Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients
Started Nov 3, 2008
I'm a Hospital-acquired Infection Survivor trying to live up to my promise to save lives and improve the health care system!
On August 15, 2006, I entered Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center for routine surgery. I was scheduled to be home in two days. I have been an athlete all my life and was considered the picture of health. So I could never have imaged that I would spent the next month in the ICU and it would be two months total before I was able to leave the hospital.
During one of the evening dressing checks my mother noticed a black dot near my incision. She asks the nurse about it and was assured that it was “nothing”. However we had not seen that dot in the morning when Doctor Pearson came to check my incision. My mother asked the nurse to please call the doctor and ask him come back to the hospital to take a look at it. After many sighs and condescending remarks, the nurse agreed to “bother the doctor for what is going to turn out to be no big deal” when my mother said she would call him herself.
In the hour and a half it took my doctor to return to the hospital the tiny black dot on my stomach had turned into a quarter sized pustule! After waiting for the same nurse to answer HIS pressing on the call button, the doctor looked at my mother asked if she was squeamish and told her to put on gloves and a mask.
Right then and there the doctor and my mother proceeded to open up my incision, extend it out by about 2 inches on each side, and began to squeeze out pus and drainage. It was the most surreal moment of my life.
I had contracted a nosocomial surgical site infection. Nosocomial infections are those which are a result of treatment in a hospital, but secondary to the patient's original condition. Infections are considered nosocomial if they first appear 48 hours or more after hospital admission.
I had acquired NECROTIZING FASCIITIS or as it is commonly termed MAN-EATING FLESH DISEASE. The following weeks were a blur of painful tests, major drugs and multiple surgeries to cut the infection out of my body.
Health officials estimate that 2 million patients a year will acquire a nosocomial infection during their hospital stay. Of those patients, over 100,000 will DIE.
Ms. Magazine reports that as many as 90 percent of deaths from hospital infections could be prevented.
Unfortunately, a peaceful convalescence was not to be the case for me. The medical bills marked ‘Past Due’ began arriving even as I lay in the hospital attached to an IV with liquid food, antibiotics and a wound vacuum machine. My battle for proper follow-up care and medical supplies began immediately upon being sent home from the hospital. While still bed-ridden and healing from the six surgeries my parents and I were forced to begin a campaign of letters and calls fighting for help.
In total disbelief, we began sharing our experiences via emails and blogs to educate and help others.
As a natural progression, my parents and I started the Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP), a nonprofit organization designed to educate and protect patients through the awareness of hospital acquired infections.
Thank you for taking the time to look over our network. I hope you will find valuable information and connections here. I hope we can empower you with the confidence to be a proactive participant in the medical care for you and those you love.
May God Bless and keep you.
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