Kathy Bassett: Trouble at TMH
December 23, 2012
This letter is appearing in three parts in the Craig Daily Press' print edition. The letter appears here in its entirety.
To the editor:
Now that we have had the privilege of reading the comments and thoughts from the hospital administration employees discussing the quality of care issues and the impact on the community resulting from physician departures, I would like to put in my 2 cents worth as a patient!
I've had to come to TMH on several occasions in the past 3 years. The longest stay I had was over 3 weeks and then re-admission for another week or so. Since then I've been in the hospital a few more times with two of them being this year.
It is not fun to be in a hospital and I'd rather be anywhere else but why do we go to hospitals except to be treated so that we can get healthy and well again.
I would interrupt at this point to say that I can't complain about the quality of the nurse care. Most of the nurses were excellent and helpful and in fact went way beyond the call of duty to take care of me.
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I tried my best to not be a complainer or bother them as I knew I wasn't the only one in the hospital needing care. There were only a couple nurses that were lazier than a hound dog on a hot sunny day.
Also, the office ladies I dealt with, the Lab people, respiratory therapists and physical therapists were excellent.
What I do not like is the fact that a patient has to see different doctors. Doctors we don't know and Doctors that don't know us.
How can anyone bond with a Dr that you never see except in the hospital. Do they care how you feel?
I've been told that some of your favorite Drs get to come and see their patients. Yet, Mine wasn't even notified a couple times when I was there.
The first time I was in the hospital, I was allowed to have my physician, one that I totally trusted and always pulled up a chair, sat down and really talked to me.
Yes, it was Dr. Troy Phillips. Whenever I had to go for check-ups and visits, he pulled out that chair and talked and if he didn't have answers, he made sure he found out the answers right away and passed them on.
I know that he was a very busy Doctor so it meant a great deal that he would take the time to explain things and make a patient feel like they were very important.
I can honestly say that I fully believe all his patients felt like they were the most important person at the moment. He never rushed you or made you feel like you should hurry up and get out of his office because he had someone else to tend to.
Unlike the personal care I received from Dr. Phillips, at the hospital I was seen by two different physicians and therefore was getting two different stories and feeling like a guinea pig.
What I heard was, "You don't have this diagnosis, you have a different diagnosis!" "This medicine didn't work, let's try this one." "That one didn't work, we'll see if a different one will work."
Not to mention that I suddenly came down with an ear infection on top of everything else and it was four days before the doctor would look at my ear despite the nurses asking him to do so time and again.
After he finally meandered into my room and examined me, he declared that there was some ear inflammation. It was another 4 hours before he got medicine delivered.
TMH lost an extremely important blood test that was done on me. I have no way of knowing if I was charged for that blood test — nobody can read their billing statements.
So I had to have it done over
And of course I have saved the best for last!
People do worry about me, so when they would ask about my condition and I related to them how I felt like a guinea pig because of the ever-changing diagnosis, they called a nurse who called Ms. Riley.
I have no way of knowing what the nurse said to her but just as they delivered my meal one afternoon, here came Ms. Riley storming into my room ranting and raving like a banshee. The nurse left her a voicemail and she wanted to know what was going on.
I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about and I had nothing to do with any voicemails but she was on a roll. I told her people come to the hospital to get well rather than lay there feeling depressed and discouraged.
That set her off again and her voice rose up another decibel. Then she started yelling about what she could do for me.
I told her she could do nothing. She grabbed my table and tried to lift it up so I could "reach my food better" but couldn't do it so went storming out in the hall and told a nurse to get in there and get my table raised up.
Then she grabbed my Kindle Fire and tried to plug it in to recharge it for me and couldn't get the cord plugged in, so put it all down and as she flew out the door, muttered about how all she needed to do was break my Kindle Fire!
I sure do hope I don't have to come back to the hospital, but if I do, I don't ever want to see her face in my room again. I might have to crawl out of bed and hobble down the hall to chase her back to her cubbyhole.
When I heard Dr. Phillips was leaving I (along with many others) was devastated.
A day or two after he left, we all got letters from Ms. Riley who listed doctors that were available to see us. So I chose one.
Let me quickly point out that the little blurb Mr. Rohrich had on the front page of the third in the series of TMH stories is a whole bunch of cow pasture pies.
Not one time did Dr. Phillips ever have his nurse tell me that he was not seeing anyone for a week or two, Dr. Phillips was out of town, Dr. Phillips was too busy, etc. Let me quickly assure you that Dr. Phillips was always available.
Then, the new Dr I chose did a culture on my ankle. It took three or four weeks to find out the results because — yep you guessed it — "The Dr is out of town. The Dr had not read the results yet. We can't find your test results, they aren't back yet."
So I've lived with staph infection in my foot now for two months and it is slowly getting better, but why should I have to live like this?
It doesn't do any good to call the TMH clinic as calls are seldom returned.
So, Mr. Rohrich and Ms. Riley, when you shoved Dr. Phillips and Dr. Pense out of town you did Craig a great injustice!
Dr. Phillips was supposed to stay until my Chemo Therapy was all finished. Dr. Pense was supposed to do another procedure on me and now I can't have that done either.
I didn't know any of the other doctors that left, but they must also have been quality.