Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Day of Remembering

Today, a day of remembering those we loved who died as a result of a medical error. As I lit a candle, tears quickly formed making it difficult for me to see the match striking. A pain shot up in my stomach as I remembered how much my wonderful, caring, loving mother suffered. No one should have to endure that which she encountered in the last years of her life. Her decline, daily pain and agony, the result of a physician not listening to what she and her family were saying. The quality in her life was gone, but she lived on in pain, day in and day out. The lack of a complete medical record, at the time of her office visit, in conjunction with a physician who insisted that a certain prescribed medication would be okay, inspite of our concerns about prior medication reactions, led, in my opinion, to my mother's slow death. I can remember calling the physician's office, to provide what I considered to be important information, to an apathetic nurse's assistant. Important information about what I considered an adverse reaction. And, as we feared, my mother fell, as a result of taking the medication, and that was the end of her quality of life. We tried to tell the physician that the medication was having an adverse effect, but according to the physician's nursing staff (a medical asssistant, not a nurse) the physician said to decrease the medication, but do not stop it. I often wonder till this day if the physician really told the medical assistant to tell us to continue the medication. From that point on, my mother suffered daily, at times, needing help to the bathroom, unable to sleep in a bed because the pain was so severe. For a long, long time, she slept in a chair in the living room, with me on the couch, sleeping with one eye open in case she needed anything. The pain for her to even get out of the recliner was more than she could handle. The pain I felt watching her go through her last years in agony tore me apart and still tears at my gut.
We filed a complaint against the physician and, ofcourse, all we received back from the insurance provider was a form letter. And, the physician, till this day, has never said, "I'm sorry". But, the pain of knowing how much my mother suffered still lives on within my heart and soul. Shame on you, a physician who is suppose to listen to patients, as well as listening to their loved ones, who act as their advocate in hopes of receiving safe care.

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