Monday, November 3, 2008


Blogging friends and family, I need your help. I have written the letter that I promised to write. Please read and help with some feedback. I would like to get this letter delivered as soon as possible. THANK YOU!

Dear Thomas A. Clairmont:

I was recently a patient at your hospital in Franklin, NH. (10/29-10/31/2008) I was scheduled for a same day procedure but ended up staying a couple of days because of some minor complications. This was my first experience at the Franklin Hospital. Turns out it will be my last. My surgery consisted of a “hysteroscopy and D&C”. The pre-surgical team was great, the post-surgical team was great as well. It wasn't until I got moved up to the floor (2nd to be exact) that things started to go down hill. After surgery, I tend to have a reaction to the narcotics that I am given. My body itches all over. To help with this reaction, the nurses usually give me some IV Benadryl. Up on the floor I was begging for some benadryl as my dose had worn off. The nurses continually told me “no” and that “you don't need it”. After begging and begging some more, I was told “just stop itching, you're only making it worse.” Because they denied me the benadryl, I rubbed the skin off my nose which created a scab, and I caused sores all over my body from itching so badly. I was eventually reduced to tears while begging for relief when the nurse finally responded, “FINE, I'll go get it for you.” All through that first night I listened to an elderly lady moan and yell out in pain. She was ignored throughout the whole night. She verbalized her pain, but they continued to ignore her. When they finally came in to help her their voices dripped with annoyance. Time after time when I used my call button I was either ignored or rudely told “we're trying to find your nurse”. After waiting over an hour at a time I would push the call button (this time to get help to use the bathroom) and again the staff would say “we're TRYING to locate your nurse!” and then hang up on me, never asking me what I had called for. It was degrading. I felt trapped. I felt inhuman. I wanted to leave so badly but because my potassium levels were low, the doctor wanted to keep me another night. “I can't stay here ANOTHER NIGHT!” I thought. Maybe if they had brought me a meal tray in the first 48 hours, my potassium levels might not have dropped. That's right, the nurses never offered me anything to eat or drink. Just for the record, I was on a regular diet. That meant that I should have been eating AND drinking. Because I was in a narcotic haze, I couldn't think straight or make any decisions for myself. Isn't this what nurses are for? Where was the compassion? Did they know that I had just recently been through 4 other procedures in the past four months? They should have, it was in my chart. Did they realize that I had JUST lost a baby at 20 weeks? They should have, it was in my chart. I am still trying to recover from this traumatic experience in my life while going through more surgeries. The nurses didn't care. They SHOULD have. It worries me that others (such as the elderly lady that was beside me) have to go through similar experiences as mine. If these nurses have lost their compassion then they need to go. I have had such wonderful experiences at LRGH and it frightens me to think that Franklin is associated with that hospital. I am writing you this letter to make you aware of the kind of treatment that I received at the Franklin Hospital. I want you to know that I am someone with excellent health insurance and that all my bills will be payed. On the other hand, I want you to know that I feel I was heavily short changed. My stay at the Franklin Hospital was no less than a nightmare. One that I couldn't escape from fast enough. In closing I want you to know that as I was being wheeled down from my room to my waiting car, the nurse realized my IV was still in my arm. She ran into the nearest bathroom, grabbed some crunchy paper towels, literally ripped the IV from my arm and threw the paper towels at me telling me to apply pressure to my now gaping wound and then wheeled me out the door. That was the icing on the cake. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Becky Orton


Aaron H. said...

I would add a sentence or two about the very litigous society in which we live and that you are weighing your options in that regard (in order to ensure some sort of a response from them). Then I would also add that your letter is being copied to local news and media outlets, and include those by name - and then send the letter to the media outlets. If you're that serious about wanting a reaction from the hospital, the media is the surest way to make it happen.

Becky said...

can i hire you as my lawyer? :)

April said...

I am so glad you are sharing your story so that others won't have to go through what you've been through! Good job!

KeriLyn and Matthew said...

Sounds like Aaron had some good ideas for you. I can't believe you had to go through all that...sort of....although, i had a lousy experience after having Kayleigh, where i was ignored by nurses, etc....and also after having Jared--I should have probably written, too....mostly because the people who are treating patients that way should not be there. Good for you to take a stand. I may tell my bro, Matt to read your letter....he totally gets into stuff like writing letters to people when they need to be told of something like this.

ChefTom said...

Becky, check your email. I re-organized it a little for you.

Primarymary said...

Becky, The letter looks good. Aaron is right, the hospital will give it more attention if you threaten legal and media attention. You should also send a copy to the Surgeon General of your state or whatever agency oversees hospitals in NH

Anonymous said... should mention they sent you out bleeding from the ripped IV. You'll have to post the response you receive. What a frightening Halloween!

ChefTom said...

Thomas A. Claremont
Hospital Name

Dear Mr. Claremont,

I was recently a patient in your hospital in Franklin, NH. I was scheduled for an outpatient procedure on 10/29/08 and due to complications I was admitted until 10/31/08. I would like to share my experience with you to allow you to give praise to those who were wonderful caregivers and to correct behavior that in this litigious society could very well cost you millions.

My Surgery consisted of a D&C and Hysteroscopy. The pre-surgery team was great; they showed expertise and made me feel comfortable. The same is true from the post-operative team, I was very pleased with them and their efficiency in which they did their job. Please pass on my appreciation to them for their attentiveness and the care for which each of them did their job.

