When Healthcare Gets Careless

| San Jose, CA, USA | Working | February 18, 2013

(This happens while I am hospitalized for appendicitis. I’m a registered vet tech so I have some knowledge of similar drugs and items used on both animals and humans.)

Me: *to the nursing station* “Hey, the bag of fluids you guys had me on has run out. Can I get a bit of heparin in the IV catheter so it doesn’t clot and have to be replaced?

Nurse #1: “There’s no need. It won’t clot.”

(Half an hour later, as I’m being wheeled up to get the CT scan done, I mention this to another nurse.)

Me: “Can one of you guys do a heparin lock? I’m really worried this catheter is going to clot.”

Nurse #2: “You’re fine. Don’t worry about it.”

(An hour later, I call the nursing station again.)

Me: “My catheter has clotted.”

Nurse #3: “No it hasn’t.”

(I finally flag down a passing nurse.)

Me: “Look: my catheter has clotted. I know it’s clotted. I work with animals on IVs all day, every day. I know what clotted catheters look and act like. This is a clotted catheter. Please fix it now so it doesn’t need to be entirely replaced.”

Nurse #4: “I’m sure it’s fine, but okay, I’ll flush it for you… oh, hey. Your catheter IS clotted.”

(But wait, there’s more!  A few hours later, they’ve now stuck me on an IV antibiotic. My arm immediately starts turning a mottled red and I get a horrible burning sensation. I call the nursing station again.)

Me: “I am having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics and I can’t reach the pump. Someone come turn this off!”

Nurse #5: “Someone will be there in a moment. We’re a little busy.”

(Fortunately my boyfriend is there and I direct him how to turn off the fluid pump. No one shows up for at least 5 minutes.)

Nurse #5: “Why did you turn your fluids off?”

Me: “I am ALLERGIC to this drug! I had no desire to die today.”

Nurse #5: “Nonsense…” *looks at my blotchy arm* “Oh, wow. Look at your arm. I guess you’re allergic to it!”

(ARRRRRRRRRGH!)

 

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