This is actually a very condensed versions of our first and last experience at Ascension Mercy in Oshkosh.
In 2021, my husband was admitted to Ascension Mercy hospital which ended up being a 37 days stay due to being overmedicated. He originally was admitted to Ascension St Elizabeth’s of Appleton, but I was told Mercy has this "new wonderful geriatric unit." A week later, I learned that upon admission at Mercy, doctors removed his 8 year dementia diagnosis upon admission - FTD type which is frontotemporal and affects decision making. The dementia diagnosis was on St Elizabeth’s chart when he was transferred, but Mercy decided to remove it from his chart. This resulted in the dementia diagnosis not being taken into consideration and medications not recommended for patients with dementia were used.
During the 37 days, we were given five different discharge dates only to be repeatedly disappointed for various reasons. On Thursday, August 12, I was told he would be discharged on Monday August 16. Again, the rug was pulled out from under us because the new rotation doctor (I am still trying to find out the timing of when the injection was ordered and when the doctor ACTUALLY saw my husband) ordered an injection for my husband that morning which resulted in numerous side effects that lasted a week of incontinence, non-ambulatory/fall risk, nonverbal, locked in a fetal position, labored breathing, tremors, PTSD, unable to feed himself.
An RN told me the male social worker who went into my husband’s room, and did not appreciate my husband asking him to leave, asked to doctor to order an injection. My husband and the male social worker never got along from day one. The social worker, who I met once, is quite arrogant. Staff would make comments about the social worker. I was expected my husband to be discharged that morning, but instead when I arrived later at 5:00 pm for visiting hours, I was shocked to see my husband sitting on the edge of his bed in a zombie state. He could not stand, hold his head up and it was an effort to even open his eyes.
An RN told me this doctor does not go by patient weight for medication. By the way, I have since learned Mercy used his driver’s license from 9 years ago as his admission/chart weight which explains the discrepancy in St E’s discharge weight to Mercy’s admission weight – my husband gained approximately 30 pounds during a 20-minute ride to Mercy. I requested a new weight, however, at this point my husband was so overmedicated that he was afraid of a phone, scale and even a blood pressure cuff as well as he did not want to be touched as if he had PTSD. I had to ask him permission before I touched him.
NOTE: On Wednesday, August 25, the male social worker again went into my husband’s room. An RN told me about the incident when I arrived. I did not coach my husband and simply asked if anything happened between him and the social worker that day. When I left, I told the RN my husband’s side of the story which was VERY different and strangely she admitted that she didn’t exactly see/hear what happened. The originally story has some SERIOUS accusations which I never shared with my husband but were VERY different than his story. I asked the RN to document my husband’s side of the story, however I now see she only documented that he had another side to the story, but didn’t actually document his side. Was the social worker trying to stir up trouble?
My husband told me that staff would accuse him, and staff even told me that he was falling and being incontinent on purpose. Seriously? Staff even documented that he was falling and being incontinent on purpose. Interestingly, one RN documented that my husband said, "I am not doing this on purpose." NOTE the geriatric unit is considered a self-care unit so patients are expected to bath, toilet, dress, feed themselves and even make their own bed. This unit is for patients 65 and over and it is self-care.
I love how Ascension likes to promote themselves as a religious facility, however, it was documented that my husband would talk to himself in his room. One RN took the time to go into his room to hear what he was saying and he was praying out loud which does not surprise me. My husband would actually ask me to pray with him when I visited. Interesting how staff documents their own conclusions instead of facts.
On Saturday, August 21, the weekend RN had difficulty waking my husband at approximately 10 am and called the doctor and the doctor FINALLLY agreed to back off on the drugs and discontinue immediately – this message did not get into the system until Monday, so other shifts did not comply with the doctors discontinue order. I spoke to another RN and she told me she does not take orders from other RNs and that she follows what is in the computer.
NOTE I have to this day never met this doctor in spite of my numerous requests starting on the first day the doctor was assigned while my husband was inpatient. It wasn’t until Friday, August 27 the doctor FINALLY removed the repeat injection that was scheduled for Wednesday, August 25 (two days prior) which caused all the side effects even though he told the RN the previous Saturday, August 21 that he agreed the med needs to be stopped. RNs told me they were holding the injection due to my concerns, but doctor did not take off officially until Friday even though it was scheduled for Wednesday.
On August 26, a facility was coming to evaluate my husband for admission to their care facility, an RN the night before the assessment asked me to sign for my husband to start a new med. I refused as he was starting to come out of the fog caused by being overmedicated. It was also interesting that as his guardian (caused by overmedication) this is the first I was asked to sign or consulted about medications. Why now? The facility told me after the assessment that they could not accept him due to "he is clearly overmedicated."
