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This ER is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. - Review by Gary R | Gatz, Alan C, MD St Joseph's Hospital

Gatz, Alan C, MD St Joseph's Hospital


This ER is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. 6/18/2007

This review was not written by Gary R but by Mel R. (I have an account of my own and thought I was signed in under my identity. I apologize for any confusion.) Please read this important information because any one (or more) of these experiences could happen to you. This ER fails to follow the laws that were established years ago to protect patients. They make up the rules as they go along in order to suit their interests. If I ever have to enter the ER at St. Joseph's Hospital again, it will be because I am unconscious. I agree with the other reviews of this hospital as my experiences at the ER have been horrendous and at times traumatic. It is no use to take any problems to hospital administrators or the few remaining Sisters because they will always take up for their contracted staff. There is a definite pattern to their unjustifiable behavior as I know many other people who have also had nightmare experiences at this ER. If the doctors can't figure out what is wrong with you, then they say there is nothing wrong with you...or accuse you of being a drug addict in front of an entire room of patients. The entire ER staff is so arrogant and downright out-of-control. They treat patients like they are idiots and as though they are nuisances. In 2004, my grandmother was having a stroke. She was sent home from St. Joseph's ER with extraordinarily high blood pressure. The next morning, she couldn't move, and was admitted, due to the stroke. She nearly died on more than one occasion, and is now a prisoner in her own, paralyzed body, and her wheelchair. The sickest part is that it all could have been prevented. Now, all of her remaining days are a living hell. She is so depressed that she asks, "why can't I just die?" In 2005, I had to make four visits to the ER in one week just for the staff to find a simple hernia. All it took was a CT scan. I had surgery the next morning to repair the hernia. That procedure was fortunately performed by a very competent, bright, and compassionate surgeon who said "it was pretty bad" and had never seen anything like it in someone so young. (That's what you get for moving a pool table.) In 2006, I had an abscess, which was lanced with a scalpel, without any analgesia what so ever. Then, the staff was determined to send me home. I was in so much pain that I literally couldn't move and the physician refused to bring my pain under control. Thank god that a new doctor who is also extremely competent, bright, and compassionate stepped in and admitted me to the hospital. Unfortunately, the physician had to leave the bedside of a critical care when summoned by the hospital's administration. This doctor said this procedure was equivalent to surgery, admitted me immediately, and managed the pain for the next couple of days. The scariest part of this traumatic experience is that the bacteria turned out to be e.coli but the equipment, bandages, and drainage were left in the room, never cleaned up until after I was taken upstairs. Nobody came to check on me (except when they kept trying to make me leave) until the doctor who admitted me came to my rescue. I couldn't help but wonder about disease / infection control as e.coli is highly contagious and makes people very, very ill. A couple of weeks later, I had to go back to have the packing changed. I was sent through their "Express Lane" where the attending physician literally ripped all of the packing out without moistening it with saline and inserted scissors down into my wound, partially re-opening it! Again, I was in so much pain that I couldn't help but cry. They wouldn't give me anything for pain...or even something to vomit in...the only thing I had was a trash can full of disgusting and hazardous medical waste. Another traumatic experience to add to the list. The next time the packing needed to be changed, I went to a wound care center and it was totally painless. These are some of my very worst experiences but they have also neglected to treat other conditions including an injury that resulted in two torn ligaments and hairline fractures. I also had a case of endometriosis that was so severe my pelvic organs were attached to the inside of my abdominal wall, nearly costing my fertility. I desperately needed a laparoscopy but no OB/GYN was ever called in to evaluate me. Fortunately I found a good doctor on the other side of the Ohio River who has successfully treated the problem and saved my fertility. Now, the ER staff refuses to treat me for a rare neurological disorder that causes hydrocephalus, that results in severe headaches that last for days, even weeks. The hydrocephalus (increased pressure inside of the skull) can be potentially life-threatening and can cause mental deterioration. I've been begging for help for well over a year, but the ER physicians misdiagnosed me for 15 months. Yet, this condition is easily detectable on simple CT scans and MRIs. My primary care physician is doing everything possible to help me but is obviously not available 24/7. I only go to the ER when I'm told to by my doctor or a member of the office staff...and they still outright refuse to treat me...or even stabilize me until I can see my physician. (In my opinion it's because the ER doesn't know how. Therefore they try to say there is nothing wrong with me despite the MRI films and report!) My father tried to calmly stand up for me in a non-threatening manner, nor was he hostile, angry, or disruptive. I hardly said a word the entire 9 hours I was there, even when other patients who came in after me were treated and left the hospital before I was even seen. My father begged them to help me but we were told if we didn't leave immediately, they were going to call the police and have us both arrested. Have you ever heard of anyone being arrested