After suffering a fairly serious bicycle accident this past weekend, I have not posted anything recently and for that I apologize.
I went face first through the rear windshield of a minivan on the street where I live. I was looking over my right shoulder to move from one side of the street to the other, and when I turned back around-BANG!!! I crawled up to the front door of the people whose van I hit and asked them for help which they promptly gave me, as any good person would do. They called the police, ambulance, and my girlfriend and were very helpful giving me towels to stop the bleeding and were there to comfort me until help arrived.
The police arrived, took a report, assisted me to the best of their ability and kept me calm and immobile until the paramedics arrived to transport me to the hospital. My girlfriend also ran several blocks down the street to where the accident occurred under the impression that a car had hit me. No my love, it was I that hit the car with my face.
I was transported to my local hospital and it was busy. I live in a college town and it was Friday night, so I was not surprised by the volume of patients seeking treatment. I was wheeled into an examination room on the gurney, assisted by staff over onto the hospital's bed and addressed by a triage nurse in a very professional manner. I was asked who my insurance carrier was and I replied that I was on temporary state medical assistance and have an Access card. I gave the remainder of my basic information and was told the doctor would be with me shortly.
When the doctor came in about 20 minutes later, he did not immediately examine me or question me as to my pain level or ask any questions regarding my condition. Instead he only made the comment that I should have been wearing a helmet and my accident could have been prevented. I was a little thrown by this statement. I didn't come to the ER to be lectured on my choice of safety precautions; I came to be treated for my injuries. I had a 6 inch gash on my lower lip that had bled profusely, broken off several teeth, and went through a glass windshield with the front of my face at approximately 15 mph. I wasn't in the mood to be chastised or lectured. He then approached me and asked where I had pain. I told him the front of my face, my jaw, my teeth, and my neck. He then asked me to open my mouth and I did to the best of my ability. This apparently didn't suit him because his next move was to put his hands inside my mouth and forcibly pry my jaws open to his satisfaction. Keep in mind this was all prior to me having any x-rays or diagnostic work at all performed on me. I couldn't believe the pain and possible harm he had just put me through, not to mention the lack of protocol and procedure on his part.
My girlfriend was in the room for my entire visit and witnessed all of the things I am describing to you in this forum and it caused her undue emotional trauma to see me subjected to such things because of the obvious pain I was enduring through all of this.
After he did this to me he left the room and I was sent to receive x-rays. I was asked by the x-ray technician how I felt and I told her I was in pain and I felt very tired. She asked if I thought I could stand and move myself to a stool in the x-ray area so I could have them done on me. I told her yes, I would try. Now I am accustomed to being asked to move myself around on the rare occasions that I have to visit an ER or acute care facility. I am a pretty big guy and I try to not put anyone in the position where they have to move me too much, I'm sure it's not an easy task.
I went and sat on the stool and she proceeded to begin taking my x-rays and during the process the pain I was experiencing began to intensify. I then remember another male staff member standing over me and yelling at me to wake up. I had apparently lost consciousness for a short time and was disoriented when I came to. I didn't realize all this happened and it took me a few moments to get my head together. They helped me back over to the hospital gurney and I sat down. The x-ray tech then wheeled me back over to the machine and finished the x-rays. I then went up to a different floor for x-rays on my jaws and teeth. It was the type of x-ray machine that they use in a dental office that completely revolves around your head as you sit in the middle of the machine. This also caused quite a bit of discomfort and pain but was bearable for the most part.
I was returned to my room and sat and waited for quite some time. I apparently fell asleep again and remember a nurse telling me to wake up and to try and stay awake. I was left unsupervised in the room for a long time with only my girlfriend there whom has no medical experience whatsoever. This is unacceptable to me. I could've had a head injury from my accident and no CT scan or anything had been done and we were approaching the three hour mark since my arrival. I was allowed to be left unmonitored and unsupervised for extended periods of time. Does this sound like proper medical care to any of you reading this?
And this is just the beginning of my nightmare...
The Dr. then popped his head in my room around the curtain and told me that nothing appeared broken on my x-rays and that he would be in soon to stitch me up but there was someone else in front of me to be sutured and it may be a while. He also made another comment about bicycle safety to me regarding me having a light on my bicycle. I love it, I need medical care and I get a bicycle safety expert. My girlfriend asked him before he left if there was something he could give me for the pain I had to make it more tolerable (I was in tears) and he told us that he couldn't do that due to the possibility of head injury. Again, no diagnostics were ever done to confirm or deny this diagnosis. So basically he just didn't feel like ordering the tests done and he didn't feel I was in need of any comfort and that it was ok that I suffer through my experience.
At this point I am extremely upset and so is my girlfriend. We cannot believe the way I have been treated and the lack of concern for my well being. A medical student then comes in the room and tells me she will be doing my stitches. I later found out after my release that I had the right to refuse a medical student performing this procedure on me, and although I most likely wouldn't have, I was failed to be informed of this while in the hospital which is also wrongdoing on the hospitals part.
