An Open Letter To- Consulate Health Care Pensacola, FL
An Open Letter To Your Staff,
Today I sat down at my desk to get my day started and Facebook reminded me to wish my father a happy birthday. “Happy Birthday Daddy” my mind whispered. Tears filled my eyes and I pondered how I’d handled the last few years since he’s been gone. That’s when Facebook played a double mean trick on me with the Timehop feature. It reminded me of our last birthday together…
Daddy would be a young 60 years old today. Daddy didn’t get that chance, your staff set into motion an avalanche of pitfalls that eventually killed my father.
August 11, 2012, my father had been in your establishment just a few weeks. Mom had taken care of dad at home after his stroke for years but she was facing cancer and I made a terrible decision and insisted that she place him in a nursing home so she could take a rest and get better herself before she went back to taking care of him. On this day My family gathered to celebrate with dad for his 56th birthday not knowing it would be his last and one of the last times we’d ever hear him speak again. Dad was a viral man before his stroke with a boisterous personality, it’s all too true that his stroke had made him depressed and a bit quieter but not on the level that I observed that day. Dad was short of breath, his color was off, I made his favorite meal and his absolute favorite dessert he barely touched his dinner and completely refused dessert.
As we wheeled him back to his room I went and got his nurse and told her, “something is wrong” She told me “He’s fine it’s just a lot of excitement” “Ma’am I know my father and something is NOT right, has he been getting his meds? What did his vitals look like? He says he’s short of breath can you check his O2 stats?” She left the room frustrated with me and came back with a pulse oximeter she put it on his finger and tried to stand in between him and I so that I couldn’t see the results. I got a quick glance, she lied to me and told me the numbers were fine, they were not. She also told me it was time for me to go and informed me that we were making a lot of noise and that if we didn’t leave she would have us removed. I realized the mistake I’d made placing him in the care of your staff and facility that night…
I stood in the parking lot and cried for half an hour trying to decide if it was worth pressing the issue and having your staff tell me I couldn’t come back and visit my father period, or if maybe she was right and he just wasn’t feeling well that night. Dad was already short of breath and not feeling well I decided it would be better for him if I went home and didn’t cause a scene. Hindsight is 20/20 had I of known that dad’s Dilantin levels had fallen critically low and that he was about to have the worst & longest seizure of his life when he hadn’t had one in years I would have marched right back in there and continued to show my hind end and probably left with my father. You see, I know a lot more about what I can and could not do now, years later. That night I was nieve and believed I had to take your nurses word for it… I should have taken him to the ER.
Dad’s roommate claimed that dad seized for nearly an hour before someone came to tend to him. I don’t know if that’s true. I do know that the ER doctor told me my father was likely gone even though they’d managed to save his body. I sat beside his bed a cried for 3 days as he was virtually unconscious and hooked up to tons of machines. Dad eventually regained consciousness and seized several more times over the next month and had to be repeatedly intubated and eventually grew so much scar tissue that they couldn’t remove it. He did come back to us as far as his mind was concerned and then he became trapped in his own body unable to eat, unable to talk, unable to even voice his own concerns anymore.
I’ll spare you the rest of the painful details of this story because your neglect was just the first in a long string of atrocities that my daddy lived through for the next 10 or 11 months until he was found unrevivable at yet another nursing home with his trech pulled out, and no one can tell us how it happened. I need you, your staff, and anyone working in a facility like this to take away from my heartbreak, that you don’t always know the background of the person you are talking to. “You” told me my father was just excitable and brushed off my concern. I KNEW my daddy I KNEW something was wrong. I was right, and now I live with the guilt of not insisting on being heard. My mother who fought and beat cancer so that she could take my father back home and continue to live out her days with him… almost killed herself over the devastating loss. My youngest sister with 3 children who spent nearly every day with their paw paw who still ask when he’s coming home, she also deals with guilt over not being able to take on caring for both him and my mother at the same time. My daughter who’d never really gotten a chance to meet her grand-dad and missed out on having an amazing grandpa. My brother who moved away because the memories are too painful, and the middle sister who missed out on the last several years of her father’s life because she was a military spouse stationed far from home, and finally me, who still picks up the phone to call dad and ask him for his advice when a situation gets tough and then remembers… you contributed to the loss of a patriarch, a man who was loved and is now missed greatly.
You failed at your job… you aren’t the only facility failing to provide care for loved one’s who need more care than they can get at home, but YOU failed and you ultimately cost this person their life, and scarred an entire clan. My daddy should still be here… I should be making plans to take him to dinner or cook his favorite meal again today not sitting here chastising the company that failed him.
Listen to the families that care enough to spend time with their loved ones. Don’t look at them as a burden on your facility. They are your greatest ally when it comes to truly taking world-class care of your patients. Your nurse had known my dad for a few weeks, we’d cared for him for years after his stroke. We knew the signs that something was wrong. Don’t ever ignore or belittle a families concerns, and certainly don’t ever threaten to take access to a girl’s father away from her because she’s not being heard. Your threats in a small way caused me to lose my daddy permanently… so in the long run, your nurse inadvertently accomplished exactly what she threatened me with at a great cost to my father and family.
A Girl Who Misses Her Daddy
I started this out as an email but have decided to make it public. I’m sure I’ve said this before… but if you care about your family members find a way to care for them at home… if that’s not possible show up to the care facility often, voice your concerns, don’t be worried about being seen as a trouble maker. BE A TROUBLE MAKER. Better to be a trouble maker than regret not doing all you could to make sure your loved one was properly cared for. That being said nurses have a hard job, but facilities are more concerned about Profit and Loss than providing great care! The world needs a wake-up call.