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Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Mar 19, 2019 4:33 pm

My husband has Stage IV Colon Cancer and we live in Selkirk, Mb. Due to the spread of his Cancer we have had to visit our Hospital and our emergency dept., lately it has been quite frequent unfortunately. Our last visit was a couple weeks ago due to blood clots. We arrived at 6am in the morning and it wasn't until 14 hours later that they finally admitted him.The on-call emergency doctor was awful on his treatment of my husband, my husband was in so much pain and he asked the doctor about getting relief and the doctor literally raised his voice to him and told him "we gave you 2mg of Hydromorphine you shouldn't be in that much pain".He asks my husbands pain scale and then tells him that, how would he know how much pain he is in??? I told him my husband takes 10X that amount at home plus other medications and asked him if he even looked at his chart to see that he has Stage IV Colon Cancer and he replies "yes,yes I know" in such a tone that really upset me. The nurses that came in were so rough with my husband and I was getting so upset, do nurses and doctors not have compassion training? What do you do when the only person that can help him, treats him like dirt? What am I to do? My husbands oncologist told us if there is ever a problem take him to emergency which is what I have been doing but I have so much apprehension taking him sometime because of doctors like this one. My husband spent a week in the hospital to help with the movement of the blood clots but what we went through in emergency to get him the help was torture. I wish that they could have someway that Cancer patients echarts could be flagged and have recommended treatments or contact with patients Oncologists. I was wondering if anyone else has had problems like this? As a family member watching your loved one in so much pain I have to say it is Brutal, I feel so defeated on what to do....

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Elsie13 on Mar 19, 2019 11:02 pm

What a terrible situation for your husband, binman‍ , and for you, too. Were you treated better on other emergency visits?  Yes, I think the chart should be flagged, or patients in your husband's situation should perhaps wear a special wristband. Did you ever report back to the oncologist about what happened? 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by ACH2015 on Mar 20, 2019 4:58 am

binman‍ 

I am sorry to hear of the experience you and your husband went through in the emergency department.

Advocating for your husband is the best thing to do. If this is not the hospital your husband's oncologist is from, perhaps have a letter prepared  by the oncologist that outlines his condition, pain medications including dosages and a brief letter to help get through the basics at the emergency department. Bring a copy with you to give to the triage nurse and hopefully this can break the ice toward getting better and quicker treatment levels.

Don't feel or be defeated. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. I hope this helps if there is a next time in the emergency department. Poor treatment is not something we need to accept, and if it continues don't be afraid to address it as you see fit. With the doctor or the hospital administration.

Keep well

ACH2015

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Mar 20, 2019 3:22 pm

ACH2015‍ thank you for the idea, I had not thought of getting a detailed report from his oncologist to bring to emergency. I will contact him and see if he would do that.
Also thank you for kind words.

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Mar 20, 2019 3:32 pm

Hi Elsie13
Yes other visits he was treated very well, the other Dr.'s seemed to know immediately  what to do they knew certain pain medications would not do anything for him because terminal cancer patients have a higher tolerance. Also they explained step by step what there treatment plan was but this last time and there was a few other times this had happened. I did let his oncologist know and have forwarded a written complaint about this incident. Thank you for asking.

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Mar 21, 2019 10:06 am

Oh, binman‍ , I’m glad you have filed a formal complaint. I know it’s time consuming, but hospital administrators can’t be everywhere in their facility.

I once wrote a letter to the CEO of my local hospital after I’d had to spend a whole day in emerg trying to figure out a chest pain issue. My letter was for a happier reason, though. In that case, the staff was professional and courteous at all times, and I wanted to let her know about the level of care I saw them giving not only myself, but others in the department, too. 

I’m sorry you were pressed into writing for such a dire reason.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by ChristineH on Mar 21, 2019 11:02 am

Hi binman‍, I’m sorry you have had to experience such challenging visits. 

I’ve had a few myself (although not as bad as you) and I now do something different regarding pain. I bring my meds with me to the hospital. I know you’re not supposed to, but I now refuse to be left in pain for hours. So far, so good. Nobody has had a problem with it. The day I’ll encounter a nurse or doctor who says something, my plan is to play stupid. And play stupid every time if I need to! 😃
“Never a horse, always a zebra”

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Victoriamaitland1997 on Apr 11, 2019 7:53 pm

We had a similar situation bringing my dad into emerge. The on call doctor at the time told us we shouldn't have brought him in for his sever dehydration "because hes going to pass away anyways". We made a report against her and were told that shes just blunt. 

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Jun 11, 2019 2:00 pm

Yes it is unfortunate that when you talk to Cancer Care or your oncologist they tell you to go to the nearest Emergency but the treatment you get sometimes is not worth the wait. Sometimes it has gotten so bad my husband wanted to take his own life, what an awful, awful feeling...

