Sunday, July 13, 2008

MIL update

Mom was scheduled for surgery Friday, but that didn't happen. What was really frustrating for us was the fact that nobody told us what was going on, and nobody seemed to have a clue. She was scheduled for surgery at 2:00 and we were told that they'd take her from the room around 1:00. Around 3:00 a nurse finally told us that her surgery was cancelled, but she didn't know why. The nurse put a call in to the surgeon, who came to the room about an hour later. He told my sister-in-law that a CT scan of the hip had been ordered that morning and that was why she had been taken off the schedule for surgery. He had no clue why it had been ordered and seemed really put out about it. He got mom scheduled for surgery at 1:00 the next afternoon, but explained that because it was the weekend a different surgeon would be doing her hip replacement.

Today (or is it more accurate to say yesterday?) everybody went up to see mom right before surgery, around 11:30. A little after 12:00 the nurse let folks know that surgery had been bumped back to 3:00. At this point we were all getting a little tired of playing this game, since this was the third time that her surgery had been rescheduled. Around 3:00 my sister-in-law, Terry, called the hospital to see what was going on with mom. The nurses told her then that mom had not been taken for surgery yet, that it would be closer to 4:00. Around 4:45 Terry called again to check on mom and was told that they had just wheeled her down to surgery. At this point frustration levels were very high.

When it got close to time for mom to be coming out of surgery we went to the hospital to wait for mom to get done so that we could talk to the doctor. It was around 7:00 when he came out to let us know that he was done. He had a couple of xrays in his hand. He showed Terry the xrays and explained that because he was able to set the hip well with pins he decided not to do the hip replacement. He didn't want to put an 86 year old woman through such a traumatic surgery unnecessarily. He went on to explain that her origional xrays had been read by the radiologist as there being no sign of fracture. According to this doctor the other surgeon had come to him for help yesterday and that's when he had ordered the CT scan. Because it was late in the afternoon before the radiologist read the scan they had been unable to operate yesterday. He was a really nice guy, and he gave the 2 xrays of mom's hip to Terry. When Terry asked about the ever changing surgery schedule he said that he had changed mom's surgery to 4:00 when he came in at noon, because of an emergency surgery that he had to do. For some reason he also made a point of telling us about some piece of paper that mom's PCP had forgotten to sign, and that he had gotten another doctor to examine her and sign it. I walked away happy with the report that he had given us.

That happiness has faded as I've thought things over. I now have a couple of questions. If the other surgeon had asked for his help, and , according to this guy, was there when the CT scan was ordered, why did he seem so put out about it later? He really came across very strongly as seeing the CT scan as an unnecessary test. Also, why did the surgeon not discuss with us his decision to put pins in instead of the hip replacement? We had been told that while pins could be used, there was an increased risk of needing surgery in the future if they were used. Because of mom's age the other doctors had strongly recommended going ahead with hip replacement to avoid the risk of her needing another operation in the future. Shouldn't decisions like this at least involve the patient and her caregiver?

Now that I've had a few hours to think things over I'm really upset about how this surgeon handled things. There's a part of me that wants to accuse the surgeon of purposely getting mom bumped to today so that he would be the one doing her surgery, that way he could do it the way that he thought best. And maybe his way was best, I just think that he should have let us know that he was changing the plan before going ahead and doing the surgery. Especially since, from what he said, he knew when he walked into the operating room that he wasn't doing a hip replacement.

No comments: