On February 18th I had surgery done by Dr. Safieddine at Toronto East General Hospital. Here are some of my experiences:
• On February 14, 2014 I attended a pre-operative appointment that was scheduled at 11:45. I was lead to believe that my appointment would take approximately 2 hours not 3 ½ hours as the intake RNs were scheduled for lunch during that time.
• After my surgery, I was X-Rayed in my room but an hour later an attendant came to take me to X-Ray. I informed him that I already had an X-ray done which the attendant confirmed with the desk.
• After surgery, I had a chest tube in and the pain was managed by a morphine pump. I was still in a lot of pain but it was manageable with the morphine.
o I was told that the morphine pump would be taken away once the chest tube was out as it would relieve the pressure on my chest/ribs and I would feel better. I was told that I would be able to do a morphine pump before the removal to manage the removal pain. No explanation as to why the morphine drip was removed before the chest tube was taken out.
o A few hours later, someone came and removed the morphine pump and no other pain medication was given to manage the pain.
o About ½ hour later I had a coughing attack and I was in EXTREME pain. The staff informed my girlfriend that the chest tube could be rubbing against flesh and that is why I was in extreme pain. My screaming created attention from other staff that came in to check to see if the tube was tangled or at a bad angle but this wasn’t the case. The RN in charge (Kathy) came into my room but didn’t offer any relief.
o My girlfriend went to the desk on a constant basis and asked for some type of pain relief but no one cared or took any initiative to help manage my pain. After screaming in pain for about 15 minutes, the RN finally proceeded to realize that something needed to be done for pain management.
o As I was screaming and incoherent, she stood over me and expected me to ingest oral pain medications. Her comment was “if you stop (screaming), I can give you something for the pain”. I told her just to “shove them in my mouth”. She put the pills in my mouth and then asked me to chew them!!! She didn’t acknowledge the amount of pain that I was experiencing and that chewing something at that time was just not possible as I was also feeling nauseous.
o My girlfriend continued to ask for help at the desk and someone decided to finally intervene by getting a script for some morphine.
o About ½ later, a script was received and I was finally given some pain relief! After receiving the morphine by IV, my pain was bearable.
o During my 45 minutes of excruciating pain, I did attract a lot of attention from other staff, patients and visitors who actually came in to inquire about my screaming. The RN in charge was inhumane to allow me to experience that amount of pain.
o Once my pain was managed, the RN removed my chest tube which did relieve the pressure and pain in my chest. I did not need the morphine after the removal and my pain was managed by oral medication.
o Once the chest tube was out, I was informed that I was being discharged that afternoon. During my appointment with Dr. Safieddine in the Barrie hospital, I was informed that I would be in the hospital 2 nights and possibly more. I was stunned that I was being discharged the next day especially after the extreme pain episode that I just experienced. Being from out of town, my arrangements were according to what I was originally told. I had to scramble to organize transportation while being in this exhausted state.
o A member of the surgical team who saw me before being discharged was perplexed as to why the drip was removed before the tube removal.
• Upon my arrival to my room, the patient care assistant (Carlos) was wonderful (February 18). He would check to see if I was comfortable and needed anything on a constant basis. The next day, I did not see my patient care assistant (Mary). She did not come into the room. I had absolutely no care plus I had a dry IV for almost 3 hours – this care was very unprofessional, uncaring and inhumane.
• The day after surgery, a physiotherapist helped move me from the bed into a chair. At that time, I noticed that the bed was soiled with blood. She informed me that she would have someone change the bed. As this was my first time out of bed after the surgery, I was in extreme pain and needed to lie down but didn’t want to lie in a soiled bed. My girlfriend took the liberty of changing the bed for me. There was no help in changing the bed or helping me get back into the bed. There was absolutely no follow-up to see if I was able to make it back into bed. About an hour later, someone came in to change the bed and her comment was “good, someone did my job for me.”
• While I was in bed after the surgery, my girlfriend was asked to leave the room as the patient next to me was going to be X-Rayed. She asked the technician what precautions would be taken towards my health. She was given a X-Ray vest to place over me. Would I have been protected if she wasn’t there?
• The patient in the next bed had a chest tube that was to be removed. The nurses all gathered at his bedside and discussed how they were unable to remove this type of tube as they were unfamiliar with that type. Imagine the anxiety and fear it gave this patient when a team of health care professionals discussed their lack of knowledge in his presence.
• During my 2nd day at this hospital, another patient was wheeled into the room. He was there for quite some time before someone came to attend to him. The attendant asked him “when did you come in”. This patient just had hip surgery and was left unattended by your staff!!!
• On February 27, 2014 I was experiencing pain and became worried as I wasn’t confident with the post operative care I received at TEGH. I went to RVH to have myself checked. The physician informed me that my lung was still deflated and I was put on a ventilator for a few hours. He was surprised that I was released from TEGH as I had a partial collapsed lung (lower half)!
I found that this type of surgery was very invasive. I am a carpenter by trade and have a very physical position. I believe I should have been offered some type of post operative care/therapy to assist in inflating my lung and help my chest/ribs recover as soon as possible.
I was told that a follow-up appointment would be two weeks after surgery. Upon discharge, I was given a follow-up appointment for March 20th which is almost 30 days following surgery!!
From what I experienced at TEGH, I found my treatment inhumane and abusive!! The staff provided care that I would consider dangerous!
After reading this letter outlining my mistreatment, I expect you to carry out a full investigation into my concerns.