Take time with patients

To the Editor,

A friend of mine recently asked if I would pen a letter regarding the unfortunate circumstances of his wife’s passing. He explained, in his opinion, he felt the doctor made a hasty decision to get his wife out of bed to soon after hip surgery. In his opinion, the doctor’s decision might have compounded her existing medical problem and her already weakened state, resulting in her becoming bedridden. She passed away a short time later. Whether this sequence of events led to her passing or not, no one will ever know. However, after I had a chance to reflect on what he told me, it was very similar to the situation my grandmother experienced many years earlier.

My grandmother entered the old Weirton General Hospital for cataract surgery. Years ago, the remedy for cataracts wasn’t as advanced as it is today. Once the cataract was removed, the patient remained in bed for three or more days with sandbags on both sides of their head to allow the eye to heal. After three days, the doctor came in, and along with a nurse tried to get my grandmother out of bed in one quick motion. Despite cries from her daughter to go slowly, the resulting swiftness from bed to floor resulted in a blood clot to the heart and death. Although this wasn’t the case with my friend’s wife, the resulting process was similar.

I believe some doctors can be a little aggressive wanting to get the patient up and moving, sooner rather than later. But sometimes what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Everyone, including doctors, seem to be in a hurry these days. So, if you are a doctor, caregiver, or health professional, slow down, examine all the circumstances before making a critical move on a patient. This one simple act might keep more people around to enjoy life with their loved ones.

Thomas Zielinsky



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