Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I Will Never Return to Northridge Hospital



Hello my little gingersnaps. Today we're switching it up. After a particularly awful time at the ER, following a nasty fall on Saturday night, I considered what my options were for how I was treated. Do I just write a letter to the administrator? Do I blog about it? Or do I mention it on Twitter?


After consulting with my dad, a doctor and Medical Director of five Orlando area hospitals, about my experience, he felt I should use the most public forum possible. So that is why I'm writing about it here, which I will then tweet, and copy to the hospital administrator as well.


It all started yesteday, when we were going to a friend's son's birthday party. I got out of the car and walked along the sidewalk. Then I tripped on a square of sidewalk that was sticking up. You know how you start running to regain your balance, and most of the time it works? Well I almost regained my balance, but instead just managed to gain momentum to the point that when I fell, I fell spectacularly. The first impact was on my right knee, followed by my hands. Of course there was someone else heading to the party who rushed up to me and said, "OMG! Are you okay?!!!" I'm thinking... lady, please leave me alone in my humiliation, thank you!!! I would've gotten up and bowed for my audience, but I was in so much pain, I laid there for a few minutes before attempting to get up. And then I hobbled along in pain until I arrived at the party. *big sigh*


I quickly found a chair where I could stay seated and keep weight off my knee. Between the stinging of my hands and the pain in my knee, I was nearly in tears, so the ever helpful Mr. G gave me a glass of wine, hoping it would help. When I asked the host for some Advil, she insisted I ice my knee and gave me a bag of ice. Of course this was what I was hoping to avoid. Now everyone at the party needed to know why I was icing my knee, so I ended up repeating the story 25 times or so about how I totally ate it on the sidewalk on the way to the party.


Thankfully everyone was lovely, and several concerned friends (judging by the amount of pain I was in) urged me to go immediately after the party and have it checked out at an Urgent Care.


Four hours later we left the party. I pulled up my jeans and actually looked at my knee for the first time. It was scraped and quite swollen, despite all the time I spent icing it. It hurt to walk on it. My hands still stung and I was starting to feel like I had whiplash. Now that might sound ridiculous at first, but I'm currently being treated by a Physical Therapist weekly for neck and back injuries due to past car accidents.


So off to the Urgent Care we went. Or so we thought. Apparently all Urgent Cares close on Saturdays at 5pm. With the pain in my knee and hands and neck/back increasing, Mr. G decided to drive me to a hospital ER to get checked out. At the very least we could get my knee x-rayed and make sure I didn't do serious damage.


So we arrived at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. There weren't any other patients in the waiting room, so I was hoping we wouldn't have to stay so long. Despite my asking, they did not allow Mr. G to go back with me, which was highly disappointing.



Nearly 2 hours after I was checked in, a PA (Physician Assistant) named Jennifer Gros "examined" me. She asked me to describe what happened, all the time looking at me with an "I couldn't care less" look on her face. When I finished speaking she said in a snotty voice, "So, why did you even come in to the ER?" As if I was wasting her time and clearly made the wrong decision to get myself checked out.


I was so shocked by the tone of her voice and her question, that I rambled off about how the Urgent Cares were closed and I wanted to make sure my knee was okay, and that because I was in a lot of pain, I thought I should get it checked out.


Sidenote: I'm not as skinny as I used to be. When my doctor put me on Zoloft, I gained 40 pounds. I have since switched medications and the weight gain has stopped and now I'm working to get off the weight.

Now back to the story...

Jennifer Gros, PA: "Well of course you're in a lot of pain! Anytime someone is extremely out of shape, when they fall, they fall hard. I'll expect you'll be in pain for a couple of weeks."

Uh, WTF?!

She then proceeded to lecture me about my weight. Seriously? I know I have a good 40 pounds to loose, but it's not like I'm pushing 300 or anything. I'm not even sure if she realized I didn't come into the ER for a weight loss consult.

She then continued in a condescending tone, "Well I'm not going to bother x-raying your knee. It's not broken because you can walk on it."

My ability to "walk" on my knee is open to interpretation. Hobble, yes. Walk, no. Not that she saw me getting around, because I was sitting on the exam table the entire time she was in my presence.

She poked around at my knee, which was also skinned and poked at my hands, which were skinned. She did not clean either of them. When I mentioned my neck and back, she checked them out and concluded that I indeed had whiplash.


