Paula's Story on Restraints

I was always one of Parma Hospitals’ biggest fans. Now, I won’t step foot in there ever for treatment. I had three of my children there, my open heart surgery there, and was even transfered there from another hospital because I always believed they gave the best care. Then, this happens.

Two days prior to this restraining event, it was a whole differnt world, my uncle had recovered from a fall at a nursing home, I brought in donuts, he tried to get me to go buy more, but didn’t want his sugar levels off the charts! He and I spent the evening laughing and joking, and he was so happy that I remembered everything he needed to go back to the nursing home the next day as we fully expected him to be discharged. I’m feeling things are in a good place with his recovery.

While I’m waiting for the hospital to call me that he went back to the nursing home, I have my hands full taking care of my mother, who was very sick as well at the time. I’m taking her to the doctor, getting meds, etc. I miss seeing him that day due to helping my mother and also feeling he was doing much better.

I go in to visit and check on him the next morning as he was not discharged as I expected, and he is out of it, he only wakes up when I walk in the room to say my name. I am sitting there waiting to talk to the doctor to see why the drastic change in him, as I’m tired of missing the doctor and the nurses pretty much not telling me anything but to talk to the doctor.

As I sit there waiting for hours, I notice these straps on his hands, I’m thinking maybe it was some kind of treatment that required this. Then, I see the straps on the lower part of the bed. I figure out his arms had been strapped down. I knew immediately that once again, they forced a bipap on him that he absolutely did not want. I had told them repededly not to put it on him, as he did not want it. Everytime they tried to put this on, he fought to pull it off. He made his wishes clear, he did not want it on his face and he accepted that he could die without it on. It was his choice, it was his right to refuse it.

The hospital version: He was combative and they had to put the restraints on.

The real version: An infection was setting in and his breathing was being affected and they forced something on him he didn’t want. They never called me as POA and resposnible party, to even let me know they restrained him for approximately the 5 hours he was tied down. They never gave me a chance to advocate for him on why he was being what they called combative, I call refusing treatment. The bottom line, I was never given a chance to confirm the issue and help him.

A few months prior to this, my uncle was at Fairview Hospital, again, over guess what? Falls at the nursing home. Shocker! Not! In this visit, he was disoriented and confused at first. The doctor explained, it was more like the injuries professional athletes obtain with so many hits to the head, sometimes, it results in permanent injury to the head. With my unlce’s large amount of falls, he felt this was causing my uncle the same issues. However, Fairview chose to handle this with a sitter being assigned to him in lieu of restraining him, letting the family know what was going on, and we took turns with the hospital sitting with him. Even when he started to come out of it, they assigned a sitter with him for an additional 24 hours.

I am still not comprehending, why Parma would strap someone down for 5 hours and never call the family, for change in status and to notify of the restraint. I am not comprehending why my right to advocate for him was taken away from me that night at approximately 5:00 p.n and lasting til close to midnight.

A year and a half later, I still blame myself for not going and checking on him when I was exhuasted from taking care of him and my mother at the same time. I trusted the hospital. I asked them to call me if any change. I continue to try to get over that I let my guard down and trusted them. A year and half later, I stil cry over these images in my head and knowing what he went through and how upset I know he was. A year and a half later, I still feel strongly, to never get treated at Parma Hospital.

A year and a half later, I still feel the nursing home is where it all started a bad chain of events. I stil find this to not to be a death of natural causes or are we now accepting that it is?

Paula MuellerComment