Unacceptable Behavior

The letter by Robert Burns of Potomac Falls ["Common Sense Questions," Loudoun Extra, Nov. 24] about care at Loudoun Hospital Center (LHC) was a catalyst for this letter. Burns provided undeniable proof that something is terribly wrong with patient care there.

As he pointed out, the addition of a second hospital in this area would certainly be conducive to better health care services for Loudoun residents. Care at LHC currently might be called, at best, an accident waiting to happen.

I served as an Air Force nurse for 22 years, working in all aspects of patient care, so I believe that I am qualified to assess and comment on patient care at LHC.

I was referred to a bone specialist at LHC one Wednesday last month for evaluation and treatment of osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection of the left foot requiring immediate surgical intervention. I called the specialist's office as directed by the referring doctor.

I was given an appointment on Thursday for preadmission and on Friday for surgery. When I appeared, I was told that there was no record of any appointment, and I realized that I had made a mistake in choosing LHC. To say I was shocked and totally upset is an understatement.

I have never been "greeted" by such callous, uncaring, unprofessional and insensitive people. After a hurried office visit, set up the day before, I was sent up front to sign legal papers and told to return Friday at 6 a.m. for surgery at 7 a.m.

That afternoon, I received a call from the hospital telling me that I would have to leave the hospital after surgery; they had 24 other patients waiting for beds, including cardiac patients. In utter disbelief, I reiterated my age, said I lived alone and questioned the validity of hospital staff statements.

[The woman] told me I could get private-duty nurses around the clock to remedy this crisis. This was totally unacceptable to a patient about to undergo surgery. I was so mentally and emotionally traumatized at this point that I asked that my surgery be canceled.

Thank goodness I discovered this before surgery! As anyone knows, it is totally unacceptable to subject a patient facing surgery to this kind of nonsense.

Have LHC staff ever concerned themselves with the art of consoling, reassuring and being sympathetic, kind and competent with patients under their care?

Surely, this situation has been a bad dream. Where are the concerned caregivers who entered the medical world to relieve, not induce, patient suffering?

Lt. Col. Sara H. Perry, USAF (ret.)