After she finished checking me out, Jennifer Gros, PA said, "There's really nothing I can do for you other than give you a soft neck brace for your whiplash. Just ice your knee and neck and use Motrin or Tylenol for the pain."


Then she proceeded to lecture me further on losing weight before finally telling me I could put my pants back on and wait for my discharge papers.


After that Mr. G came back. Apparently after he bugged them enough, they finally gave him a pass to come back to see me. By then I was nearly in tears by how rudely I had been treated by Jennifer Gros, PA. I was thoroughly humiliated and demoralized. I wonder if she would have treated me the same way if my husband had been allowed to be in the room with me. I'm guessing not.


I got my discharge papers. There was a prescription for six Vicodin. (six tablets) And there was no mention of a soft neck brace for the whiplash. I was excused hastily. When I tried to make a complaint about Jennifer Gros, PA to the woman who handed me the discharge papers, she turned her back on me and ignored me.


So there I was... two and a half hours at Northridge Hospital Medical Center spent, where my motives for being there were questioned, my weight was criticized and I received no care. Thanks for nothing, Jennifer Gros, PA. If you really dislike people so much, perhaps you shouldn't have gone into health care.


I will never trust Northridge Hospital Medical Center for my care or the care of my loved ones in the future, and I will share my story with whoever will listen. I don't want anyone else to have to go through the disrespect and humiliation I was subjected to at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.


**UPDATE: Just got back from my doctor who X-rayed it and found from the X-ray that it was extremely swollen (much more swollen than it initially looked). So actually an X-ray was warranted. How about that? He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and wants to see me back in a week. I can walk on it, but it isn't much better than when I injured it 3 days ago.

My doc was shocked & outraged at my treatment at the ER and urged me to complain. (which I will) Just glad to finally get something that will help my knee!
Photobucket

19 comments:

  1. You are brave to speak out about this. I admire your drive and how you are no only concerned about yourself but your loved one as well and you want to prevent this horrible thing from happening to anyone else. You are an amazing woman. Screw that wanna be doctor, and her unethical opinion. I think she needs to lose her attitude.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Julie, how awful! That woman should be fired or at the very least put on suspension and fined with a reprimand in her file. I'm so disgusted with medical people thinking that they are God's gift to the great unwashed. (I have several drs. in the family...) I hope you get some satisfaction. I'm going to go off and FB/Tweet about this too!!!! And, I'd get a 2nd opinion about your neck, back, & knee. Hope you feel better soon!

    ~Beth

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am angry all over again reading this and I am so glad you ultimately decided to expose this horrendous mistreatment by a medical professional in a VERY public forum. I would also encourage you to make a formal complaint with the State. Here is her PA info. and contact info. for making the complaint: http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/WLLQRYNA$LCEV2.QueryView?P_LICENSE_NUMBER=17437&P_LTE_ID=884

    <3 you!

    ~ The Artist Formerly Known As Spank ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am horrified right there with you. I don't typically like doctors at all. I feel like when they see me, they don't - all they see is that I am over weight. And that is the cause of any problem I might have. Generally, if I have to see someone in the medical profession, I would choose to see a PA - but your experience is making me rethink that as well. I hope that something happens to Jennifer Gros - and I hope it's way more than a verbal reprimand.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How awful, Julie. I am completely with Spank on this...register a formal complaint. She did nothing to help your medical condition, and just proceeded to humiliate you unnecessarily. Awful, awful client care. The hospital director needs to know how she's treating ER patients.

    ReplyDelete
  6. About 17 months ago I also fell hard and landed on both of my knees. I am overweight and was out walking when I missed a step (I was watching my Hubby play football with the kids) and landed where the cement and gravel meet. Hubby wanted me to go to the ER but I refused. I knew they would make comments about my weight being the cause of my knee hurting.

