Thursday, June 25, 2009

108 Days

Imagine your 44 year old husband suffers electrocution and severe burns at work. He is rushed to one of the best hospitals in the country and you anticipate a few days in the hospital while he recovers and receives compassionate care. Instead , the care is erratic, the professionals are rude and arrogant, and one complication after another spirals him into septic shock and coma. That is the account of Lisa Lindell, wife and author of "108 Days".

This book is really riveting and I found myself grimacing, denying, experiencing shock and awe, nodding and finally understanding so much about her saga and attempts to protect her dying husband from one medical error after another. Written in diary format, Lisa Lindell became a reluctant patient advocate and through sheer determination and vigilance, kept her husband alive.

She was never informed about what was going on with his care and her attempts to speak to his various treating physicians were thwarted constantly. Despite the fact that he was at high risk for infection, and almost died of septic shock, the isolation precautions and hand washing could not be counted on. With new nurses on every shift, no one saw her husband as an entire person and her efforts to inform the staff of his declining respiration ( which became ventilator associated pneumonia), oozing scratched eyes (scratched cornea which left him sight impaired), and bed sores were ignored. It seems like the medical team gave up on Curtis Lindell and certainly did not value his wife's input. By her account, the hospital administration was down right hostile to her .

This book confirms that every patient needs an advocate to watch and inform and ensure safety. The fact that the events occurred in 2003 are reassuring because I know there has been a wave of patient safety and changes in hospital quality protocols that have been instituted across the country since then. I have been in contact with the book's author, and she says the "world famous" institution where Curtis spent 108 days hasn't changed much. That is sad and scary.

If you want a good read, pick up "108 Days". It is a story that will anger you and the fact that he survived is a true miracle.


tracy said...

It sounds excellent and infuitating (sp?). (Was it sub-titled "House of God"....?!) i love "Doctor" books, but usually of the "Doctor-Patient Relationship" type.

Love "my" Dr. Gawande...shouldn't he be coming out with a new book soon? It's not like he has that much going on....heh.

Time for you to write a book, Dr. Brayer...that would rock...all you need is the time!

Anonymous said...

When my husband was hospitalized my daughter was his advocate. She created a large wall poster, stating his name, sports, hobbies, etc. to let nurses and doctors think of him in a personal way. Thank you Dr. Toni.Mom

KM said...

I am not at all surprised about this. A few months ago I had someone tell me a very simillar story about her father in a hospital and he was in his mid 50's to early 60's, usually healthy and active. His two caring smart adult children and wife tried to advocate for him asked questions and stood up for him when things weren't right or didn't make sense. They stayed with him during his hospital stay.
They weren't as lucky as the author after he went into the coma they lost him to sepsis and bad medical care.

After what I saw in the horriable quality hospital care my own father went through in an ER and hospital nothing would surprise me. I sadly learned NOT all physicians go by the Patients Bill of Rights or their medical oath and treat patients with respect and dignity,some can be very arrogant, disresprctful and rude. Physicians don't all give the correct or ethical medical treatment. Sometimes lack of the right treatment. Other times the treatment is based on how the medical director wants to cut costs on an HMO IPA which causes permanent physical and sometimes mental damage and suffering to the patient and their family.

There is one hospital I know of where a physician likes to cut costs by putting stroke patients in a psych. unit, chemically and physically restrains the patient and sudates to the point of comstantly sleeping, missing meals, and Physical Therapy rather then giving them the timely medical treatment, procedures, and physical therapy to get them to recover as much as physically possiable.

I'm lucky to have an excellent doctor, but know if a patient has an emergency and has no control of who the doctor is and falls into the hands and care of a bad doctor it can be dangerous or fatal.

Bryce said...

Well, I do not actually imagine it may work.
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