Friday, February 6, 2009

Not all Hospitals are Alike

I know that my father's health wasn't the best, but I think the poor care he received at Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Va contributed greatly to his death.

After nearly two weeks in ICU, we decided to move Dad to Fairfax Hospital. I must say the quality of care between the two hospitals was as different as night and day.

He had a temperature at Fair Oaks the whole time he was being treated. The doctors were unable to get it under control. In fact, the day before we moved him it had reached 107, and the doctors did virtually nothing to try and lower it besides prescribing more medication. When we moved him to Fairfax, the doctors got it down within 12 hours--due in large part because they took him off the sedatives given at Fair Oaks. By the time we moved him, it was too late, the high fever and prolonged time on the respirator took their toll on his kidneys and other organs. His body was shutting down, and he died three days later.

Without getting into specifics, the doctors and staff at Fair Oaks didn't seem to care. They visited him infrequently, and acted as if he didn't matter. The various specialists (Heart, lungs, infectious disease) never talked to each other to form a plan of action until we started to complain. Instead, each blamed the others area of expertise for my Dad's illness, and none of them stepped up to the plate to try and save him. In my opinion, they should all be sacked. They shouldn't receive a dime for the care they gave my father, and they should all find other careers since helping the sick isn't their priority. My father waited three days to have a catheter replaced after a nurse botched a simple procedure and the Urologist couldn't be bothered to answer his pages over the weekend. When a different urologist finally came to see him and adjust the catheter, over three liters of urine came out. Imagine peeing for 10 minutes. Now imagine holding that for three days while your doctor plays golf. That's the joy the doctors brought my father before he died.

Although both hospitals are owned by the same system (INOVA), take my advice if you or a loved one is ever sick in Northern Virginia, drive the extra 20 minutes to Fairfax Hospital. It might save your life!

Family, Friends, and Memories

I never thought of my family as close, but over the past few days I have realized that we truly are. I was fortunate enough to spend 44 out of 45 Christmases with my parents, brother, and sisters. As our families expanded through marriage and children, the holidays seemed to always bring us back to the beginning. My parents were both from Southern California, and I grew up mostly on the east coast, so my grandparents and cousins were not a consistent part of my life. Maybe that's why Mom and Dad always made such a big deal about Christmas time. I count myself lucky to have such a close family, especially now that my father is gone.