On Sunday, August 29 the doctor ADDED the dementia diagnosis back into my husband’s chart.
On August 30, another facility assessed my husband. Again, I was told they could clearly see he was overmedicated, however they felt once he was in a new environment and detoxed from the meds that he would do well. My husband has improved since he left Mercy with notable improvement in just the past two weeks since his discharge from Mercy 9 months ago.
Even though my husband was accepted to a facility as of Monday, August 30, Mercy’s department head stated they could not possibly have his discharge paperwork completed until Friday, September 3, at noon. What? My guess is they wanted more time for my husband to detox. I told them I would like to pick him up at 8 am that Friday, but they said he needed to have breakfast and see the doctor that day before discharge. After bartering, it was finally agreed I could pick him up at 10 am but I would not be allowed on the floor before 9:30 am. I wanted extra time to help him look presentable for his new facility. They did allow me on the floor at 9:15 am and we left the floor at 9:25 am.
An arachnoid cyst (lining of the brain) was discovered 10 years ago. The cyst has been monitored but has been determined to not be of concern. Since admission I had been asking for a CT scan repeatedly to check on the cyst as well as a family history of brain cancer. This never happened. The doctor actually documented on Tuesday, August 24 that he offered a CT and I refused. WHAT???
The first doctor (I was told they rotate every two weeks – yet the first doctor never rotated back for some reason) when I told him about the dementia diagnosis threw his head back and laughed loudly looking up at the ceiling and told me "this man does not have dementia" and told me "we are going to cure him." FTD dementia is not easily detected in daily life unless they need to solve a problem – otherwise they seem fine to someone who does not spend considerable time with them.
Please note that at Mercy’s Geriatric Unit they do not use call lights – for some reason they use the old fashion silver bell that you ding – if you can find it and if you can reach it. I only saw the bell in his room three times until the last week when it was in view (not reach) every day. I dinged the bell two different days and no one came – I had assumed it was somehow hooked up electronically, but obviously not. I was FINALLY able to take my husband home 18 days later – basically he was detoxing although Mercy will not admit it.
There was no TV in his room, an air mattress was not provided even though requested, and per written policy if patients do not attend group meetings, then the power is shut off to their room – not that it made any difference as the only entertainment in the room was a digital clock by the ceiling. I asked for music, but the response was that it was not available. I am not aware that my husband’s power was ever shut off.
Due to the condition my husband was in and that we have stairs, he was transferred to a memory care facility where he has been detoxing since September 3. 2021. The most noticeable side effect for me from his stay at Mercy is that he lacked emotions. Just in the last two weeks of early May, 2022 have I noticed my husband is more like himself, even staff is commenting how he is now laughing and smiling recently – almost 9 months!
I find it quite interesting that the few records I have been able to get from Mercy – approximately 40 pages do not document ANY of these side effects. In fact, he is listed daily as ambulatory, yet one RN documented that my husband told her "I am not doing this (falling) on purpose." So which is it – he is or is not ambulatory? I saw it with my own eyes. Yet he was put on fall risk the following week with a yellow sticker on his chart.
In the few notes that I received, I was shocked to see doctors made several false statements such as I insisted on staying 24/7 to care for my husband myself – never happened! That I was "calling staff names and threatening to sue the hospital and everyone" – never happened! However, there was a son who was very upset with his mother’s care as well as how long she was been inpatient. He was at the nurse’s station (outside my husband’s room) and the son was calling staff names and threatening to sue. Somehow that was documented as me! As it was the end of visiting hours (5-7 pm) I was able to meet up with the son in the parking lot and we exchanged phone numbers. It was also stated that my husband tried to choke me – TOTALLY FALSE! Where do they get this information – wrong chart obviously! It is even charted that my husband denied this when they asked him. Of course, he would deny it as it never happened. Definitely SLANDER.
Yet doctors are refusing to acknowledge their errors and correct the false information. Mercy has told me they will put my corrections into the record and will send corrections to anyone who has requested records in the past, however Mercy also stated that no one has requested records which I know for a fact is inaccurate as I have made numerous requests as well as our local ADRC and an agency who worked on an investigation regarding the care Mercy provided.
An agency originally found Mercy "delinquent on all concerns," however even though the agency states they only received 55 pages when they requested records, miraculously Mercy now in their response found another 2,102 pages – but I have only received approximately 40 pages which has missing dates even though I made several requests, and most were actually retrieved from others requesting on my behalf. Yet I was told by Mercy that there were no other records and that I have copies of EVERYTHING. The agency has now reversed their decision based on the additional 2,102 pages they now received from Mercy. The agency has stated I can receive copies of the additional 2,102 pages from the agency for a fee.