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Elsie13 on Jun 12, 2019 5:56 pm

Victoriamaitland1997‍ That was terrible, what the doctor said.  binman‍ , it's awful your husband feels that way.  ChristineH‍ , Cynthia Mac‍ , ACH2015‍ , anyone hearing anything about a card that an oncology patient would carry with them? 
 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Jun 12, 2019 9:11 pm

Not one of the tagged ones Elsie13‍ but I have a red card that I carry given to me by my oncologist for use in emergency. Primarily it is because I am immuno-compromised. But I would use it to explain my situation if I needed to. I also carry a list of my recent prescriptions given to me by my pharmacy each time they change. Furthermore I carry a folder with all my recent test results and any explanations that I have been given of treatment protocols (and emergency rations - protein bars etc.) As someone who has worked in technology I just don't trust it enough to have everything available.

I've had a few trips to ER over the last year. None were life threatening - just procedures that couldn't be done in my doctors office. I found staff to be helpful and kind. I've had a few discussions with them about visiting tips "Don't come in on Welfare Wednesdays cause we're always super busy." Another one was to come early in the morning. The night's emergencies have been cleaned up and people haven't started to come in with the "I woke up and this terrible thing happened." yet.

binman‍ Documenting the poor treatment and filing a complaint is one way to have the situation looked and changed in the future. In the  moment though it can be quite traumatic. I went through a similar situation with two paramedics moving my wife from the hospital to hospice. As a trained first aid attendant myself I knew what the protocols should be.  They treated her like a slab of meat starting to move her from the hospital bed to the transfer cot. I was on the phone another doctor explaining that we wouldn't be needing his surgery services at that moment. I hung up, looked at them and said "Please treat my wife with respect and do the transfer properly. Explain to her what you are going to do. Get the help you need. She can assist you and it will go much more smoothly." At which point there was an amazing turnaround in attitude. Knowing what is needed and asking for it clearly and courteously can go a long way in getting respect.

The final days are never easy. Don't let a bad interaction mar it and leave you bitter.

Angus
My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Jun 13, 2019 3:22 pm

WestCoastSailor:
Not one of the tagged ones Elsie13‍ but I have a red card that I carry given to me by my oncologist for use in emergency. Primarily it is because I am immuno-compromised. But I would use it to explain my situation if I needed to. I also carry a list of my recent prescriptions given to me by my pharmacy each time they change. Furthermore I carry a folder with all my recent test results and any explanations that I have been given of treatment protocols (and emergency rations - protein bars etc.) As someone who has worked in technology I just don't trust it enough to have everything available.

I've had a few trips to ER over the last year. None were life threatening - just procedures that couldn't be done in my doctors office. I found staff to be helpful and kind. I've had a few discussions with them about visiting tips "Don't come in on Welfare Wednesdays cause we're always super busy." Another one was to come early in the morning. The night's emergencies have been cleaned up and people haven't started to come in with the "I woke up and this terrible thing happened." yet.

binman‍ Documenting the poor treatment and filing a complaint is one way to have the situation looked and changed in the future. In the  moment though it can be quite traumatic. I went through a similar situation with two paramedics moving my wife from the hospital to hospice. As a trained first aid attendant myself I knew what the protocols should be.  They treated her like a slab of meat starting to move her from the hospital bed to the transfer cot. I was on the phone another doctor explaining that we wouldn't be needing his surgery services at that moment. I hung up, looked at them and said "Please treat my wife with respect and do the transfer properly. Explain to her what you are going to do. Get the help you need. She can assist you and it will go much more smoothly." At which point there was an amazing turnaround in attitude. Knowing what is needed and asking for it clearly and courteously can go a long way in getting respect.

The final days are never easy. Don't let a bad interaction mar it and leave you bitter.

Angus

Hi, WestCoastSailor
I was clear on what he needed and also courteous in the beginning but when you are continuously ignored it takes it's toll on you. I was specific on his diagnoses what treatments he was getting but didn't seem to matter to this particular doctor or nurses. Then what do you do? These are the people you have to rely on, no choices there...but thank you for your suggestions though I will do that on next visit to Emergency because I know there will be a next time..
binman

 

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by LPPK on Jun 15, 2019 9:22 am

WestCoastSailor‍   Another good reason to keep a health binder and take it for all doctor/hospital visits.

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Jan 15, 2020 6:29 pm

I posted about this before and had taken everyone's suggestion about having updated echart papers, a list of medications etc. had all paperwork about the recent diagnoses of my husbands Stage IV Colon Cancer ready for them and they accepted the papers asked to copy them saying that it was good to know.I figured okay all is good they have a understanding of what he has but I was Wrong. Everytime a nurse came in it was back to explaining the situation, me telling them over and over again what pain medication will work on him, what won't and all the while listening to him scream in pain for hours, I am so,so frustrated. Also because of the time we went to Emergency at about 11 pm and being there for hours we caught the shift change and then back to square one. During all this his Colostomy Bag broke, so he had feces all over him and nobody would clean him. I asked the nurses to help and their answer was and I quote " We have no Colostomy bags here so put a towel over him" ....What????  You mean to tell me any patient who comes in with Colostomy Bag is out of luck !!!! It was a good thing that I live close to Selkirk General Hospital because I then told them I will go home and get his supplies and do it myself, so when I had gotten back and as i am walking to his room the nurses tell me they cleaned him a bit but all they did was throw a towel over his bag and he was still in his dirty gown and sheets. Can anyone tell me what Hospital doesn't have Colostomy bags?? It wasn't like these nurses were overworked because this was the shift change, thank goodness their was one nurse there that was more then willing to help me, she was so kind and caring and I think she was a little embarrassed.....I had written hospital, contacted Cancer support, complained to whoever would listen but to no avail, my husband and myself are at the point of just giving up, he doesn't want to fight for his life and I just tired of fighting with health care society and I don't know what to do anymore......Thank You for listening

