WIFE WAITS 18 HOURS IN ER WITH HER HUSBAND WAITING FOR HIM TO BE ADMITTED
Woman Insists on Returning to Hospital to be With Her Husband who has Dementia Even Though She is Very Sick
On December 22, 2021, I took my father to five different urgent care/doctors’ offices seeking care for his severe diarrhea, general weakness and sickness. I finally found one in Tyrone, Georgia, that could see him in a reasonable amount of time. The doctor did not test him for Covid and simply prescribed an anti-diarrheal medication and Cipro (antibiotic), stating he had food poisoning. I was skeptical because we had all eaten the same things over the past several days but happy that was all it was.
We administered the medications over the next few days and the diarrhea subsided by December 25, 2021. However, on December 26, his symptoms changed and he developed a severe cough and headache. His confusion increased (he already had dementia) and he fell twice. Weakness increased and he began having delusions and seeing things. Also, he could not remember how to spit versus swallow and was very agitated.
We took him back to urgent care with the same doctor on a follow-up basis and waited almost four hours to be seen. The doctor said he only had a sinus infection and sent him away with no new medication and without testing him. Covid was at peak levels during this time but he was never tested regardless.
On New Year’s Eve 2021, I escorted my parents to Newnan Hospital Emergency Room (ER). This was after my father had diarrhea again and developed blood in his urine. After waiting in a crowded waiting room for over an hour, I left my parents there to return home. My mother phoned the next morning to tell me they were in the ER still waiting for a bed to come available for my dad. During this call, I reminded her to tell ER staff not to administer Remdesivir to my father. She told the ER staff this while I was still on the phone with her.
While waiting with him, she had been sitting in a chair all night. After approximately 18 hours, my father was admitted to the hospital for Covid. After admittance to the hospital, she was forced to leave him regardless of his dementia. I picked her up at approximately 10:00 PM the following night and brought her home, also sick. I then called the next morning (January 2) to request that the charge nurse allow her to return at her insistence because of my father’s mental status.
The nurse agreed because my father was non-compliant with keeping his IV in and was trying to “escape” his bed and seemed completely confused. He also would not swallow anything. My mother wasn’t feeling well herself, so I told her to rest for awhile before going back. She laid down but the phone rang around 2:00 PM. The nurse assigned to him wanted to know when my mother would be there because they couldn’t handle him and all the other patients they had to attend to.
They said if she didn’t come, they would need to restrain him to keep him in bed. My mother immediately got dressed and I took her to the hospital shortly thereafter. She was required to wear a gown and mask (N95) and sleep on a chair. She was not allowed at first to get food from the hospital so I returned with food, which I had to deliver to the front desk because I was not permitted to go to his room at all.
Every time I talked to her on the phone, I reminded her to tell them no Remdesivir, fearing they would give it anyway, as I had read about this happening in other hospitals. There was a no visitation policy in place at that time. This went on for approximately four days with me delivering fresh clothes, blanket (hospital would not provide one), medication, etc. to the front desk.
All the while, my mother, unbeknownst to me, was getting sicker. She texted me when she needed me to bring something or to update me on my dad’s status. On January 5, she called to tell me she was too sick to walk to the ER and asked me to call a nurse to push her down and get her help. I called the charge nurse on my dad’s floor and demanded they take her via wheelchair to the ER.
I received calls daily about my father’s condition and was told he had a severe urinary infection, mental cognition problems and required restraints to keep his IVs in. His condition continued to decline each day, and I spoke to a person named James Dinwiddie on January 14 extensively about his decline. Dinwiddie stated that his nutrition was such that he could not recover.
So, they would need to either put him in hospice and let him die, keep doing what they were doing which he admitted was not working, or intubate him and put a feeding tube in so he could get better nutrition to possibly give him the strength to recover. I was also told by a nurse, Betsy, who allowed me to Facetime my father (since I wasn’t allowed to visit) that he was in rapid decline and she did not expect him to survive much longer. She stated he was bruised from pulling at restraints and moaning, unable to communicate with anyone.
This influenced my decision to let them intubate him, hoping that the feeding tube would do enough for his strength to quickly allow him to come off the ventilator, as his oxygen was still in the 90s. Approximately two days later, on January 17 at 10:00 AM, I was called when he crashed and the critical care team was there to administer CPR.
I had to make a split-second decision to give them Do Not Resuscitate permission. My mother was intubated by this time as well (January 10), so she could not make any decisions on behalf of my dad at that point. He died of cardiac arrest at that hour. Only then was I allowed to come to the hospital to view his body.
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