Top 10 reasons not to go to Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
My sister, Christie, was recently admitted to the Methodist Willowbrook hospital. After several days of frustrating situations, I began to think a blog post might be in order. Yes, Christie can file a report through the proper channels, but I hope by sharing our experience it will help your family to avoid a similar encounter. With a bit of humor and complete truth, here are my top 10 reasons for avoiding Methodist Willowbrook in the future.
10. There are two levels of care in this hospital. The Observation level where the rooms (aka… the prison cell) have no windows, gray walls, a shared bathroom with another patient, and you sleep on an air mattress. It is a dark and depressing place to be when you do not feel good.
When you are moved out of the Observation, you go to the next level of care. In Christie’s case, she was relocated to the 3rd floor. This is upstairs, where you have a room with a private bathroom, a window with a view, light brown walls, a semi-comfortable bed and chairs for your visitors. The nurses are much happier upstairs.
9. Testing is not a priority. After three days of hospitalization for extreme pain and one test being done (a urinary analysis). Christie asked, “when are you running an ultra sound to find out why I’m in pain?” If you have to use this hospital, I suggest you have an idea of why you are sick, so you can direct them toward a diagnosis or you might be here for a really long time. For those of you addicted to WebMD, this website could come in handy!
8. IV placement isn’t their strong suit either. When Christie was finally authorized for an MRI, the tech discovered her IV was not connected. He fixed her up with a new IV in her other arm, but her confidence in the nursing care cratered. For 4 days, she had been in extreme pain, and the nurses were administering medication through an IV which apparently wasn’t functioning properly. When returned to her room, the nurse responsible for administering the original IV, accused Christie of tampering with it. She lectured her not to mess with the new one. This same nurse accused her of being a drug addict in previous days, when Christie asked for pain medicine. What kind of ‘angel of mercy’ accuses a patient of tampering with an IV and being a drug addict? Why would you say such a terrible thing to someone who is in obvious pain? Thankfully, after this incident Christie was moved from Observation to an upper floor.
7. You don’t need to eat. After 24 hours Christie asked when she would be allowed food. She was told, “We have patients who go days without eating.” When she explained it had been 24 hours since eating she was told, “Well, you need to be more patient. We have to review the test results. The doctor will tell you when you can eat again.” She asked, “Is the doctor coming today?” The ‘angel of mercy’ told her “I don’t know!” Tempers start to flare, after being refused additional pain medication (remember the IV wasn’t working), being called a drug addict, being refused food or comfort, Christie became a bit emotional.
Another nurse came into her room and said, “Just don’t watch any Food Network shows and you will be okay.” I look at Christie and watch her blink back tears. “But, boy I had a big lunch. I can barely bend over.” The same nurse shares as she adjusts her sheets. Christie and I can only stare at the nurse in disbelief. Where are we? An hour later she was finally allowed to eat. But, the lack of empathy from the nurses would not be forgotten.
6. You better clarify you want anesthesia. We can only conclude that there must a shortage on anesthesia medication, because when they wheeled Christie into operating room she was wide awake. Then, the OR staff asked her to position herself stomach down on the operating table while they hooked up all the wires and tubes. Christie said she began to feel a bit worried, since they weren’t saying anything about putting her under anesthesia. The next thing they did was try to gag her. Yes, they tried to stuff a gag in her mouth without her being sedated. The anesthesiologist told her to calm down, while he rubbed her back, telling her it would be okay. Christie demanded he put her under now, which he thankfully did, but really? Did she need to demand to be put under before being gagged on the operating table?
5. Inconsistent staffing. During the six days Christie was in the hospital she had 11 different nurses, only seeing the same nurse once. We inquired why so many nurses were on the rotation and were told that Methodist Willowbrook uses contract nursing. Some of the nurses only work one time every thirty days. How does this encourage a sense of community in your work environment? We saw where this could also put a strain on patient relationships, when there is always a new face to explain the same story to over and over.
4. Don’t get sick during the lunch hour. I don’t spend a lot of time at hospitals, but I have never seen a nurse’s station completely unstaffed for an extended period of time. It amazed me to see the nursing station on the third floor completely unstaffed between 11 and 12:00 (sometimes until 12:30) every day. I guess they assume no emergencies will happen between those hours.
3. Practice makes perfect, or a big mess. If the staff makes a mistake putting an IV in, then they think tape it up a lot and NODOBY will notice it’s not in. Christie endured two infected IV’s, a bloody IV, and a fifth IV which came out in the middle of night, causing extreme blood loss. After which she refused to have another IV administered. Thankfully, she was scheduled to go home the next day.
2. If your doctor doesn’t like the hospital, then you probably won’t like it either. Christie’s regular doctor told her this hospital would not be her first choice. She recommended another emergency room in the area. Knowing her doctor’s office was housed in this same hospital she decided to come here anyway, thinking it couldn’t be that bad. Now, she understands after being there six days. If your doctor says a hospital isn’t their first choice, don’t go there.
1. The doctors might insult you. The hospital assigned doctor (not her regular doctor) would come by and do her standard check in’s to make sure Christie was still alive. It was on the last day that I formed my impression of her. Doctor X walked in and commented Christie seemed to be doing better today. Christie said she was ready to go home. The night before her IV had come out and she lost a lot of blood. Christie was tired from the blood loss and at this point, she just wanted to leave.
The doctor again asked how she was doing. Christie said she was ready to go home. The day before Christie asked to stay, because of continued pain in her stomach. The doctor replied ‘you remind me of my seven year old, she changes her mind a lot, too.’ WHAT?? How can anyone take that as anything other than offensive? Christie being the sweetheart she is just smiled and said she was finally ready to go home. I sat in silence and fumed over the rude words by a professional. Not the first experience of such at this hospital, but the last we would have to endure.
After checking out, I know one thing… we will not be returning to this hospital. Thankfully, there are several other hospitals in this area.
Christie is back home now and doing well. She is fully recovered and back to work. The memories of her stay at Willowbrook Methodist will remain with her for a long time. I hope by sharing these experiences with you, it will help prevent a similar experience for your family.