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Rayline on Jan 15, 2020 9:11 pm

That is a terrible experience for you and your husband. Really no bags? But you did finally get a sweetie of a nurse. Is there someone who can help you so you do not feel so overwhelmed with everything? Take care and I am thinking of you.

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Kims1961 on Jan 15, 2020 10:02 pm

binman‍ I am so sorry that you and your husband had to go through this.  You are right, this is unacceptable.  

Is there a way to have some palliative support involved?  Do you have a family doctor that can help? 

You describe your frustrations within the healthcare system well. There may be a time later to debrief with what happened at the hospital, but in the meantime I am concerned about your husband and you. Can you think of some ways that might be helpful for your husband? Would it be pain management? Symptom management? Do you have other supports that can help you navigate these difficult waters?  Rayline‍  made some good points about this.

I had an emergency bag in my car - extra meds, clothes , towel, blanket and some "barf" bags.  I learned to have these the hard way.

Please let us know how you're doing.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Jan 16, 2020 12:11 am

Kims1961
Thank you for your words and I have spoken to Palliative Care but they won't step in until he decides not to receive Chemotherapy anymore they said. We are lucky that his Oncologist is also a pain management specialist Dr. Paul Daeninck from St.Boniface and he is wonderful but we live in Rural town and don't have a choice on what emergency to go to. My husbands pain is managed well but this last time he had a severe infection in his Kidney and his stint was blocked so that was what was causing him so much pain, so I knew his current meds were not going to control it and tried to tell them. It's unfortunate that family members are the relied upon source of care when taken to a Hospital, that is the one place a family member Should find Relief and not the source of further frustration. I now have a bag packed for the future. TY

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Whitelilies on Jan 16, 2020 3:52 pm

binman‍ hello.

I am listening.
I am disgusted that ANY  hospital "claims" to have NO Colostomy bags!!??  Downright inhumane.
I am fuming.  Did they run out of band-aids too? Aspirin?
A towel is UNhygenic.
I am so sad you were "forced" /no option but to get his OWN products from home.
I guess human dignity, fell to the wayside.

I wish you both well....keep at it....keep strong.....please keep trying to go forward......Tomorrow will be BETTER than today.

I had an Ieostomy Bag for 6 months......my dignity was shattered at times too; trust me on that.
Please chuckle now; a Home Care Nurse, came to my home...to "change my bag" AND provide lesson....she looked at me and said " We will change it in 4 more days.....it does NOT to be changed now !"

OMG

Lillian

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by binman on Jan 16, 2020 4:45 pm

Whitelilies:
binman‍ hello.

I am listening.
I am disgusted that ANY  hospital "claims" to have NO Colostomy bags!!??  Downright inhumane.
I am fuming.  Did they run out of band-aids too? Aspirin?
A towel is UNhygenic.
I am so sad you were "forced" /no option but to get his OWN products from home.
I guess human dignity, fell to the wayside.

I wish you both well....keep at it....keep strong.....please keep trying to go forward......Tomorrow will be BETTER than today.

I had an Ieostomy Bag for 6 months......my dignity was shattered at times too; trust me on that.
Please chuckle now; a Home Care Nurse, came to my home...to "change my bag" AND provide lesson....she looked at me and said " We will change it in 4 more days.....it does NOT to be changed now !"

OMG

Lillian

                Hi Whitelillies,

                We had just come from an appointment with homecare, they will be coming in to change his bandage on his Nephrostomy tube, but I said I would do his Colostomy Bag still because he feels more comfortable with me doing it. We did have a long discussion about what had taken place. The one thing I did find odd is that they had no information on my Husband and no history other then his name but they are coming twice a week so it's something. Thank you for your support and understanding
 

Re: Emergency doctors/nurses not having compassion for Cancer patient or Family.

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 16, 2020 6:00 pm

Hi binman‍ , as others have said,  you did a great job of documenting the situation. Once you’ve had a chance to review, I would prepare a letter to the CEO of the hospital in question, with dates, and times, and numbers (you probably don’t have names) of the staff involved. (You might want to make a few more brief notes on this.)

I’m a firm believer in taking the time to write “good news” letters for CEOs, too, and I’ve done so when I received excellent care in my local emerg department, however, they also need to be aware when their staff misses the mark so badly.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying