I had gynecological surgery October 8, 2010 and in the following 48 hours was subject to several errors which have eroded my trust in the facility and could have done me grievous injury if I had not been more alert.

In the first 4 to perhaps 8 hours post surgery, I felt the need to use ever increasing amounts of morphine. A nursing staff member came in to check my PCA pump, Bloodpressure, etc. every 2 hours through the night but never checked the state of my foley catheter, which the night nurse had wedged between my bed and rail, effectively stopping all drainage. After hours of suffering, which had started to feel to me like kidney pain, I had to ask the nurse to check and she discovered the blockage. By then my bladder had expanded to hold 800ml of urine which I understand is quite excessive. Is it not a requirement of nurses to check on devices that are put on their patients? Do patients have to self-diagnose, while they are in a state of abject pain and uncertainty as to whether the pain is normal???? The nurse’s response: “when you have pain like that you should let us know”?????

The next night I went to the washroom (foley catheter gone) and could hear someone fiddling with my IV pole on the outside of the bathroom (because of the small size of the washroom I had to leave it outside the door). I discovered that self-same nurse had already removed the morphine from my PCA pump and replaced it with another girl’s DEMEROL!!! She was baffled as to why it wasn’t working and trying to override the life-saving safety factors. When I came out of the washroom she looked at me and realized her error, and promptly minimized it. She couldn’t even reprogram it to work with my morphine and I immediately demanded that the pump be removed. I’d rather suffer in pain than risk death at the hands of her incompetence. Are nurses not supposed to ascertain which patient is attached to the IV before administering IV narcotics????

I see the question below on this form and wonder, HAS this been documented?? Are errors looked at? I challenge the hospital to see if this information is verifiable through the nurses’ notes. I bet you it isn’t. I have the names of other nurses and fellow patients who could act as witnesses. I’m well aware that mistakes happen and that it’s important to look at this in a systematic fashion. Has that occurred?

Finally, there were 3 other problems (failure to give me nasal prong oxygen during my overnight on pca pump, giving me IV normal saline instead of ringer’s lactate for surgery, and screwing up my meal plan). All of which indicate a general lack of care for the patient or understanding of the responsability nurses have for the human life in their care. I am disgusted and would like answers as to why 5 errors occurred in 1 patient in 48 hours.

Nadia Smith on 10/13/2010