    I admire you going to the ER and I am so sorry you had to deal with the snotty PA's attitude. I can't believe they wouldn't let Mr. G back there with you. Did they think he caused your fall or something? I really hope you find a doctor to go see and have your knee checked out. I will tell you I still have problems with my knee and I don't want you to suffer the same fate.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Honestly, LA is a very weird place. NO ONE has an extra "40 pounds," so I can see how there would be a low tolerance for "regular" gals. I am now visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and ALMOST ALL of the women are pleasantly plump. It's a wonderful sense of acceptance, no matter what you look like!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hear ya about the doctors. I once sat in a Midland Tx ER for 12 hours waiting to be seen by the doctor. I went in with a torn hand, where I had been bitten by a dog. I went into the hospital at 6pm and left at 7:30 am. It wasn't really a busy night, but they took everyone else before me that walked in after me. I was so mad. I couldn't get the bleeding to stop, so after about 5 hours I just started to bleed on the floor. When they finally saw me, they had the nerve to ask me why I handn't made a big deal to the attending nurse out front. I lost it and told them all how I felt. I got my stitches on my hand, took my medicine and left. Three hours later, I met the owner of the hospital at a meeting (I am the superintendent that worked on their renovation of their hospital). He asked me what happened and I told him all about it. I never heard anything else after that. I finished their project and left that town. Hospital doctors sometime need a swift kick in the pants. I know they put up with alot, but really? Don't be a doctor, if you can't be personable.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can you please go cuss her out ? Better yet can I? I'm dead serious. I'll go with. Don't let her get away with such f$);ed up behavior!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Definitely file a formal complaint, she doesn't belong in the healthcare industry. Also, when you get the ridiculous bill I would send a letter to both the hospital and your insurance company refusing to pay it because they failed to provide competent care, especially if you have further complications to your knee, neck and back. She had absolutely no business discussing your weight because it was in no way related to your injury and the next time someone tells youMarshall can't come back with you look them square in the eye and tell them he is both your husband and your health care advocate and HE IS coming back with you. I hope your heal quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry you had to go through that. I've been treated that way by most of the Urgent Care facilities I've gone to (but thankfully never have experienced this with an ER), and, depending on the doctor on call, are not very helpful at all. I plan on blogging about stuff like that in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG!!! That is horrendous I can't believe she could talk to you like that and get away with it!! Also how did she know it was broken? I know of people who have walked on broken bones before. I for one carried on doing manual labour and heavy lifting for a week with 2 broken ribs before they were found out. Everyones pain tolerance is different!! I don't know how it works in America but I would definitely put in a formal complaint. As for not letting Mr G through we are always allowed family members through with us in our ER's even friends if they are who brought us in unless you asked for it to be in private!! I thought our NHS nurses could be bad but that takes the biscuit!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. So sad to hear about a bad experience! I too have had recent issues with medical professionals being anything but compassionate. Makes you wonder why they picked the medical profession and more importantly how much longer they will be in it for their lack of knowledge!

    Crazy too because the anti-inflamatories are so important in those first few hours - she should lose her medical license for not at least prescribing those and cleaning the wounds!

    Hang in there, sounds like you are on the right path now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW! What a story!! ER's are so demoralizing as is! I am happy you are sharing your experience here and letting them know. Imagine all the people who suffer in silence. Put in a call with some news outlets? Oprah? Let's do this!

    Elle @ SeeMomWorkBlog - All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We went to the ER 2 weeks ago with my son and I was appalled at the lack of hussle from anyone that worked there. It was like they were all on depressants.
    This lady and your experience sounds horrific!

    ReplyDelete
  16. First off you should never ever be treated as you were second it's amazing to me how many people will not talk back to a PA, RN or DR you have patient right which most people do not utilize I would have stopped her immediately and told her to shut her pie hole and get me a patient advocate ASAP you should never allow anyone to speak down to you I am so sorry you had such an experience and I hope you get better soon

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shannon CollearyJune 20, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Julie I'm sorry. This woman sounded like she enjoyed kicking you while you were down. It's unfortunate that we can't always trust health care professionals. I have a few harrowing stories of my own that had to do with my children. Hang in there and let me know if you need my cousin Guido to do any "work" for you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I want to thank each and every one of you for your supportive responses. And thank you for all of you who offered to form a posse with me to give Jennifer Gros, PA a piece of our mind. A couple of you mentioned you have refused treatment because you felt you would be treated similarly due to your weight. I fear you are right, but that makes me so very sad. When we go into the ER for treatment, we should be treated for our injury. Everything else is irrelevant. I'm now undergoing treatment for my injuries with my primary care physician and my physical therapist. And you better believe I will be filing an official complaint with the hospital over this. I don't want this happening to anyone else! Thank you again, everyone, for your kind words. xo

    ReplyDelete
  19. Someone needs to fire her. There needs to be a public forum of shame for nasty hospital workers because there is always one at every hospital.

    ReplyDelete