On June 11th, 2012 I emailed my friend’s dad, who is a lawyer in California, to ask him for some advice about what happened to mom when she had a colonoscopy at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, FL:
From: David V. Gagne
Sent: June 11, 2012 @ 03:34 PM PDT
I don’t know how much I’ve told you (or [redacted] might have told you) about my mom, but she is in the hospital right now and has been (except for about three weeks) since December 1, 2011.
[redacted] suggested I tell you about an incident that happened recently, so that’s what I’m doing. This is the short and quick version. Please do let me know if (a) you think I should do anything about this or (b) you want more details.
The hospital called on the 21st of May and asked my permission to put her under anesthesia and perform a colonoscopy; I approved and they had the procedure on the 23rd.
On the 25th I got a call from Dr. Nasr, the gastroenterologist who wanted to let me know that the nurse who handed him the equipment (endoscope) had (possibly) not properly autoclaved the medical device. That meant it wasn’t sterile, and they were concerned about her possibly contracting Hepatitis A, B, or C, or HIV. I was told that they were testing her for all four, the doctor was very apologetic, and he said they would have the results by the following Tuesday (May 29).
On the 30th I called and was told by a nurse that there was no record of any of these tests being performed, but that was only because it was a hospital error and the patient wasn’t being billed for it, so the tests weren’t associated with her account. She was able to find that the HIV test had come back negative. On June 1 the same nurse proactively called to tell me that I would probably not ever get formal results of the Hepatitis testing unless there was a problem.
On June 7th the gastroenterologist called to tell me that the tests had all come back negative, that the nurse who made the mistake had been fired, and that some other nurse who was working on the same shift had been “punished”.
Now any time I call and talk to a new nurse or doctor, I make sure to reference this as there is no record of it in her “files” at the hospital.
He replied to me almost immediately:
To: David V. Gagne
Sent: June 11, 2012 @ 03:46 PM PDT
Call the doctor. Tell him that you want all the tests performed again, at the hospital’s expense and you want to receive a copy of the test results directly from the lab. You then want the doctor to call you with his verbal interpretation of the test results.
I responded to him shortly after that and wrote simply, “Okay. I’ll do that tomorrow (Tuesday) when I get to the office.”
He wrote to me the next morning and said:
To: David V. Gagne
Sent: June 12, 2012 @ 09:41 AM PDT
Be “firm” with him. He will try to tell you it’s not necessary. Tell him that this time you will make that decision, either informally between you and him or “formally” (don’t explain what you mean by that). Tell him that you’ve been unable to sleep thinking about the negligence of the nurse, the facility and the ultimate supervisors (he will know you’re referring to him) of that nurse. If he accuses you of not trusting him, tell him he’s entitled to his opinion and that you want a second opinion, and you want it faxed directly to you from the lab. Tell him that if it doesn’t come directly from the lab, you’re going to get a third opinion from an independent lab and that he will ultimately pay the cost.