This post was written by a 97 year old client of ours. She is an incredible and insightful woman who wanted to share an important story.
Hello my name is Mildred but my friends call me Mickey. I’m a victim of healthcare and hospital personnel and I want to share a true story about a recent life event that happened to me. At 97, my life changed dramatically due to unsanitary medical conditions.
Let me explain. In 2013 I was totally mobile until I fell on the dirty pavement in Florida.
The fall result first resulted in an eight inch hematoma on my lower left leg. I returned to Denver and went to our local “well respected” hospital emergency room. On being admitted the first doctor said “You will need surgery”. My response was no way. I will need to get a second opinion. The second doctor said that this doesn’t need surgery but it is a large hematoma which will take a long time to heal. The doctor advised that I stay in the hospital for at least three day to ensure my Medicare benefits begin. After being admitted I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my left leg dangling. A nurse walked in and put on her exam gloves. She then sat on the floor. With the gloves on she then touched the floor at which time she attempted to address and bandage my lower left leg. I immediately stopped her and said, “Excuse me you can’t bandage me after touching the unsanitary floor.” Fortunately I was astute enough to prevent this from happening. The nurse immediately apologized and put on new clean protective gloves. Three days later I was sent to a local rehab facility in Denver for 10 days and believe it or not I had the same experience! The nurse once again put on her exam gloves and then touched an unsanitary surface. After rehab I returned to my home and one of the home health nurses did the identical thing when it came to putting on exam gloves and touching contaminated surfaces.
My most horrifying experience occurred at the wound center hospital in Denver. It was at this hospital that I picked up a staph infection on the same leg. In order to have the staph infection and the hematoma treated I needed two visits per week for six months. During one appointment the head nurse of the department put on exam gloves and then answered her cell phone. She then placed her phone in her pocket and then went on to treat my wound. When I immediately stopped her and brought to her attention that she just used her cell phone with the same gloves she wast going to treat me; she was immediately embarrassed and apologized profusely. After a long discussion she promised me that she would send a memo to all staff including the nurses about the importance of properly protecting patients from undue exposure to viruses and bacteria. I also insisted on receiving a copy of this memo. All of a sudden it dawned on me that the nurses were unaware of the problems with the viruses and bacteria because they are understaffed and under informed.
PATIENT AWARENESS is a big part of the solution to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria for all ages.
This is a worldwide epidemic that affects not only seniors but everyone who steps into a medical facility. It is my goal to bring awareness of a potentially life threatening preventable illness to the general public. I’m not asking for any financial aid but I would like your help in telling everyone about this world wide epidemic! I’m very fortunate to have recovered from both my hematoma and staph infection; but, many people have to return for continuous care costing millions if not billions of dollars. Additionally, many seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, don’t have the awareness to prevent further infections from medical professionals who fail to put the patient first. It is time to tell everyone about the illnesses that can be prevented. We must ensure health care professionals not only protect themselves but also the patient.
It is imperative to get public support from a vocal highly recognized spokesperson. I believe Katie Couric would be a perfect advocate. Please help me get my message to Katie Couric or any other public voice to spread the word that hygiene is as important to the patient as it is to the healthcare worker.
Please feel free to share your own story with me as well because we truly believe we all can make a difference.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article of those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sevens Home Care.