When I left post-op and was admitted and was sent to the 2nd floor, this is where the happy story ends and the nightmare begins. Let me preface this by telling you that I tend to have reactions to the narcotics that I am given, they cause my entire body to itch. To help with this reaction I have found a Benadryl IV keeps the itching tolerable and makes the time that the narcotics are wearing off much more comfortable. When I arrived on the floor my dose of Benadryl was wearing off and I found myself in great discomfort. I asked the nurses for more and was told “NO”, “You Don’t Need It” and “Just Stop Itching, You are Just Making It Worse”. I was begging and begging and itching and scratching. I scratched to the point that I scratched myself raw and bloody on my nose and several other spots. After being reduced to tears and begging some more, the nurse finally responded “FINE, I’ll go get it for you.” Time after time when I used my call button for help to go to the bathroom, I was either ignored or was rudely told, “We’re TRYING to locate your nurse!” They would then hang up without asking what I needed. I felt trapped and degraded, I felt inhuman. If I could have left, I would have. My doctor wanted me to stay another night to help stabilize my potassium levels, and instead of thinking about my health, I thought, “I CAN’T survive another night of this.” My potassium levels would not have dropped if my nurse had not been negligent; she failed to offer me food and water in the first 48 hours of my visit. I was on a regular diet so I don’t understand why the nurse failed to meet my most basic of needs for so long.

I feel that since I was coming out of a narcotic haze the nurses should have taken care of me much better than they did. After all, isn’t that what they are there for? Where was the compassion? Didn’t they know that I had been through 4 other procedures in the past four months? They should have, it was in my chart. Did they realize that I had JUST lost a baby at 20 weeks? They should have, it was in my chart. I am still trying to recover from one traumatic experience in my life while going through more surgeries. These nurses didn’t care about me, they should have.

I just want to share the final experience I had while in your hospital. When I was released, I was loaded into a wheelchair and wheeled toward my waiting car, the nurse realized that she failed to remove the IV from my arm. She ran into the bathroom, grabbed a handful of 80-grit paper towels and literally ripped the IV from my arm and threw the paper towels at me, with the direction to “Apply pressure” to my arm with a new gaping hole in it. We then continued our journey to the car.

It worries me that others will have to endure what I have been through, like an elderly patient down the hall from me that was moaning and crying out in pain all night, seemingly without any relief being offered, each time I heard a nurse communicate with her, there was an annoyed tone in here voice. (I hope that she is doing better.)

Nursing is as much a job of compassion and care giving as it is of medical expertise. As a nurse, if you are just there for a paycheck, it is time to find a new career. Nursing is not a place for antipathy for your patients.

I want you to know that I am well insured and my bills will be paid in full, although I feel as though I got short-changed on the service end of the deal.

I would like to discuss this with you, at your earliest convenience,


Becky Orton
Phone number

CC: local newspapers
Local TV stations
Local talk radio

Becky said...

thanks cheftom! I appreciate your help!!! :)

Christy said...

I am so glad you are writing to them, maybe have those around you who witnessed much of this sign or write a short note also.

Anonymous said...

I will hand deliver this letter for you if you would like.

Paula Glaude

Becky said...

okay paula - but could you refresh my memory? surgery has killed a lot of brain cells. how do i know you? please email me so we can talk further about this letter. thanks for your help! (

Cathy said...

You ought to include pictures, if you have any. The nose job really says a lot. Sometimes they think one is being dramatic when describing how they were wronged.
(I don't think you are.)

LL said...

can you hear me cheering? i'm saying GO FIGHT WIN B.E.C.K.Y.
You're a strong woman, good for yOU!!!

barryblog said...

I am sooo sorry. I know how the nurses can act irritated to help. "I know, you may have to put down your book and help me!!" My mom is an RN and she gets herself in trouble for being TOO attentive. The other nurses seem bugged by her efforts. I know it stinks, but you will probably get a generic letter back from them apologising and nothing will change. Isn't it nice to share your thoughts, though? Kind of healing in its own way. I am thinking about you and your 20 week baby. It has been a hard week for me. If only I did not have to keep seeing other pregnant people!! It would be so much easier!!

Adam and Anya said...

It IS important to get local media ON YOUR SIDE. Be sure to submit this story to newspapers, radio, TV...etc. Just go to their websites and submit your story to them. Let the hospital know you are contacting local media and that you have a network of friends and family that is growing in support of improving patient recovery care.

This is not acceptable. They get away with it too much. Enough is enough! Nurses need proper management, love and guidance. This sounds like a MAJOR management issue.

Good for you.

Ashlee said...

Please tell me that you will keep us posted on this. I am interested in knowing if you get a response and what that response included. :0)

shirlgirl said...

Great letter, Becky, and I would also send one to the local papers. My cousin did after an issue with a funeral home following my aunt's funeral a year or so ago. It made Foster's Democrat in Dover, NH. And you bet they took care of the situation, too. Aaron has some excellent points as well.
Love, Aunt Shirley

Alicia said...

Becky, good for you for the letter and I too agree with Aaron, take it the next step, you may save someone the heartache.

Palmer Family said...

Becky you are an amazing woman. Sorry to hear about your bad experience, but it is women like you that get things changed in this world. Remind me to tell you sometime about how I got an overseas porn channel taken off air. :) I too agree with Aaron's advice, you should also talk to your insurance company about the situation. I'm not sure if it can be done, but talk to them about not paying the hospital until the situation has been resolved to your satisfaction. We shouldn't have to pay for crappy care that hinders our health instead of helping us.