My name is Elizabeth and I am an Occupy LA Occupier. My address is 200 N Spring Street Los Angeles, CA. I live in a tent on the South lawn of City Hall. 3 days ago, I developed a high fever and was rushed to the LAC/USC hospital by a friend. I have no medical insurance. This is the story of my experience over the past 3 days.
When I arrived at the hospital at 9 pm on Friday night, the intake staff was informed that I had pain in my breast and red streaks across my chest and that I had passed out. They admitted me to triage immediately. I was finally moved into the resuscitation ward, then moved to the regular emergency ward after the initial testing. The surgeon said that I needed an ultra sound to to rule out surgery. It took me 18 hours of being in the hospital to receive treatment. When I finally got my ultrasound and blood work done, the abscess proved to be very large and the infection so bad that my white blood cell count was 4 x higher than normal. The ultrasound was super painful, as my pain meds had worn off. When I was in ultrasound, I asked for a patient advocate because I felt things were already a mess. I was told "they do not have patient advocates here". That proved to be untrue. I was after all in a hospital. They hooked me to an second IV drip sometime while I was asleep. Bad practice. The nurse in charge claimed that I was awake when they had hooked it up. From there forward I was afraid of their willingness to distort the facts and fought exhaustion and pain to remain coherent as much as possible. I remained awake until they put me under for surgery.
As the hours passed, I took mental notes of the treatment I received. Again and again I had to tell people what I was allergic to, even though the process of triage covers allergies. Hospitals are supposed to give you an arm band stating your allergies. This place did not. After I was asked by the 15th person in a row about my allergies, I wrote them on my wrist with a sharpie marker. The first antibiotic they gave me was incorrect. I never got an answer as to who ordered this, the second antibiotic made me throw up immediately. One positive in this ER debacle, was that the surgeons were awesome. If only they were on the same page as the other teams they work with. I went into surgery after 28 hours of being admitted. The surgery was performed in the ER, and I was told I would be awake, but actually I slept through the whole thing, and awoke up in my room alone.
I was groggy when I came to, attached to the equipment and covered in blood and pus. The male nurse who was on shift at the time touched me using his bare hands. He tried twice to hook up my IV, bare handed both times, while dragging the ends of the IV on the ground. I flipped out and demanded someone else do it. I did not trust the bare handed ER nurse. I asked why I was bleeding. It seemed the head nurse and the RN who had come into my room had no idea why I was there or who I was, or that I had just come from surgery.
I finally got a great nurse who understood what was going on Sunday morning. I explained my dietary needs to the nurses. I am gluten free and lactose intolerant and rarely eat meats due to a hormone imbalance. The kitchen sent me nothing for breakfast and lunch. When the Dietitian finally visited, she was clueless as to how to help me with my dietary issues, and asked me what I wanted. I told her but I did not get my food until 2 pm Sunday. This was roughly 44 hours after I was admitted. When I got my food it was low in calories and nutritional value. My food consisted of over cooked green beans and rice gruel all on a plate. It was inedible.
I woke up this morning in great pain and asked for my meds. I was again quizzed about my allergies. Why won't they read my chart? Today I was offered meds that I cannot use or do not need such as Vicoden, Colace and acid reflux meds. I was supposed to be given anxiety meds early this morning and I just got them at 10:30 am, 6 hours behind schedule. At noon I was brought a wonderful lunch which I never ate because the nurses came in to change my wound dressings and teach me to do it myself. I was so stressed afterwards that I collapsed exhausted and fell back to sleep. The uneaten food was removed.
My dressings needs to be changed daily for several weeks. I must stuff gauze into the open wound as part of my recovery. This is an extremely painful procedure. If only a doctor would come by for a visit... but I have not seen a doctor in several days, only nurses. My head nurse seems irritated by me. I want to cooperate, but this is frightening and without insurance I am unable to insist on better care. The staff does not treat me the same as some of the other patients. I wonder if those other patients have health coverage. I won't ask. I won't blame others for getting better care than me. This country has a 'health care for sale system' and I have no money to buy good treatment. I am at the hospitals mercy. I am learning to pack this wound myself. I am in extreme pain while I did this procedure. This is very difficult and it will be virtually impossible for me to do in sanitary conditions with my current living situation at Occupy LA.
They want to discharge me in the morning. I have yet to see a social worker and keep getting excuses as to why she has not come to see me. I have been told over and over she is on her way. She deals with my aftercare. If this is not properly handled I could become very sick again, lose my breast or worse... I could die from an infection. A woman from finance came to see me today telling me I was being enrolled in Healthy Way LA. She said once I have my discharge papers, my hospital bills will be paid for and POSSIBLY my aftercare. She added that Healthy Way coverage may not cover my prescriptions. My social worker in hospital is named Katherine Anita Lopez, and her number is 323 409 3757
. If anyone knows Katherine, please ask her to come see me.
Beyond the poor and uneven treatment I received here, I want people to know that this hospital is filthy. It has bad issues with meeting patients needs. It needs to exposed and fixed. People come here to get well. Even people without insurance deserve to be treated with respect in a clean facility that is well tended and with a helpful and professional staff. Please be aware and investigate this place. Come down and cover this story. I am in 7c room 104 and my name is Elizabeth Kempf. I can be reached through this email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance. ~Beth /Liz Savage Full time Occupier
I was just assaulted 10 minutes ago, A man who refuses to show me his name tag, but its telling me his name is Larry Johnson, from phlebotomy here are LAC USC walked into my room about 545 this morning yelling that he was taking my blood. I held my IV arm up and he refused to take blood from the IV, he wanted blood from the other side, which is the left side where my surgery is, and where my other IV tube perviously was.
He yanked my left arm out from under me, slamming into my open wound from the surgery and without looking tied off over the painful area where my old IV was, he did this roughly without my permission. I screamed because he was hurting me, and did not seem to care. He screamed back at me then took the tie of and walked out slamming my door. I followed him out into the hallway demanding to see his ID, which he refused, he just would tell me his name is larry johnson and I think he is lying about that. He is a tall african american man who is bald, and has a serious attutude problem. I am now full awake, and fully coherent as I have no had pain meds in over 12 hours.
This is completely uncalled for I want this mans name, I want his bosses name and no one will tell me. This is not how you treat patients in a hospital. The nurses are protecting him as well. I want this outed I want this in the mainstream media this morning. I have had enough of this poor treatment and nonsense. I will not be manhandled, or screamed at by someone who is supposed to be taking blood.
This is unprofessional behaviour. I left a call to Jim lafferty, but I ask whoever is reading this blog to please share it and pass this on, everyone needs to see this.