She began to administer lidocaine to the affected areas on my face and was as gentle as possible but the pain was excruciating through the whole thing. She got me pretty well numb where she could begin the stitches, or so we all thought. As she was administering the lidocaine to the areas, it was causing me great pain and I was grabbing my bedrails and squeezing them and tensing up my muscles, which caused me to start bleeding profusely again. She had to go out of the room and retrieve the Dr and his response was that the face was a very vascular area and that it would be fine to just sew me up. What we didn't realize was that the heavy bleeding was forcing all the lidocaine she injected back out of my face. When she began to put the stitches in, it went well for a little while but then she got to an area that had regained feeling and it became painful again for her to stitch me. She went out and retrieved the Dr. again and he became very short and rude with her. He asked her very curtly if she had a 27 gauge syringe and she replied no, she only had a 30 gauge because that was in her medical cart. The Dr. then stormed out of the room to find his larger gauge needle. He returned, filled this GIGANTIC needle with lidocaine and proceeded to jam it in my face in no gentle way. I screamed out in pain and my girlfriend began sobbing. He then told me very rudely and in an irritated tone, "You can't do that, you can't tense up that way. You have to put your hands at your sides and take a deep breath and stay calm." I was doing the best I could and all I could think is you won't sedate me in any way and you are putting a 4 inch 27 gauge needle in my face under my nose and in numerous other areas and want me to just deal with it? Let me do it to you and see how you react?
As soon as he was done with his personal form of sadism, he nonchalantly walked out of the room and only said "There you go". In case you haven't figured it out by now, this guy's bedside manner left room for improvement.
The nurse began apologizing to us both repeatedly and said that she couldn't believe the way he was handling me. She then went on to tell us that she thought, because of the severity of my injuries, a surgeon would have been consulted. I kind of blew this off at the time because she was a student and I just wanted to be done and go home. By this point we were all physically, mentally, and emotionally spent.
She did a good job of stitching me up and finally got to the large wound on my lower lip and mouth. She paused and informed me that she had reached a point where she needed the Dr's help and apologized again for having to involve him. She left the room and they both returned and he quickly gloved up and began work on my mouth. He was lecturing the student on proper procedure (isn't that ironic) and instructed her on how to properly suture muscle tissue when it became severed as has happened in my case. This was news to me. I later found out from both my girlfriend and the student that he was putting the stitches into the muscle in my mouth and then removing them, allowing the student to replace them. Talk about hands-on training.
After she went to replace the last muscular stitch he began telling her how to make sure the "vermillion border" lined up so that I was not left with dimpling in my face and so my lip line would be symmetrical and line up properly. After the last stitch was laced regarding what I just mentioned, he asked the student how it looked to her. She replied "Well, I'm not sure" and then he said "Good enough for government work", a discriminatory remark regarding my Access card status. I could not believe the gall of this man. This is not the way people are supposed to be treated. I felt humiliated and violated and sorry that this man was allowed to treat others this way.
The student finished stitching me up and she again apologized for the Dr's remarks and behavior. We both told her it was not her fault and we thanked her for her help and wished her well in her studies. I quickly got up and got dressed and waited patiently to get my discharge papers so I could get the hell out of this nightmarish ordeal. The Dr. Came back in, gave me, vague at best; discharge instructions and my girlfriend asked him once more for some type of pain medication. He advised me to take an ibuprofen and Tylenol mixture and again stated that I had a possible head injury. Again I ask if there was the possibility of head injury, why was I being discharged and why was there no diagnostic testing done to confirm or deny the diagnosis. I will tell you why, because this man was biased and in his heart felt someone who was receiving welfare type medical insurance wasn't worthy of his time or the proper protocols and procedures. He took his beliefs and put them in front of my medical care and figured he was saving the taxpayers precious dollars by not administering thorough testing that I deserved for my well being. By the way, I finally left the hospital at 2:30 am with 19 stitches and little left in my tank.
I returned to the hospital the next day and was seen by a Dr. who was a caring, gentle professional. He addressed my issues rechecked my x-rays and gave me antibiotic and a mild pain medication to make me more comfortable. I also ran into a RN on my way out who asked me what happened when she saw my face. I told her my story and what happened the prior evening. She said that many of the staff had issues with the Dr. I mentioned. He was mean and impatient with all of the staff and that most of them greatly disliked working with him. She also reiterated that a surgeon should have been consulted in my case because of the severity of my facial lacerations.
I filed a formal grievance with the hospital in question and I am seeking an attorney to represent me in a medical negligence case against the Dr. and the hospital. I am also having a hard time finding someone in the legal profession who is willing to give me a hand with making a wrong right in this instance. Everyone blows me off when I tell them what happened because of the difficulty and time involved with medical negligence cases. They all just want a quick dollar and that isn't what this is going to translate to.
I believe in public service and helping your fellow man in his time of need. That is basically all I am asking for now, help in my time of need. I need someone with the expertise to assist me in making sure this doesn't happen to someone else along the way. We all deserve to be treated properly in the event of an illness or injury regardless of our financial ability to pay for the services.
I will fight this with all I have inside of me for as long as I have to so that justice is done and that a difference is made. If this becomes my fight in life, then so be it, I will take up this crusade because I believe it is important.
I thank you all for reading, and if anyone knows of an attorney willing to assist me in this, I would greatly appreciate your referral or any information you could pass along. If the time approaches where the statue of limitations is in question, (2 years) I will file on my own behalf and I will also need medical professionals who are willing to testify to the fact that this was not up to the standard of practice in the medical field.
I will continue to research this problem, my options and gather all the information I can. All I ask is that those of you that read this please take the time to go that extra mile for your fellow man, regardless of whatever circumstance may arise. Remember the "Golden Rule" we all learned in our childhood because it is the right way to live our lives. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".