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Emergency Department Negligence
Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 4:52 PM
Joined: 5/29/2015
Posts: 35

I am my sister's POA and need advice on what to do regarding neglectful care at the Emergency department of the hospital. My sister has severe dementia and had fallen at the nursing home where she lives. They x-rayed her and confirmed she fractured her humerus. The next day, we took her to the doctor at an Emergency department of a hospital to confirm treatment (e.g. surgery, therapy). 
While we were waiting to see the Care Manager at the hospital, my sister experienced bowel incontinence and needed to be changed.The nurses (CNAs?) came in and were very rough and hurried while changing her and rolled her onto her broken arm despite our telling them that was her bad arm twice. My sister screamed in pain to which the nurses ignored my sister's cries and continued to deal with the incontinence instead of stopping. The nurses never reassured my sister or comforted her in any way but only said that this is how "they" are referring to dementia patients. From that point my sister was extremely terrified of the nurses touching her and causing further pain. Later, when my sister was being transferred to a chair, she was screaming again, so scared of being harmed by the nurses that she collapsed from fear. Afterwards, my sister continued to be in pain as we waited to be discharged. 

The doctor never looked at or took additional xrays. The nurses harmed and traumatized my sister. They did not provide any pain medication.  

The abundance of negligence, and lack of care has me wondering how do I proceed with this horrific event. Some authority needs to know about their treatment of senior patients and patients with dementia. I do not want this event to be lost in the bureaucracy of medical hierarchy. Any suggestions on who to contact and how to prevent an event like this occurring with another innocent human being? 


Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 5:24 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 1953

I don’t understand.  They have more than 1 patient.  Did you expect them to let her sit in her own feces?  They needed to change her.

Did you step in to change her to your specifications?  If not, why not?

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 5:28 PM
Joined: 5/29/2015
Posts: 35

Day2nite, I am not sure what you are asking. We asked the nurses to come in and help change my sister. While they were changing her they were rough and rolled her on her broken arm even though we told them twice that was her broken arm. Maybe I am misunderstanding your question.
Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 6:26 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 857



That must have been awful to hear your sister in pain. But what physical position could she have been in to be cleaned, not being smart  here but she can't float over the bed and they had to get to both sides. Unless they only had her on the broken arm side -instead of as brief a period as needed they did what they could .

You had 2 nurses and said they hurried, that seems better than one slow-poke.

The doctor would have  been the one to prescribe pain meds.

But I would write  something like this to the Ombudsman or Patient Coordinator and say -

 "My sister experienced great pain, some I understand unavoidable BUT  your staff would benefit from sensitivity training towards patients with dementia.

 These patients  come from all backgrounds and educational levels and to have one, my family member, addressed as a "they" like she was so stupid to not understand words said over her body is not right.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor  sadly has Alz, want to call her a "they"?

 Dementia patients can fixate on a word or phrase and this  callousness can linger.

Just like my sister now has a  fear of nurses  after this encounter because she was not comforted verbally while she was changed. Would it have caused your staff  hardship to just say in a soft voice- we've got you, almost there, getting clean , pat her leg or good shoulder?

Act human?

Creating anxiety in dementia patients who may very well have to return will cost your firm in extra non-billable staff time in the future if they have to be calmed down before and during future treatment because of prior callous care.

 Please look into enhancing your staff training to include dementia sensitivity  training. Patients with dementia are part of Diversity too."

Good on  you not letting it go. Families that come after will benefit.





Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 11:12 PM
Joined: 2/9/2019
Posts: 114

Gaelicsea, I am so proud of you for saying something!!! Speak up!   If things like this happened to our children, we as a society wouldn’t stand for it.  Sadly, not so sometimes for our elderly LOs.  As someone who has worked with nurses for over 20 years, I can say that what you are describing is not the standard of quality nursing care.

Stay strong!!  Keep fighting for the rights of those we love to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion, no matter what age they are.  You are a champion.

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 11:28 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 482

I just want to tell you I’m sorry this happened. This is terrible. Had that happened to my Mom I really don’t know how I would have reacted, probably some shouting. I agree that someone needs to be made aware of this.