Access & Disclosure
1403 – 29 Street NW
Calgary AB T2N 2T9
Phone: (403) 944-4205
Fax: (403) 944-1663
I am writing to express my concerns about my recent experience with Dr. J. Mayhew, the attending physician assigned to my father, Henry Hong, at the Foothills Hospital. My father was admitted to the Foothills on December 27, 2013 through emergency.
He was initially seen by Dr. Lewis, an assessment was given, then our family was told that Dr. Mayhew was his assigned physician. I was away for the first week of the admission, when I returned on January 2, 2014 I requested a call from Dr. Mayhew to discuss the assessment and care plan for my father. After almost daily requests, Dr. Mayhew did not respond until January 19, 2014, and after finally meeting with Dr. Mayhew, I question his assessment and actions he did not take.
On January 10, 2014 I met with the charge nurse (Lana) to discuss my frustration of not having any communication with the attending physician, and at this point, my father had not been walking for about 5 days because of acute gout in his feet – his immobility had other effects on his body. He told me that a physiotherapist “made him walk, and the pain was unbearable”.
I requested a rheumatology consult, asked what the uric acid levels were and if a urology consult/surgery were booked. I spent a lot of time with the charge nurse, and the next day the on-call doctor called me and prescribed medications – my father was out of bed walking the next day. My father was prescribed prednisone and alopurin to address the gout.
My requests for Dr. Mayhew continued, with no response. The treatment for the gout was only for 7 days – within 2 days my father could not walk again because the gout had flared up again. Once again I met with the charge nurse (January 18), who would not call the on-call doctor or Dr. Mayhew.
On January 19, when seeing my father still in extreme pain (3 days and getting worse each day), my husband and I had a very emotional exchange with the unit clerk, a nurse and the charge nurse – expressing concern that Dr. Mayhew had not contacted our family since January 2. The charge nurse was very responsive and paged Dr. Mayhew twice, who did not respond. A few hours later (13:00), Dr. Mayhew called me and a meeting was set up for January 20, which I have recorded.
My father was released from the Foothills on January 20, I did not pick him up until January 21, as I wanted to ensure that Home Care was in place. He could not walk because of his gout. He lives independently in a seniors apartment complex. He fell on his back 5 hours after being home, and could not get up.
On January 23, I took my father to see Dr. L. Martin, who assessed that he had acute gout.
Upon recommendation from the family physician (Dr. J. Corley), On January 27, I took him to emergency at the Rockyview Hospital because of urinary infection risk and confusion my father was having. Medication was adjusted.
My concerns include the following:
a) Dr. Mayhew did not respond to daily requests to discuss details of my father.
b) I made several requests to change physicians, I was told that Dr. Mayhew only had that authority – how could I do this without being able to communicate with Dr. Mayhew.
c) Dr. Mayhew’s assessment that “your father has osteoporosis, he needs new shoes, his gout is minor, he just has to keep walking”, when asked what tests he had done to confirm his assessment, he advised me that he can tell by looking.
d) Dr. L. Martin, advised us that alopurin should not be taken during an acute attack, but start it after the flare had subsided (contrary to what was given in the hospital).
d) Dr. Mayhew advised us that he had made a referral to Urology, Dr. Duffy. When I called Dr. Duffy’s office to book an appointment on January 27, they had no record of a referral.
I ask the following questions:
a) Are their guidelines for caring for seniors and communicating with family?
b) Why was my father kept in the hospital for 3 weeks? I still do not understand.
c) How is Dr. Mayhew accountable?
In closing, I would like to say that for the most part, the nursing staff at the Foothills gave my father good care, but did not have authority to give me pertinent information. In contrast, the care from the physicians at the Rockyview was outstanding – same system — different outcome.
In order to help other families and our broken health care system, I feel it is important that “someone” know about my experience, and I would like some answers. Please contact me at home (587) 350-0737, cell (403) 815-2183, email firstname.lastname@example.org, I am available for a meeting.
Vhalle T. Hohn