Health care complaints

Dear Editor:This is the most difficult letter I have ever written. I'm writing to fulfill a promise made to my son who passed away a year ago. I received a call from my son saying his doctor had told him to go to the Emergency Room at Downey Regional Medical Center. My son wanted me to take him because he was dizzy and sick to his stomach. I rushed to take him, not realizing that a walk-in isn't necessarily considered an emergency. They took him in a wheelchair, his head hanging down and he appeared to be out of it. I begged them to get a doctor and admit him right away. I was told he had to wait his turn, though it was very obvious that many waiting were not emergency cases. After about an hour, the man at the desk advised I take him home and call 911, then they would take him right away. My son was a large man and I knew there would be problems moving him, so I chose to wait a little longer, hoping he would be admitted. Feeling desperate, I went to the desk and told the man I was taking him home and would call 911. The shift had changed and the new man told me if I did, they wouldn't admit him. So we waited three hours to talk to a nurse to take the information. My son spent two hours on a gurney, then was put in a bed with IVs, etc. I left about 11:30 p.m., thinking he was in good hands. I learned later that he was put in a hospital bed at 8 a.m. the next day. He had had a stroke. The first weekend my son was there the doctor told me he was the only doctor in charge of five hospitals. I asked why and he said the others had gone on a fishing trip. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Mansoor, we were able to get my son to the Ronald Reagan Center at UCLA. He received excellent care there. When he was released for rehab, we chose Lakewood Regional Medical Center because they had some kind of electrical treatment to help him swallow. We were very hopeful. He had one treatment and was supposed to have more, but the only person who administered the treatment went on vacation. During rehab, my son choked and passed away. When my son was at Downey Regional, he asked I write to The Downey Patriot and tell the readers what happened. Now, I've fulfilled that promise. All this happened when he had good health insurance. I shudder to think what could have happened if we had federal health care. I hope this will help someone else in case they have an emergency. Call 911 - don't go to the emergency room. Also, stay with the patient if possible. Don't count on good health care otherwise. - Elsa Van Leuven, Downey

********** Published: August 14, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 17