for begging for medical attention? If denying medical services and threatening arrest wasn't over-the-top, some of the ER staff members told both my family physician and my neurologist (without my knowledge or permission) that I wasn't being honest. They said I had numerous prescriptions for pain medications, from several doctors that overlapped. (Basically they were accusing me of being a doctor shopper.) Well, guess what. My pharmacist checked my pharmacy report at my request and said that not one single prescription overlapped and that they were all different kinds of medications, including vitamins and minerals. There were two headache medicines and one pain medication in addition to my daily meds. I had prescriptions from a total of three doctors: my family doctor, my neurologist, and one from the ER. Each doctor knew about all of my prescriptions because I told them. I would never want to overdose or have a bad interaction between medications. The point is they told an outright lie. I no longer have a neurologist and I was beginning to see improvement and an increase in my quality of life. I would never abuse medicine to get "high". I've never even been tempted to experiment with street drugs. I rarely even have a drink. Nobody has ever asked about the way I use my medication. I have much better things to do with my life than take continue my studies in Naturopathy, see the world, and pursue my multiple creative avenues. I believe there are some totally sick individuals in the ER...and I don't mean physically. Physicians take an oath to never cause a patient any harm...but that particular ER staff seems to believe that none of the rules (or laws) apply to them. I believe that a large part of this discriminatory "treatment" is due to the fact that I am presently on Medicaid. My neurological condition is literally disabling and I have yet to finish my Doctor of Naturopathy, for which I am a candidate, and I cannot work enough hours to get private health insurance. (If could work, I'd finish my school.) Even if I could get private health insurance, I couldn't afford the premiums due to my illnesses. However, I did have private health insurance until I was 26 and the difference in the medical care I received was like night and day. Since going on Medicaid, I have been relentlessly profiled and now "they" have to make it stick because I think they're afraid of a lawsuit. Not that I would even sue them...I just want the mistakes to be corrected, to be treated so I can get well and get my life back. I'm only in my 20s, my life is already being ruined, and I don't understand why. I have been treated like nothing but a piece of white trash by the staff at St. Joseph's ER since 2005. I've also heard the horror stories of many other people, including our veterans, who have sought immediate medical attention at that ER but ended up having experiences very similar to mine, no matter what was wrong with them. The Sisters used to be involved of the operation of this hospital. Since their departure, the ER has gone to hell. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I am sharing my opinion based on my experiences. I just don't want anyone else to suffer the way my family members, some friends, and I have. I strongly believe that ER is not only a disgrace to our community, but is a disgrace to the entire medical profession. If these ER doctors and nurses spent their time doing their job properly instead of working together in an attempt to cover up mistakes, they could actually help some people. I also agree that the other ER in Parkersburg is just as bad. That hospital allowed my grandmother to die following a procedure to remove her gall bladder because "she's old and is going to die sooner or later." She was 83 and her sister lived to be nearly 100. Then, the administration tried to cover it up in a manner very similar to the story that has been in the local news lately. The other ER also allowed my grandfather to have a stroke, would not give family members any information, told him that the black spots on the MRI of his brain (necrosis) had gone away. We all know that doesn't happen. They also tried to cover that up. Neither ER in Parkersburg appears to have any regard for life or for a person's quality of life. There are some very compassionate and intelligent nurses in both ERs as well as a small handful of good physicians, and several good physicians in private practice at both hospitals. However, I believe both ERs could use a good reminder of the Hippocratic Oath as well as morality, ethics, honesty, and responsibility. Let's not forget the administrators, either because their job is to prevent lawsuits by any means necessary. They are not for patient rights. My advice is: if you ever find yourself in need of immediate medical attention in Parkersburg, WV, drive to Charleston or to one of the hospitals in Marietta, Ohio. Going to either Parkersburg ER is like playing Russian Roulette. If I hadn't lived or witnessed these mind-blowing acts, I would never believe that such conduct by medical "professionals" was even possible. I would think "these people had to do something wrong." The only thing I did wrong was ask for medical treatment. The only thing my father did wrong was stand up for my RIGHTS as a patient and as a human being. As I keep saying, many other people with legitimate health problems experience the same kind of treatment from this particular ER. Thank you for taking the time to read my review. It is wordy but people are suffering, even dying at the hands of the egos of ER physicians, and it's so unnecessary and so ludicrous that I can't keep quiet any longer. People's lives are being ruined because most of these ER physicians are so beyond reason that they can't say "I don't know" or "I was wrong." "I'm sorry," is also not in the vocabulary of most of the ER staff members or those who run the hospitals. They do a good job of avoiding responsibility - probably because along with responsibility comes liability. more
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