My husband's treatment in hospital...

54 posts in this topic

My husband has previously had 4 heart attacks. Last week he was rushed to hospital with another suspected attack. He had to wait 7 hours to see a doctor and ended up put in the corridor for 24 hours. Thankfully it wasn't another heart attack and he came home 3 days later after heart and lung tests. Just two days after coming home I took him to another local hospital as he had a raging temperature with severe breathing difficulties. He was put on a ward and given IV antibiotics. The next day he was put into isolation as he had been sick. Visitors have to gown, mask gloves etc. it's almost impossible to get any info from the doctors. One told me that they have to determine if he got the infection before he was in hospital or during his stay in hospital. When I then asked if he'd been tested for MRSA, she clammed up completely and managed to avoid answering. He's now been in isolation for 4 days and they forgot to give him his 15 daily heart tablets (he is too ill to register). when they finally got round to sorting the heart tablets they asked me if i can get some from home as it wasn't worth it for them to order 1 pack for him. As he had been sick, they won't give him any food other than biscuits which look revolting. His throat hurts go much it's painful to drink fizzy drinks. They said they can't give him anything other than fizzy. After 1 day without a temperature, it's just come back again so no hope of him coming home anytime soon. He doesn't even have more than a tiny hand basin to wash in. After days of fever, a shower would help him. The hospital even said that they can't get his medical records from the hospital where he was last week so could i go home and take a copy and bring it straight back. Is this kind of treatment normal? I feel so helpless and wonder if like many other aspects of German life, I should be being more forthright and not be so nicey nicey. Can I insist he's transferred to another hospital? I'd be very grateful for any suggestions. Many thanks

9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had some "heart" issues in the past in Germany and have been treated extremely well--then again Düsseldorf has a major heart treatment center.

 

I have found that ICU's in Germany are absolutely awful. Yeah, that typical "lack" of food is common. I had my friend bring me food. The newer hospitals are more equipped with "state of the art" rooms. As for transferring--I think you need to talk to his cardiologist in Frankfurt and tell him your issues with the hospital. That is the complete antitheses (except for the crappy food) that I had in Düsseldorf.

 

Good luck!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you JSD. Good point regarding his cardiologist whom he only saw a few weeks ago. I can only imagine that this whole episode with the lung infection (I forgot to say that they think it might be pneumonia) might affect his heart too.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice: ask them again for full disclosure on anything you want to know about your husband's treatment and tell them you will come back with a lawyer if they don't comply. To make your husband feel a little better ask them for icecubes. They will ease the pain in his throat at least a little bit. It is so important to drink a lot in his situation, I can't believe they are giving him only fizzy drinks. I'm sorry you both have to deal with such a incompetent hospital. Best wishes for you and your husband.

7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Marie-Claire for your kind wishes. It was last night that he told them all he wanted in the world was a jug of still water with ice cubes. They didn't have any. It's so hard to imagine this sort of thing in a country like Germany. I had a similar experience years ago in a part of Malaysia that was considered "second world" at the time.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the food, you can ask if you can bring in still water for him and if he's allowed for you to bring in certain food items of his choice.

 

I don't know why there's a food restriction so ask them when you ask them about the water and how long will his food be restricted as nutrition can play a role in healing.

 

If you are unsatisfied with their standard of care you should definitely speak up and ask questions.

 

For instance, if you say I'm sorry can you please order the medication as he only has a few pills at home. They'll probably order it as he needs the heart medication.

 

Your patience, assertiveness, and advocacy skills will be challenged so speak up so he can get proper treatment.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you calibear. I'm not usually too slow at making myself annoying in a forthright kind of way! It's really helped to get some ideas of what's feasible. I will spring into action tomorrow after I've brought my husbands daily food and drink. I really hope that all is well with your daughter. All the best

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about your husband, emkay.

 

It has also been my experience that hospitals don't like giving patients tap water to drink, but the bottled water provided is only fizzy. Although you do usually get a choice between very fizzy and not quite so fizzy! For one hospital stay when I couldn't cope with that I persuaded them to let me have water from the kettle the staff used to make their tea. They called it "abgekochtes Wasser" and I managed to get a nurse on side who would nick it for me and put it in a jug by my bed. Being sweet and nice worked for that, but I agree that you probably have to be tougher for the other stuff.

 

Hope your husband recovers soon.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the advice: Annoy them. Insist on information. Get in touch with the prior doctors and demand transcripts. Give them to a doctor at the present hospital - not to a nurse! Annoy the doctor until s/he discusses them with you. Escalate everything to the head of the department. Complain about the heart medicine being neglected and not available. Complain to your health insurance about the hospital's behavior. Document everything, with each doctor's or nurse's name.

 

One thing I remember from my last serious (not the fractured arm, that was painful but not life-threatening) bout in the hospital: They monitor your fluid intake and don't want you bringing any beverages from the outside. Insist on sufficient water, register every bottle of water you bring in from outside and make sure that hubby gets to drink it as well.

