Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Disturbing Hospital Screw-ups

The front page of the paper ran a story about another major screw up at our local hospital. This one was about a nurse stealing Fen_tanyl and replacing it with saline. Fen_tanyl is a drug they use to kill pain during surgery. I winced as I read a story about a man who woke up in the recovery room in agony after knee surgery. He apparently got the saline instead of the real stuff.

The reason I was riveted by this story is that Magic had the same experience four months ago when he had his hip resurfaced. The nurse that was pinching the drugs was hired in June, and Magic's surgery was in July, but the dates he was being implicated for were September through October. I wondered if maybe he could have been stealing before that and they just didn't have the evidence for it. Apparently, this person wasn't too smart because you have to enter an electronic code to access this controlled drug. They just tracked the tampered vials back to this nurse.

Magic told me that he woke up in the recovery room in a lot of pain. I couldn't see him in the recovery room, so there was nothing I could do for him. However, once he got to his room, I was prepared for such an emergency. You see, Magic was already on quite a bit of pain medication for his back, from a surgery that didn't go too well a few years ago, and his hip that was grinding bone against bone for way too long. He knew he would need extra pain medication during surgery, but thought he didn't get enough when he woke up in lot of pain after surgery. I brought some extra medication from home and slipped it to him throughout the night to get him through. Now we are wondering if he was one of the first victims of the slippery fingered nurse.

The whole thing with Magic's pain management was a disaster during his surgery. The doctor who usually managed his pain was out of town when Magic had his surgery, after he told her when it would be. She spaced it out, so Michael didn't have his normal pain doc around after he got out of surgery. Because I had to give him extra meds and because the hospital dispensed Magic's own prescription at a higher than normal rate while he was in the hospital, he needed to refill his prescriptions sooner than normal. This tipped off a whole freak out from pharmacists to the insurance company to the original pain doctor. They were basically accusing Magic of being a drug addict. Personally, I think this was set off by Heath Led.ger's death since he had illegal prescriptions of some of the same pain meds that Magic was on. Magic made his case though, and pointed out how he had a legitimate prescription from his pain doctor for everything, and that he needed extra pain medication during and after his surgery. Everyone eventually chilled out, and the good news is that because Magic's hip healed fabulously, he has significantly reduced his pain medications. He still has to take some because of his back problems (i.e. missing parts of a disc).

In fact, Magic is doing so well, he is hiking circles around me now. Whereas before, I had to wait for him and he would have to turn around in agony after hiking a mile, limping all the way, now he is hiking up and down the trail like a puppy dog while he is waiting for me to catch up with him. I'm glad that we can now hike together, but this is ridiculous!

I told Magic that he should pursue with the hospital about the pain med mix up, but I'm sure the hospital is going to be in enough hot water and law suits.

1 comment:

geeksinrome said...

wow! that it awful. poor Magic!! interesting he was caught in the Heath Led. aftertaste!!

In Italy they steal medicines all the time but they just expect the state to replenish... they don't sub it with a fake.