Tag Archives: Healthcare

Who Will Be Responsible

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What happened to Lucas Taylor’s daughter would be a nightmare for anyone. Making the decision to put you elderly loved one into a nursing home only to have them neglected and die. The family claimed that they put their dad Lucas into the nursing home named St. Elizabeth health care and rehabilitation center in order to spend more time with him. Then after an unstated amount of time his daughter went to visit her father and found that he was sitting in a pile of his own feces and had a decubitus ulcer or bed sore on his coccyx, which is a likely place. From the news pictures this ulcer which was over his coccyx looked to be at a stage 3 or 4. She then moved him to a new nursing home where he died five months later.

Now mind you I am totally in agreement that ultimately the nursing home IS to blame for this situation with Lucas Taylor. But, my problems with this situation are that it seems that as a whole people have lost that nurturing touch with family. We are so quick to throw our kids, parents and any other member of our family into a care type situation instead of even considering alternatives. I am not saying that this family did or didn’t look at alternatives or solutions to their family’s dilemma. I just find that in today’s times we are just too wrapped up in our own lives and too selfish to think about sacrificing anything for family.

Now with that said I have some history with this type of situation having worked in numerous hospitals and nursing homes I know that people park their parents in nursing homes and they wiped their hands in a good riddance as they burned rubber leaving the facility. It reminds me of the Simpson’s when Homer drives his dad Abe back to the “Home”. People don’t take the time to meet the caregivers find out anything about the facility. It is usually just does this place take Medicare/Medicaid and if the answer is yes then this is the place for mom or dad.

Now in the case with Lucas Taylor I can’t say that they did much research as this particular nursing home has been rated one of the 54 worst nursing homes in the country by the U.S. centers for Medicare/Medicaid services. They also have not been in compliance for what an agency spokesperson said was a long, long time. These little tidbits of information would be common knowledge for anyone doing the least bit of checking on the facility that you are going to trust one of your most loving treasures with. They could have checked the good the bad and the ugly on this facility just by going to health grades and paying a big old whopping 9.95 and probably some tax. So it isn’t as if information on nursing homes was top secret and you have to bribe a top official to get the low down.

As I watched this news 4 special I started to wonder exactly what responsibility to their father’s health care does this family thinks they had. They talk about the fact that the nursing home should be held accountable and that they should be made to pay etc. But if they were visiting often wouldn’t they have noticed that their father was deteriorating. I am certain that he didn’t go from lively to lifeless in a day or a week. I know that this story is supposed to pull at the heart strings which it does but for me I am more moved by Lucas and his tragedy rather than the crying of the family. It is obvious that they didn’t do what they intended when they put dad in a nursing home, which was so they can visit more often; so they said.

The daughter was crying and feeling horrible which is totally understandable yet if they had just gone in once a week and checked on dad they probably would have noticed that he was receiving this substandard care that they talk about. I hate talking about these kinds of cases as they make me feel so cold hearted as I talk about what could have been done. Yet then I think again if people weren’t in such a rush to be rid of good old dad or mom they wouldn’t be in the situation they are in today. This reminds me of the New Orleans nursing home owner and some nurses who was prosecuted but eventually acquitted of murder for leaving some of the patients in their beds where they drowned.

I know that on the surface this sounds horrible. But think of it this way. The facility called ALL the families and asked that they pick up their family member etc. Then the nurses eventually left the facility due to the approaching storm. I know a lot of you are saying that you would have stayed but come on, really. You have kids and family at home depending on you to help them as well and you are going to let them die because some families couldn’t be bother to pick up mom or dad before the storm. I am a nurse and I would have high tailed it out of that facility as fast as possible to get my kids to safety.

The families were waging a lawsuit and screaming that the facility owner and nurses were monsters that let their parents die. Telling the camera how much they loved their parents and that this was murder plain and simple. Yet where were they? Oh yeah, they were fleeing the storm without mom and dad. So I guess that their parents didn’t mean as much to them as they said since they couldn’t be bothered to take them along to safety. Yet they expect that some nurse is going to stay and leave his or her family, kids and loved ones to possibly die to stay with the parent that you couldn’t even be bothered to make arrangements for yourself. Please they should be on trial themselves then.

Now according to all the court papers the families were notified days in advance and the nurses stayed until the water was thigh high before they fled. I have respect for them staying that long. All I am saying is that if we as good family members cared more for our loved ones we would ensure that they get the best care that they can possibly receive. And a lot of the time that involves coming out of your comfort zone and keeping them at your home or maybe doing a tad bit of research to ensure that you aren’t relegating them to the Dr. Kevorkian home for the elderly. It is high time that we stop looking for someone else to take responsibility and start taking responsibility for our family, neighborhoods and country and everyone living in it.

