To whom it concerns,
I would like to make you aware of 3 situations I have encountered in the last 5 months that have really upset me. The first part I wrote this summer and decided not to send but as this seems to keep happening I figured you can’t fix it if you’re not aware it is going on, and I surely hope you are not!
I am writing this letter as a formal complaint against one of your physicians in the Emergency Department, Doctor Joanne Denise Bourcier. I was there this morning quite early with back pain due to what I’m sure is arthritis. I entered the hospital and discussed my problem with the admitting nurse who treated me with care and understanding. I’m sure she could see I was in pain. I was about the 3rd in the waiting room. I was called quickly and escorted to a room. The nurse came in and asked me a few questions related to my pain and gave me a gown and told me to take everything off but my panties and put on the gown. There was a blanket left. I did just that and pondered in my pain, which I classified between 8 and 9, how to get up on the bed. I managed but sitting on the side decided to remain seated, the pain of getting up and down on the gurney too unbearable. Sitting on the gurney, legs dangling after a while the legs pulling on my back, I decide to pull my legs up on the side of the gurney and sit back a bit to relieve the pain. Of course I think I look ridiculous but I had not taken any medication that morning hoping to show how swollen my body gets with this arthritis. I get it all over. My back, wrists, knees, feet, hands, fingers, all my joints it seems. I have missed work for it. I have gone to work doubled over, my boss very concerned, as is my husband and kids. I hate going to the hospital for the wait time. But if it’s bad enough… I decide to move over to the chair with a back on it.
The doctor flies in and asks me about my medication. I tell her I am on mostly menopausal medications. She says very flip, “oh well, you know at our age…” So I laugh but not sure why. She has me try to touch my toes and gets me on the table. Then she checks my feet, asks me about my smoking and recreational drugs, a little presumptuous and insensitive but I get it, to which I reply that I smoke about 4 or 5 a day, I am off and on…I struggle with it. I don’t smoke recreational drugs. She says “you must smoke more your circulation is terrible for someone your age” (lol the audacity after her menopausal med response/narcissistic a bit wouldn’t you say?) I say “Really you’re the first person to tell me this”, which I thought was strange. And I say “Well not sure what to tell you. That’s what I smoke”. She then says, “Well you’re way too young for osteoarthritis” to which I reply “well I’m pretty sure that’s what my Mother has”. She dismisses this. Like I already knew she had. She then asks me about cancer to which I reply, “I was recently here for tests because they did a CAT SCAN and found air in my bladder and a lesion on my hip.” She responded like a teenager in a bit of mocking way “air in your bladder” and I said “yes I guess it can indicate cancer. She starts to leave and says, “I better look this up and I need a urine sample”. I tell her I am prone to bladder infections but that I KNOW that this is not one. She says, “I want one just the same” and I also get this but I already knew. At that point the attending nurse comes in and says I’m getting an abdominal ultrasound??? Not sure why. This being done, I get dressed and she tells me “It’s not a bladder infection but we already knew that didn’t we?” She tells me basically I have a pulled muscle in my back. She never does examine my back.
At that point she prescribes me Ibuprofen in the dosage I have already been taking with little or no effect. I already told the admitting nurse and the attending, both professional in manner so I had no doubt it was on my chart. If not it didn’t matter. The point is when I pointed it out to her (the doctor) that the ibuprofen wasn’t touching the pain anymore, it’s been going on for 2 years now she retorted “I’m not giving you anything stronger!” I wasn’t looking for anything stronger. First of all I wanted a diagnosis for personal and work purposes as my boss has been asking me to get it checked, seeing me in pain at work, either doubled over or unable to type or do my daily duties at work due to arthritic pain. so all she had to say was “there is nothing stronger than Ibuprofen that I can give you however my suggestion is to see your family doctor and get a referral to a specialist if the ibuprofen isn’t working any longer”. She made me feel like I was a drug addict looking for OxyContin. I was very upset! When I started to leave I saw the attending nurse who had to check my pulse before I left and as she was doing so I said I felt the doctor had formed an opinion before I even gave her my symptoms and was very dissatisfied with the doctor’s care. The nurse asked if I wanted to talk to the doctor again. I told her I felt it was pointless. She wasn’t listening and it was obvious that she wasn’t interested in listening. I told her I brought it up to my doctor but it hadn’t been, addressed. I told her I didn’t blame my doctor. I like and respect her very much. It hadn’t been my main reason for going in to the doctor on both visits that it seemed to be overlooked. The nurse informed me that the doctors only address one issue per visit as a rule and that I should call my doctor again. I thanked her for her helpfulness.