 

Regarding the washing: Get antibacterial handwipes so hubby can clean himself. If he's bedridden insist on a bottle of disinfectant right there at his bedside so he can clean his hands after using the potty-stool. The norovirus loooooooves hospital wards!

 

All the best, you are going through a really rough time. Fall back on us, we're here for you.

7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear your husband is being treated so poorly in the hospital. May we ask which hospital? Some have better reputations than others, though if it was an emergency, we do end up going to the closest one.

 

Hope today is a better day for both of you. Let me know if you need assistance with anything. I can be quite firm with hospital employees. Just send me a PM

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much for your support. Special thanks to 2B_orNot2B and Moondancer for your very kind offers of help and pms. I think my first strategy today will be to go and see my husbands haus doctor who originally referred him to the hospital when he got the fever and coughing. I'm hoping that he may be able to help me to get my husband transferred to the better hospital that has better heart facilities. If he can't, won't or is not there there I'll directly contact the cardiologist As my mother says " du musst dich warm anziehen Kind". Many thanks again. Off now to gather myself for the forthcoming challenge.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have nothing useful to add, except that I have been on the patient end of too many hospitals, and at the time I had nobody to stand up for me and my rights, whilst not being in any condition to do so myself.

 

I am sure your husband will be very proud of all your efforts Emkay, and I hope that his condition improve drastically over the next day or two.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, emkay, I wish you strength in dealing with it and, of course, a swift recovery to Mr emkay too, but don't hesitate to contact me if you do encounter further difficulties.

 

Not knowing which 'better hospital' you are considering means I can't point you at any potential POC, but most major German hospitals have established a service which may also be able to assist in such circumstances. Some hospitals administer this service centrally, but larger ones with specialist stations often have dedicated staff attached to the stations. These folk are often social workers and are primarily of service to single in-patients who often have anxieties about their domestic issues and no family or friends to intercede with landlords, utility companies,banks, the tax office or other official bodies. The idea being, of course, that as a worried patient takes a longer, and less economic, period of bed occupation, the investment is of mutual value.

 

In any case these people are not only there for the patient's welfare, but also to assist their families in coping with the system. As there are growing numbers of elderly former Gastarbeiter in Germany whose next of kin are not fluent German speakers such interfacing 'gehoert der alltag' and is treated as selbstverständliche. The key words to ask about vary by hospital, but most common seems to be either Patienten Representativ or Patienten Advokat. Many have opted to use the same nomenclature, but with the English spelling.

 

2B

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cripes, poor emkay! I'm so sorry that you are going through all this. Wishing you much strength.

 

I had a sort-of similar experience with my husband in hospital here. He had, as it turned out, severe gastro-enteritis, but the doc thought he might have appendicitis, and anyway he needed IV fluids, so to hospital we were told to go.

 

Driven by a neighbour, so we arrived with a bucket, which I guess was a clue that he might throw up... so while waiting for the Dr, the nurses told him he must not have any water. At first I thought this may be for some medical reason, but it became clear that they just didn't want to deal with him being sick. This struck me as pretty uncaring, since he had a really high fever and naturally a hot dry mouth / throat, so very uncomfortable. Soon after admission he became unconscious, and thereafter drifted in and out of consciousness, and no-one came near us for a few hours.

 

The day I brought him home, I turned up at the time they told me, and he was already wandering the corridors - still in the pjs he was admitted in - looking for me, cos they had told him to leave. He still had a high fever and I had to 90% carry him to a taxi.

 

This was just after we arrived in Germany, and we both had very little German, so I was pretty bewildered. I basically allowed all this to happen, which I feel a bit bad about now.

 

Were this to happen again, or were it to happen in England, I would kick up a lot of fuss until I got what I wanted... I have no other hospital experience here, but back home I have found that if you are enough of a pain, they usually prefer to sort out your loved-one's issues rather than put up with you bobbing up to complain/ask. Please be really strong and stand up for what your husband needs. And avail yourself of help offered... I wish I could help, too, but mein Deutsch is only moderate and I'm in Berlin :S Sending you a great big hug for what it is worth, though.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to hear about your husband and can only agree with the advice given: make yourself as persistently annoying as possible. My husband has been in and out of hospital and I have found that only introducing myself as Doktor [Wife] and insisting on all the information upfront - and then asking lots of very polite but difficult questions about treatment, witholding of food/drink/essential meds, timeline of treatment, why a broken shoulder was not operated on for four days - has stopped them killing him.

 

If you can get a doctor to either be with you or advocate for you, that seems to be the best way to go. German hospitals are places where the doctors are supremely used to just doing what they think is right and not being challenged. You don't have to go along with that, and if it is against your husband's best interests then you shouldn't. Escalate at will, harass the Chefarzt, don't be timid. Best of luck to you both.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now