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Patient (Nurse) Checks Herself Out of Sunrise Hospital in Nevada and May Have Saved Her Own Life By Returning to Iowa for Care

Posted Nov 14 2010 4:56pm

Las Vegas is certainly the place where we all go to play and this hip surgery obviously did not stay in Las Vegas.  The patient was a surgery nurse who of image course was familiar with hip replacements, which she needed after breaking her hip in Las Vegas.  When she returned home and went to the hospital at home in Iowa, a surgeon repaired a split in the thigh muscle to stop the blood pooling.  She knew something was not right in Las Vegas at Sunrise. 

There are some pretty interesting comments too on this article with a couple others who were not happy with Sunrise Medical Center.  Perhaps she could have bombed the “Consult-A-Nurse” program with calls or used it to get a referral for another MD.  All in all I would say without knowing further details here that the nurse is right as she does the same job at home when not on vacation and has a good idea on how things are supposed to work.  Continued administrative pressures today at hospitals all over the US are beginning to take their toll and balance is important, so add on a 30% Medicare cut if Congress does not find a solution or extension once again, and we are all screwed, meaning doctors and patients.  I see everyday on the web, nurses strikes too over working conditions so hopefully it doesn’t have to get worse before someone recognizes this fact.  Of any 2 occupations around, when I need care those are the 2 that I want to be happy and to be able to care for me with undue distractions and disruptions.  BD  

Kathy Shafer knew she was bleeding internally after an operation at Sunrise Hospital Medical Center, but she says no one would listen to her.

Checking herself out of the hospital this spring against doctors’ advice may have saved her life.

Shafer, a 59-year-old operating room nurse from Charles City, Iowa, had come to Las Vegas to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and broke her left hip while dancing in a Fremont Street bar. She was taken to Sunrise, where Dr. Matthew Ragsdell replaced the hip, medical records show .

Ragsdell did not return the Sun’s phone call seeking comment for this story. image

Within days of the surgery her leg swelled to twice its normal size and became rock hard.

“I knew something wasn’t right,” said Shafer, who has been a nurse for 28 years and seen many hip replacement surgeries.

Then Shafer noted that her level of hemoglobin — a protein that carries blood throughout the body — was dropping precipitously, a possible sign of internal bleeding.

“My leg is filling up with blood,” Shafer told hospital employees.

“No, it’s not,” she says they replied. “Your leg is just swelling.”

Back home, a surgeon repaired a split in the thigh muscle, which had been allowing blood to pool in her leg, medical records show .

Other aspects of Sunrise’s care troubled Shafer. She says she was “totally ignored.”

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