A True Health Care Scary Story...
Woman #1: An elderly woman in her 80’s was at home when she began suffering increasing confusion, delirium and mental status changes. This state of mind was very unusual for her. She had a history of a stroke so no punches were pulled and an ambulance was called to take her to the Emergency Room. Once there, they found she had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), also known as a “bladder infection”. They drew blood and sent her home on oral antibiotics. The next morning, upon receiving the results of the blood test, they found that she had urosepsis. Sepsis is an infection in the bloodstream that is extremely dangerous if untreated. Her sepsis was caused by the UTI, hence the name urosepsis. She was rushed to the hospital, via ambulance and is on a several day course of IV antibiotics. Her confusion is waning and she is returning to her old self.
Woman #2: This woman, also a senior citizen, underwent cardiac bypass surgery and was sent to a skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home) for rehab. While there she began speaking gibberish and responding inappropriately to questions and situations. They moved her to the Alzheimer’s Unit. It was only after the transfer that they discovered this woman was suffering from a raging UTI. Her mental status returned to normal after a course of IV antibiotic therapy.
What is interesting in these two stories is the following: neither woman had outward signs or symptoms of the UTI. Also, both women remember absolutely everything. They realized they were talking nonsense but the infection created a “disconnect” between their brains and how they were communicating. Fortunately, in both cases, the cause was discovered, and treated, rather quickly.
As a health care professional I have seen this scenario all too often. What surprised me, however, was that each woman had absolutely PERFECT MEMORY of their experiences. Even though I always try to treat my patients with respect , I wonder about the numerous times in my 30 year career that I’ve heard thoughtless comments uttered in the presence of these type of patients. What humility they must have felt. It saddens me greatly.
I pray that these scenarios point us to the dignity all life deserves. Let us all be more aware of how we treat those in positions of disability, weakness and infirmity. Let us never, ever abuse this sacred trust.
On a Lighter Note...
Thank you Ms. Bibi, from From Misery to Happiness in 365 Days. This lovely lady had such nice comments to say about me on a recent post, when bestowing upon me the Honest Scrap Award. I graciously accept this honor.
I received the Dragon's Loyalty Award from my long time blog friend Tats (Nicole) over at Tattoos and Teething Rings. We've been there for each other since the beginning, almost 1 year ago. Please check out her out if you have the time.
I would like to pass this off to all of my long time blogging friends who have been with me from the start....you know who you are so go ahead and grab this award and go. I'm talking to you, Willoughby, Luis,Thames, Raouly;s Girl, Christine, Lisaloo and Who am I!. If you have the time, please check these folks out if you haven't already done so. They are all unique and keep me grounded in this place called cyber space.