Monday, July 26, 2010


Years ago a well respected Montreal surgeon gave me a tip. If there is any way you can avoid it, don't go to the hospital in the summertime. That's when the student doctors and nurses are set free from school and they flood the hospitals. It is a dangerous time to be in hospital.
To Rosemary Steinberg, Ombudsman,
Jewish General Hospital
Montreal  Quebec
July 19, 2010
I was in Emergency on July 15 due to a severe stomach problem. X-Rays and blood tests were clear. I was sent home.
On July 17 I was so sick I had to return by ambulance.
In Emergency, amateur nurses discussed who would try to put in an intravenous line.
I told the young lady I did not want anyone practicing on me. Only my left arm can be used and my veins have suffered stabbing for more than 15 years. As you know, it takes an expert to find a vein in such circumstances.
But the nurses decided among themselves that a young male nurse in a red shirt named Roman would try. I questioned him about his experience. He was quiet, but cocky and determined. He knew what he was doing. Since I was sick, alone and helpless, I gave in. I guided him, telling him where my arm is most sensitive.
The female nurse told me that Roman had done the procedure seven times. Seven times !
Finally he stabbed the needle into the fleshy outer part of my palm above my pinkie. A terribly sensitive part of the hand.
I screamed, I cried so hard I couldn't breathe. I haven't cried so hard since my husband died. I couldn't move, I was in such agony, crying and screaming.
But Roman did not remove the needle. He just walked away and left me with the needle searing my hand..
Someone brought me an ice pack. I was rigid with pain and crying my heart out. I couldn't do anything to help myself. The pain was excruciating and I cried and screamed until I started to faint. The nurses came and told me to be quiet because I was upsetting the other patients!
Then a nurse named Mitch Denbow decided to ask me if I would like him to remove the needle. He did. And later he made a few patient attempts and succeeded in putting in a line. I do not even have a bruise where he finally placed the line.
I was a guinea pig for the amateur nurse, Roman, and it took a long time before Mitch Denbow saved me.
The arrogance ! The heartlessness ! I suffered so much, I was tormented by it through the night and couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted.
There can be no excuse ! But, I know from experience that you will find excuses anyway. It is up to me to report the facts. You are responsible to do justice.
Phyllis Carter
The trauma took an immediate toll: Before morning I had an outbreak of shingles.
July 26, 2010:  Rosemary Steinberg has acknowledged receipt of this report.

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