LETTER: S.M. Hospital Apologizes For Failure To Notify Family With 2-$5 Gift Certificates, Says Complainant - Southern Maryland Headline News

LETTER: S.M. Hospital Apologizes For Failure To Notify Family With 2-$5 Gift Certificates, Says Complainant


My 78 year old father was taken to the St. Mary’s Hospital emergency room by ambulance after an auto accident on March 14, 2007. He arrived at the emergency room approximately 10 - 10:30 a.m. He had several cuts, bruises and a fractured knee. We (his family) were not notified until 5:30 p.m. that evening that he was at the hospital and had been admitted. I think it’s important to mention, the hospital still had not called anyone in his family. My father was the one who called my sister and told her where he was and what had happened to him.

While I am appreciative of quick response of the Leonardtown Rescue Squad and the Sheriff's Department, I am very upset with the hospital. My father has some medical conditions that a health care provider would have to be informed of before doing any treatment. He also has a hard time remembering the medications he takes on a good day. The police officers who responded to the accident said he was very disoriented. Under the circumstances, I am sure he would not have been in any condition to discuss his medical history with anyone.

When I called the hospital the following day and spoke with a representative from the emergency room, she informed me that by law, they do not have to notify any family members when someone is brought in.

I spoke with another person from the hospital, later the same day and explained what had happened. She apologized and told me that a patient advocate would contact me when I came to visit my father that night.

When I arrived at the hospital, a patient advocate did meet me. She came into my fathers room, shook my hand, gave me an envelope and left. When I later opened the envelope it was a card that said "Sorry we didn't meet your expectations" inside were two $ 5.00 gift certificates for a popular coffee house. Not only was I surprised but also insulted. Did they think that my father’s health and well being is worth $ 10.00. I wrote a letter to the President and CEO and sent back the gift certificates. I would have preferred a written apology and a promise that any future dealings with the hospital would be handled in a more professional manner.

My father has been a patient in the hospital on several occasions especially in the past two years. They have all of his information including our names and phone numbers. In fact, a discharge planner called me to make arrangement for my fathers discharge from the hospital. She got my number from his records. If I could be contacted for that reason, then why couldn't I be contacted when he was brought to the emergency room? My sister and I live very close to the hospital and could have been there in a matter of minutes.

I intend to write a formal complaint to Office of Health Care Quality. I can’t help but wonder what the staff at the emergency room would do if it was a loved one of theirs that had been treated and admitted without so much as a phone call.

G. Trevethan
Leonardtown, MD

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