Local Hospital Threatens to Eject 88 year old African American Army Veteran and his Caregiver for Asking Questions about Medication Process

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Matthew Chapter 5:14-16: “shine your light before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify God.” No where is this needed more than in a healing environment, like a hospital setting. Nurses, angels of mercy and light, are perhaps the very essence of this. They share their light with those in need, providing strength, comfort and positive inspiration to aide the healing process in patients who are vulnerable and need this support.  Some nurses actually seem to glow with a brilliance that rivals the sun. But, what happens when a patient encounters a nurse whose light is much dimmer, hardly recognizable. What wounds are inflicted upon the physical and emotional status of this patient? The following story has to do with an event that happened during the first week in August of this year.  My husband is on hemodialysis. The graft in his arm became clotted, resulting in a four-day stay (also for me as his caregiver) in a local hospital. He had been a patient many times at this hospital. As his caregiver, I oversee his home medications. I keep a  detailed listing of his medications, make sure that his prescriptions are up-to-date and adjust schedules so that they do not interact with each other. Some need to be taken with food, and at certain times of the day. The combinations have been worked-out over-time and monitored by his doctors. Up until this visit, hospital staff (i.e., nurses) always let us bring his home prescription medications to the hospital in their original bottles so that they could be given to him consistent with his home schedule. The hospital records always contained out-dated information, and this ensured that what he was taking was current. Working in concert with them in this way always helped to ease the tension and was greatly appreciated. But, this time, these accommodations were not considered or honored by one lead nurse, resulting in horrible consequences (i.e., severe abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, hot-flashes, raised blood pressure, depression,…). My commitment to remaining a “lighthearted” caregiver was put to the test. I am proud to say that I remained true to my vows. As of this date, there has been no resolution to this story. I will keep you up-dated.

Local Hospital Threatens to Eject 88 year old African American Army Veteran and his Caregiver for Asking Questions about Medication Process

Dr. Walter B. Hammond, 88 year old honorably retired Army veteran (20 years active duty, WWII, Occupation and Korean War; and, 16 years Department of Army, Pentagon and The Army Personnel Center) was told by a lead nurse at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, that he and his wife/ caregiver would be put out of the hospital if they questioned why he could not bring and take his regular prescription medications while in the hospital. He had already been admitted to the hospital and was due for a life-saving surgical procedure the following day.

Dr. Hammond had been hospitalized at Mountain View on several occasions. However, both he and his caregiver were concerned that the computerized hospital system continued to reflect medications no longer being taken.

Dr. Hammond has a number of medical conditions to include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and is also on hemodialysis. Due to his advanced age, his caregiver (also his wife, a Ph.D. Psychologist) oversees his medication schedule and has been doing so for the past 28 years. He experiences severe side effects (i.e., abdominal pain) when his medications are indiscriminately combined, not given with food, substituted with generic equivalents or given at times other than normally taken at home. Dr. Hammond was also concerned about being billed for medications which he already had in his possession.   

His caregiver questioned why they were being given inconsistent information by hospital staff. (Note: Dr. Hammond had another surgical procedure at Mountain View Hospital four days prior to this incident, and was allowed to take his own medications at that time.)  Prior to this incident, Dr. Hammond was always allowed to bring and take his current medications from home, following collaboration, review and hospital staff determination that there was no danger and that they continued to address his on-going medical conditions.  

All of his medications were brought to the hospital in their original bottles so that they could be verified by the hospital pharmacist as fit to be used. When they tried to show the bottles to the lead nurse, she told them that security would be called and that she would have them put out of the hospital if they continued to ask questions. She was not open to exploring options or exceptions. (Note: Later that night, the hospital staff gave medication to Dr. Hammond in pill form which had previously been given in IV form with no adverse side effects. Dr. Hammond suffered severe side-effects which resulted in the doctor- on- duty being called. Dr. Hammond told that doctor about the incident with the lead nurse. That doctor told him that no patient could be removed from the hospital without the approval of a doctor.)

Both Dr. Hammond and his caregiver were visibly shaken and upset by the tone used by the lead nurse. The incident occurred on August 3. Dr. Hammond’s caregiver attempted to file a complaint with the hospital Patient Advocate Office regarding the incident. As per hospital procedures, a telephone call was made to that office, with a request for a call-back. However, there has been no response to date (August 16, 2018).


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