I want to know what in the world we are ever going to do about the Emergency Room at Peninsula Regional Medical Center? I have NEVER in my life seen or experienced such a pitiful excuse for emergency “health” care. Let me explain…
My sister, 53, was taken by ambulance with possible heart attack to PRMC at approximately 9:45am. She was taken to the trauma room, connected to the monitor and all the protocol’s followed. Her pain was so far above a 10 that she could barely breathe. Due to her heart rate and blood pressure running LOW, she was given a baby dose of morphine, a nitro tablet under her tongue and nitro patch on her chest. Well… of course her pressure continued to run in 90’s (normal 120), her heart rate ran in the 30’s and low 40’s (normal is 60-80), her oxygen level would drop into the 80’s (below 90 you need to have oxygen via nasal canula), and she would stop breathing. Now, I sat by her side, had her hold my hand and squeeze it through the wave of pain, and I continued to remind her to breathe. Where were the nurses you ask? That was my question. The alarm was going off on the monitor, constantly.
After an hour and a half or so, a code red was called. This meant another ambulance was coming in, critical condition. They came into my sister, told us they were going to have to move her to another room due to this other patient coming in. She was taken off the monitor (still in pain), and moved into another room. Everyone left. Did they hook her back up to ANYTHING? Nope! We waited for half an hour before anyone came back into the room, and I had to go get someone to come in and do it! Now, here you have a patient that comes into the emergency room, by ambulance, possible heart attack, low blood pressure, low heart rate, low oxygen, low respiration due to pain, and not attached to any monitors for half an hour! Her pain was still terrible. She couldn’t get pain medication because of having the low blood pressure; she had a headache from the nitro patch, and complained of such terrible dizziness. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I had to ask the “nurse?” if she didn’t think that my sister needed to be on oxygen, since her O2 was running 88! She thought that was a good idea!!!!
Of course, the monitor’s alarm was continuing to go off quite often due to her heart rate dropping below 38, so, in comes someone (have no clue who), and says he was going to change the settings on the monitor because the alarm was a pain, and didn’t need to be going off so often. I made the comment that it was going off because of her heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels going so low, and didn’t he think they needed to know what was going on. I was informed they could see it at the desk.
Finally, at approximately 12:30, I went out of the room, found someone, made the comment that my sister had been brought in by ambulance that morning with a possible heart attack, and it was now 12:30, I thought maybe it was time that we saw a doctor! It wasn’t many minutes before this person came in the room dressed in a t-shirt and blue pants. She leaned over my sister, turned off the television, stated that the tests so far didn’t show anything but that they knew something was going on and that as soon as they knew something they would let her know. No introduction, no how are you feeling, nothing. My sisters’ fiancé, trying to “lighten” this person’s mood just a little, asked what was ailing her then. The woman (I will assume was the doctor) said, “And who are you?” We just looked at her. She finally said, “We don’t know what’s ailing her.” She then left the room. This doctor was obnoxious. She didn’t know what we had just been through in the last thirty days. Nor, apparently, did she care that we were sitting there watching our loved one in excruciating pain or that I was a nurse and understood what the monitors numbers meant!
Just to give you just a little background, my 37 year old son passed away, complications from cardiomegaly, a 53 year old friend past away from cardiac arrest, now my sister in the ER with possible heart attack! All this within thirty days, and this “doctor” wants to be ugly, nobody wants to address the monitor alarms, her pain, even to just give us any updates at all? I had to leave the room to ask if they were going to run any more fluids or did they want me to disconnect her EMPTY IV bag.
At 2:30, a lady came in the room, and said, “You know you are being admitted?” Our answer was “No”. We hadn’t seen anyone since the nurse had come in to disconnect the IV bag. Nobody came in my sisters’ room except one very sweet nurse; apologizing for the care my sister had been given. She had been pulled to the other trauma and another nurse had been assigned to my sister. The other nurse had never come into the room.
So, here we have a possible heart attack patient brought into the ER, by ambulance, in severe pain, low blood pressure, low heart rate, low oxygen saturation, low respirations with basically no care for almost five (5) hours! The only time anyone entered her room was when we went and complained, except when taken for a cat scan. I thought cardiac enzymes were to be drawn every so often? When did that change?
As it turns out, after my sister got to her room, cardiac enzymes were drawn again, and she had in fact, had a heart attack! And believe it or not, most likely, the “wave” of pain she was having in the ER is exactly when she was having the worse of it! Thank goodness, the cardiac catherization showed there was no damage done. Apparently a clot had run through her heart.
I can’t say enough about 2W. Everyone on that floor, from the nurses to housekeeping was WONDERFUL! They are the most caring group of people. They made us all feel like the most important people there. What a great group! Maybe PRMC needs to have these folks teach the ER how to treat people.
Now, my next problem…why in the world do you send a patient home in less than 24 hours after having a heart attack? I don’t care how “mild” or how “severe” the heart attack is, I don’t think that having a cardiac cath at 8:30pm one day means you can go home at lunch time the next day. Patients don’t have enough time to hardly realize exactly what has even happened to them, much less know if the medication they are put on is going to work or what the reaction is going to be from that medication! My sister was given prescriptions for medication that she hadn’t even had in the hospital. Now how would anyone know if she had a negative reaction to one of these medications when she was home during the day, alone? What if the medication lowered her blood pressure or heart rate so low that she just stopped breathing? Why, when she was still having pain was she sent home? What if she had another clot? I realize there are always going to be “what if’s” but don’t you think more than 20 hours in the hospital are needed for a heart attack? Is PRMC afraid that the VA isn’t going to pay them? What about the patient, or don’t they care?
I was one that used to defend our hospital. I was proud of Peninsula General Hospital. Peninsula Regional Medical Center was pretty good also, for a while, until they started worrying about the Almighty Dollar instead of the patient care. I can say that PRMC’s operating room, recovery room, same day surgery, ICU, 2W, Layfield tower, and a few other parts of the hospital are very good but the ER?, not on your life.
I definitely understand now why people say they are going to the morgue when they are headed to the ER. I tried to defend the ER, but after this experience with my sister, never again. I will tell anyone to go somewhere, anywhere else. If she had a massive heart attack, I’m afraid she would have died right there. No one would have ever known what was going on.
For an area as big as Salisbury and our surrounding towns, and a hospital as big as Peninsula Regional Medical Center is, this ER is just a disgrace. I’m actually embarrassed for the good people that do work there.
Since PRMC is soooo concerned with HIPPA, I won’t sign my name… I’m sure the ones involved know who they are!