Wife received poor treatment at DC hospital

On Oct. 20, at about 6 p.m., my wife yelled “Roger,” fainted, fell backwards and hit the back of her head on the kitchen floor with a tremendous bang and was temporarily knocked unconscious. The resulting bruise on the back of her head was the size of half a grapefruit.

After she regained consciousness I managed to get her into my truck, then rushed her 5 miles to the Dickinson County Hospital emergency room for immediate medical intervention. We arrived there about 6:30 p.m. and were seen by a RN who appeared unconcerned. After she interviewed my wife, she put us in a room across the hall to wait. While waiting, I phoned our best friends and told them what had happened and they immediately came to comfort us and overheard the following exchange between myself and the attending emergency room RN.

After waiting 45 minutes, I approached the RN and told her (in a very anxious way) “that my wife’s life was in jeopardy and needed to be seen immediately by a physician.”

She responded by saying that my wife was “neurologically stable.” I said, “You’re not a physician and you’re not qualified to make a medical diagnosis like that.” She raised her voice and said, “You can’t talk to me like that.” I again reiterated, “You’re not a doctor and can’t state that.”

She then replied, “I’m going to turn my back and walk away from you now.”

I responded, “You’re not a doctor and she needs to be seen by someone immediately.”

Finally she said, “Do you want me to call the hospital supervisor on you?” l retreated to the waiting room, fearing that I might get ousted along with my injured wife and friends. I asked our friends if I should try and get my injured wife to Escanaba or Marquette, but they felt there wasn’t time under the circumstances, so we all continued to wait!

After about an hour of waiting, I approached the nurse behind the glass window in the emergency room and demanded that my wife be seen immediately. Shortly thereafter, they brought my wife into the ER to be evaluated.

A CT scan was immediately ordered of my wife’s head and it revealed that her brain was bleeding and she had a life-threatening subdural hematoma. Hours later, she was placed in an ambulance and rushed to a waiting trauma team at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. She was immediately put in their intensive care unit for three days of vigilant care and another day elsewhere for treatment. While there, I met her trauma doctor and numerous other attentive nurses who treated my wife with kindness and respect. My wife is still receiving medical care for the bleeding and swelling of her brain at the St. Vincent’s neurosurgery clinic every six weeks.

I filed a complaint about our ordeal at the Dickinson County Hospital with their patient representative, who has 30 years of nursing experience. I stressed how unprofessional and disrespectful the young emergency room RN had treated us during my wife’s life-threatening ordeal there. In spite of my complaint and corroborating witnesses, their investigation essentially ended with one nurse protecting a much younger emergency room RN from any professional misconduct or wrongdoings.