I hope your husband feels better soon and you find the problem. I think you are on the right track with him being on too many meds. Morphine makes me nauseous when they give it to me after surgery.

I really hope he feels better. I have been there, so I know what he is going through.  
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535089_tn?1400677119
Hello Llynn00 and welcome to the Pain Forum.

I am very sorry that this has happened to you over and over. I do not know anything about Shands Hospital but have located a phone # for you so that you may make a complaint.

Telling your Husband by writing "frequent fly-er" is inexcusable to say the least. The way you have been treated is truly to be desired. From what I have gathered, the Hospital is a teaching Hospital and have many young Doctors who are still in the teaching process themselves. I feel that they are in need of learning compassion and bedside manners and maybe by making a complaint, you might make them learn that they cannot treat a patient that way....no matter what the situation.

I really hope that you use this phone # and make that complaint. I feel that this is the only way to remedy the situation. I'm confident that the Doctors in question will be addressed. After all, it is a part of the learning process. Below is the complaint #.......
Good luck in the future, Please take care,
Mollyrae

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If your concern(s) cannot be resolved at this level, you may register a complaint with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations by calling (630) 268-7400.
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356518_tn?1322267242
She was saying that they were referred to Shands.
Shands is not the hospitial that treated then in this manner. I have been to Shands and they do treat their Pts with respect in my experience.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Not only should you submit written complaints you should use a different ER. Your husband does not have to be treated in this atrociously rude manner.

I do not understand your statement that you have to go to this particular ER. My PCP admitting hospital is almost an hour from my home. When I have had an emergency (kidney stones recently) I go to our local hospital ER. They treat and diagnose me, in fact they have wanted to admit me on several occasions. So I don't understand why you feel you have to return to this particular ER.

Please let us know how you and your husband are doing. And as always good luck and take care.
Tuck
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356518_tn?1322267242
Most hospitals lose valuable money when complaints are made against them. I have read where they get bonus' as well as the doctors when they have no complaints.
I would call the hospitial and find out who you need to see to file a complaint and do it. Also call the number Mollyrae gave you too.
We have to stand up for our rights or no one will.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Your right Sandee. In my state funding is part can be based on patient satisfaction. All hospitals and similar facilities actually do patient surveys via phone and mail.

Usually the hospital Administrator receives all complaints and in this case she should direct another letter of complaint to the Director of Emergency Medicine and the Medical Director. Three separate letters. All letters can be copies of the original with a cc on the bottom of the page listing to whom and where a copy has been sent.

Peace,
Tuck
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535089_tn?1400677119
I'm sorry, I thought the care came from Shands. Anyway, the number listed is for all Hospitals and should be used. I hope this never happenes to anyone.....

Molly
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks to all.

The offending facility is not Shands. We just had our first appt last week. They were wonderful.

as for the use of this particular ER, technically we dont have too. A few reasons we do is that my husband has several specialists who belong to a group who all go to this hospital.

We live out quite far in the country and the choices are slim. Saying that, however, we never see our pcp at the hospital anyway they use hospitalists. The specialists are the same and the docs in this group share electronic medical records with the hospital. In theory it would be the ideal situation.

The main reason I think is that my husband is always vomiting severely with diarrhea and the 20 min to the local hosp is enough. After the episodes we always talk about next time going all the way to the city, but then under acute cirucumstances it is not such a great idea.

Finally I am sure one reason is that I am so hopeful each time we go that with the history they will see and maybe even fix it this time. I know it is nieve, but it is what it is.

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908504_tn?1269107499
http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/Hospital/Search/Welcome.asp?version=default&browser=IE%7C7%7CWindows+Vista&language=English&defaultstatus=0&pagelist=Home

Here is a place where you can compare hospitals. Yes, by all means file a formal complaint. I have been treated like that also and will never go back to that emergency room.  Hugs, Teri
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775302_tn?1253104105
The thought that you have to change the sheets and all that for him in inexcuseable. All hospital Er's are busy and I have been to many but never..... never has my mom or husband had to do a nurses or orderlie's work sorry about spelling, I'm with everyone, You need to be heard and heard loudly. Write the complaints, I might even call the local news if you don't mind the publicity, unless you think that will backfire and another hopsital wont want to treat you fearing you are a trouble maker. I just feel so bad for you I wish I could sign a petition for you or call for you or something to help you. My heart goes out to you. I know it is your husband who is sick but so often we forget the caregivers who have to deal with us on a daily basis. God Bless you and I really hope your husband appreciates what he has in you.

Please keep posting here and update us on what is happening. You are not alone and you never need to be. Best of Luck

XOXO Babs
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