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Filed under African American, American society, Black community, Black Culture, Black Family, Black People, St. Louis

Bad Medicine

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I made a doctor’s appointment for my ten month old son in January. The first problem I had was the fact that my insurance company allowed me to pick the doctor of my choice which was great since at first they picked one for you. While making an appointment to see this doctor I was told that the doctor I chose no longer worked with this particular clinic and hasn’t for a while. I was then told that my son was going to see some doctor on staff. I was not thrilled about that as I do like to know the background of the doctor and find out a little bit about their specialties etc. before I allow them to start treating my son, myself or any of my family.

This was only the beginning of what I felt was a nightmare situation. I received my son’s medical card which had the medical center I was to visits address. When I arrived at the address a little more than a half an hour before his appointment in case I needed to fill out paperwork, I was told that the clinic had long since moved to a new building. The people gave me the new address and off I went to hunt it down. Since mind you I am new to this city having only been here for about four months, so it was a trial to find my way around.

After arriving to this new clinic I asked for information on what I was to do next since this place was extremely big and there were no information signs. I was told that I needed to go to registration first. When I finished filling out the paper work the lady registering my son made a few phone calls, I had no idea what she was doing so I asked her how long this would take since his appointment was at 11am and we had about 2 minutes left. She said it wouldn’t take long and about half an hour later she hands me the phone and said that she had been trying to change my PCP or (primary care provider) to this large clinic. I said I did not want to change my PCP and was told in a snippy tone that if I wanted to see the doctor today that I would “HAVE” to, so I reluctantly complied.

After finishing I was sent to the second floor again with absolutely no information or directions to again hunt down where I was supposed to go. She said the yellow section, so I wondered around since there was no staff to ask until I ran upon an area painted completely in neon yellow. This area was filthy but then again the first thing I noticed was that the whole building was completely filthy and very unkempt.

I gave my paperwork to the nurse behind the desk and she asked if he was a walk in or an appointment, when I said appointment she said she couldn’t locate his name. After a little searching she said that he had been put in as an appointment for the previous Friday. I told her that they told me Monday and she said that it didn’t matter because they were never open on Fridays anyway. So I guess if I had the right date I would have wasted my time and gas coming to a closed clinic for nothing.

She said I was now a walk in and to have a seat and the nurse would be with me soon. I asked if he was still seeing Dr. Blank and I was promptly told that Dr. Blank was actually Nurse Blank RN. There was no doctor. I was not happy as if I wanted him to see a nurse I could stay home and look at him myself. I just sat down disgusted by all the filth in the halls, on the walls and floors. It looked as if people had been tracking in mud and dirt for days with no mopping nor sweeping even though the weather had been sunny for a few days. It was horrible to say the least.

As I sat and watched the nurses call babies into the weight and measurement room where I was seated directly adjacent to, I noticed that these nurses didn’t even use any Universal precautions. They were putting all the babies on the same scale without even cleaning or putting down new paper. When I brought this to their attention I was told that the babies were clean and then dismissed. I was extremely uncomfortable with this as most of the babies were obviously suffering from some sort of upper respiratory ailments and looked pretty contagious.

The last straw was the fact that a lady and her mother were arguing after she was told by staff that the mother had bad breath and the daughter became angry with her mother with whom she began to fight. I then went to the desk to complain and to ask about another appointment with an actual doctor elsewhere, instead of a person there was a sign that said the nurses had all gone to lunch and would be back in about half an hour and to wait patiently. So not only could I not get any help I was supposed to wait patiently to be seen by one of these nurses who seem to have no work ethic. I had had enough of the dirty, condescending, substandard care and treatment from these non professional individuals.

I left and plan to change my PCP to some other doctor’s office as soon as I can find one that is acceptable. This is just one in a long line of substandard customer service and professionalism that I have had to endure in this state. I am wondering if this type of substandard care is indicative of what I will find anywhere here in this predominantly black community or if is this is a state problem that coming from Idaho and Washington State I have not had the misfortune of dealing with?

My biggest concern was that this place was full of sick and downtrodden people who looked as if they couldn’t or didn’t know how to change the circumstances of this clinic. I immediately took it upon myself to write letters to the government and to the medical provider in order to let them know the substandard conditions that exist there. I have never seen such horrible conditions in a clinic even having worked in nursing for over ten years. I was surprised that people actually were patronizing this place. It was almost as if they did not feel that they knew that there was anything wrong with this place. Young mothers with tiny babies and elderly folks all waiting for any semblance of care was disheartening.

I didn’t just take the experience of this place and file into the negative section of my memory. I actually went home and immediately documented the entire events of the day so that I could do something about it. To me if I had done nothing I am no better than the people providing that substandard care. I sat down at my computer and typed out a letter that I sent to my insurance provider and to the complete list of government officials that represent this area. I went from senators to the state auditor to the alderman. I left no one untouched. And hopefully the next time I post about this place it will be to say that it has been much improved. And for the sake of everyone who frequents this place something will be done.

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Filed under African American, Black community, Black Culture, Black Family, Black People, Racism, Universal Healthcare