What I didn’t tell the doctor about my previous visit… didn’t think I had to, was that I waited for reports from one department within the hospital to another for 7 hours, after they told me to wait in the emergency and the doctor would call me and discuss the results. I waited. The shift changed. A friend that ‘s a nurse noticed me in the waiting room a couple times, waved the first, then asked the second time if I was waiting for someone. I said no…just 6 and a half hours for test results. She got the ball rolling. The doctor was very apologetic. And I lost a full day of work sitting in the hospital. Two if you want to include today.
This type of care is totally unacceptable. I hope you discuss sensitivity training to this doctor or get rid of her. I have a feeling I won’t be your only complaint.
My daughter and I both arrived at Emergency with continuous diarrhea and vomiting, and quite loudly at that. 15 minutes after we arrived in Emergency my husband came to the bathrooms and told us the admitting nurse finally appeared at the front desk. (I spoke with another patient that was waiting 10 min. before we arrived and said there was no one at the admitting desks.)
My daughter went first and the nurse was anything but pleasant and comforting. She looked angry as a matter of fact. I had to keep going to the bathroom for obvious reasons so my husband had to admit me. I was so distraught I asked for a bed twice between puking and shitting. Profusely sweating and red in the face barely able to walk she refused me twice and told me to wait. I finally saw a bed across from one of the bathrooms I had been occupying and I climbed onto it. Needless to say when they finally came to get us I told the one nurse she would have to change the bedding because I had to climb onto the bed as the admitting nurse refused to help me get into a bed. We were finally led to a room where there was one stretcher for the two of us and we were both in horrible shape. Across the hall was an empty room with a stretcher. Seeing us shaking and sweating they never offered us a pillow or a blanket so we got our own blankets across the hall and I proceeded to lay on the bathroom floor so I could get into a comfortable position as I was in a lot of pain. We were hooked up to IV fluids after I said to the nurse who sounded like they were getting ready to discharge us, “Aren’t they going to hydrate us????” Obviously lacking in confidence, which shook mine, she failed at inserting the IV needle on my daughter, blew a vein, and another nurse came in to do my daughter while Miss lacking in confidence did mine, yay, and very painfully as she jabbed me 3 times before finding the right spot.
We were never so thankful for the day shift. Finally a decent nurse came in and brought another stretcher in for us and handed us some heated blankets. She gave us great advice, which I already knew most of having worked in the profession for 30 years, but you still want to see them giving advice in case you aren’t aware.
I was also there with my son this summer. He was complaining of depression and suicidal thoughts. The crisis team was to call him that night. We still haven’t heard from them. Crisis is now past thank God but what if it was a really desperate situation????
So having said all this….
My concerns are:
1) What happened to LISTENING TO THE PATIENT WITH AN OPEN MIND
2) Do you not have beds, blankets and pillows. (the other patient in the emergency went in c/o a sore neck and wasn’t offered a blanket or a pillow so we weren’t alone that night)
3) What happened to PROFESSIONALISM AND ACCOUNTABILITY????
4) Do you feel equipped to deal with Ebola when you can’t handle a simple flu with dignity, respect and a response that is anything but sub-par basically????
I would love to know what you plan to do to rectify this???
Shelley Harley Green.