Recently, I diaried about my elderly father breaking his femur, requiring surgery and hospitalization, and how he was concerned about how he'd pay for the needed care He's Worried About How To Pay For It and we're worried about him Many of you gracious Kossacks wished my father well and I'm very appreciative of your good thoughts and kindness.
Well, Dad had his surgery and came through the anesthesia. It looked like things were taking a turn up for him. Then, he was released from the acute care hospital to a rehabilitation/convalescent care. My sister, an RN, expressed her concerns that it was too soon and he wasn't ready, but the transfer was performed in spite of that.
It is true that convalescent care is less expensive then acute care. Although I have no evidence, I cannot help but wonder how this played into the decision to release a frail 85 year old, with multiple health issues, so quickly after such a serious and invasive surgery (a rod, plates, and bolts were placed in the length of his femur.) He was transferred about 80 hours post-op. 15 years ago, when I was fairly young and very healthy, I had a similar procedure on my left wrist and was in acute care for ten days, so his quick release took me very much by surprise.
Dad was only in the rehab facility for about 24 hours when numerous problems began arising. Luckily, my sister the RN knows her stuff, recognized the signs that Dad was in trouble, and called an ambulance. Dad was readmitted back into acute care, where he still is today, six days later.
Upon his readmittance, it was noted that he was dehydrated and in severe pain. He had not been able to hold any food or liquids down since his surgery and was still vomiting profusely. Also, his theraputic levels of medications were dangerously low; not surprising since the staff was not properly administering them according to prescribed dosages and times. He had an infection from the surgical site and the wounds had not been properly cleaned. The leg was extremely swollen and the wounds were seeping. He had a UTI, likely from the catheter site not being cleaned properly. He was having difficulty breathing, because he had not been maintained on sufficient levels of oxygen (he has asbestosis of the lungs and oxygen is continually needed.) I won't give the full descriptive list here, but this is sufficient to give an idea of his deteriorated condition due to a lack of proper medical care.
This fiasco of an excursion certainly didn't make Dad's treatment any less expensive; to the contrary, it will add to the overall costs. Dad's share of the uncovered costs will be larger, yet we were allowed no input into the decision making process regarding his care. In point of fact, if my sister had been heeded, my father would have been spared a great deal of pain and his total treatment would have been less costly.
I can't help but remember how uncomfortable the surgeon looked when my sister was questioning the medical wisdom of releasing my father so quickly. I can't help but wonder if it was done for the insurance company to save a few bucks. I can't help but realize, aside from the physical pain and risk my father endured, how much more this little fiasco cost financially because of that hasty transfer to a lesser facility before he was physically ready. I can't help but to be amazed that more people aren't as outraged and angry as I am at this moment at the great gamble being taken with our lives for the profit of insurance companies.
And I can't help but wonder when this insanity will end.