Hospital Corporation Of America - HCA -R. Milton Johnson, Chmn & CEO - Ignored patient mistreatment resulting in damaged eyesight.
This is a letter I sent to the president of HCA on September 19, 2014
Mr. R. Milton Johnson
5012 Hill Place Drive
Nashville, TN 37205
Dear Mr. Johnson,
I’m sorry to have to send this letter to your home but for nearly 4 years I have been trying to get in touch with you. All of my calls and correspondence were intercepted, ignored or “handled” by others who made it known to me that it was “just too bad” although I am left with severely damaged eyesight. That being said, I still want to make you personally aware of what happened to me at Trident Eye Center in Charleston, SC. The nurses involved literally “got away” with treating me in a most horrific manner and I am still suffering. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read my letter.
Since this letter below was written, I ended up having 8 shots in my right eye to reduce the swelling of the edema - which Dr. David Vroman admitted did not happen until after the second surgery. My issue was the cause for the second surgery that led to a third surgery with severe negative ramifications of my total sight.
I have had another cataract surgery with a corneal transplant in my left eye. The very next day when the bandage was removed, I had negative dysphotopsia caused by the reflection of the lens and also because my left eye was overworked by trying to do the work of both eyes, a "second cataract" had formed. I was advised by David Vroman to have YAG surgery performed and that didn't help and my right eye became somewhat "lazy".
This past March 2014, I had a vitrectomy with membrane peel surgery in my left eye. Two very common procedures have turned into 8 surgeries. My last eye appointment was August 28, 2014 to try to correct the damage. Again, it is important to note who and what caused me the necessity of a second surgery (and more) and why.
Dr. Vroman had assured me he would support me in my complaint against Trident but he and his staff became abusive and refused to return my phone calls. I was left to try to seek justice own. The SC board of licensing dismissed the case without any explanation to me other than “it’s dismissed”.
The following is my original complaint.
On January 25, 2011, I had scheduled surgery for cataract removal, lens implant and a cornea transplant.(DSEK) I chose the Premium IOL (Toric Lens) which would correct my astigmatism and provide me with near and distant vision and according to my doctor, I would not need glasses ever again.
Weeks prior to this procedure, I had several detailed conversations with Trident Eye Center outlining the entire process and made all necessary arrangements per their instructions, most notably having someone stay with me during the surgery and drive me to my hotel afterward. They also emphasized the necessity of lying flat on my back immediately after surgery with as little movement as possible. All instructions were clearly understood and agreeable.
Things moved along very smoothly until approximately 15 minutes before the surgery. At that time, I was berated by a nurse at the Eye Center, Millicent Nelson about having "someone stay the entire night" with me. This came as a complete surprise because it had never been brought up in previous contacts with them including the night before when the ‘surgery prep call’ was made to me nor at the time of my actual check in. In fact, up to that time, the only related question ever asked was "Is there someone with you?" My doctor's assistant, who arranged the services of the caretaker, was also unaware of this "added requirement". This also posed a potential significant additional expense, as my arrangements with the caretaker did not include her spending the night. Plus, at that point, it was not even a possibility in her schedule.
The berating continued and escalated when Millicent brought in Nurse Stuart Henry to assist with the strong-arm tactics. For reasons known only to Millicent and Stuart, I was singled out for their last minute plan changes because this harsh form of interrogation was not presented to other patients having similar procedures that day. This went on for well over an hour and was literally tormenting, when my caretaker firmly questioned them, more than once, as to why they were doing this to me and told them that I was about to have surgery and needed to be calm. This turned into a shouting match that lasted well over an hour. Needless to say this episode resulted in emotional distress evidenced by my blood pressure elevating to 166/100 which is normally 125/80. Not only did this interrogation continue but both Millicent and Stuart stalled when I asked to see my doctor.
According to them, “it wasn’t necessary”. I had to actually demand that he be brought in.
After Dr. Vroman was finally (and suddenly) called out of surgery and came to see what was going on, this same attitude and line of questioning persisted during their discussion with him. He stated he was unaware of this "additional requirement" for someone to stay through the night, it was never mentioned at his numerous previous surgeries and privately opined their browbeating was, to say the least, unprofessional. (He later offered to write a letter of complaint.) Finally, caught off guard and to appease the last minute demands of Millicent and Stuart, my doctor arranged for his staff assistant to pick me up, drive me back to his office then to the hotel. This made no sense at all since I had a caretaker with me. The bottom line irony of this entire ordeal, no one ended up staying the night with me.
Had Trident followed their own initial instructions, this entire procedure would have been a smooth and problem-free experience. As a result of their last minute demands, what should have been a routine process turned into a gut-wrenching and stress-filled ordeal. Initial mutually agreed plans were quite simple; I was to leave Trident with my caretaker, go to the hotel - which I had already checked into earlier - and have the caretaker stay with me until I was comfortably situated. Instead, I went from Trident surgery room to their couch, was then transported by car with my doctor’s staff to his office, was escorted to a couch to lie on, was again transported by car and dropped off at the front door of the hotel. It had been made very clear to me that after the transplant, it was necessary to lie flat on my back for 24 hours with minimal movement.
On January 26, when I went for my follow up visit and bandage removal, because I opted for the Premium IOL, my eye tested at 20/40. Needless to say, I was quite happy, however, the cornea slipped. It is my firm belief that the last minute changes demanded by Nurses Nelson and Henry which required additional, unnecessary and excessive movement was a major factor, if not the sole cause, of my cornea slipping out of place necessitating a second and third procedure.
The second surgery was in March 2011. This was a procedure where my doctor tried to "pull" (or refloat) the slipped cornea in place; however it resulted in 'folds" and I could not see at all. It was like trying to see through waxed paper. He then said I had to have another complete transplant, which I did in May 2011.
These additional procedures have been, and still are, emotionally stressful and a financial burden as well because both times I had to again hire the services of a caretaker, travel nearly 100 miles, one way, to get there, re-book a hotel room, be subjected to more anesthesia and pay for the use of the facility.
It is important to note that, in March and May when the additional surgeries were performed, the "added requirement" of someone "staying the night" with me was never mentioned by anyone at Trident. Also of importance is, because I went directly from Trident to my hotel as originally planned, there was no cornea slippage as with the first surgery when Nurses Millicent and Stuart required that I literally be shuffled around.
Due to the excessive surgeries in the same eye, it resulted in me contracting cystoid macular edema (CME) and permanently diminished vision. I am now receiving steroid shots in my eye (5 so far) every 4-8 weeks and my last vision test was 20/100. I cannot see clearly at less than an arm's length. One surgery had unnecessarily turned into three with permanent complications.
I am a non-smoking 63 years old and in reasonably good health. I have had several medical procedures performed in the past and have NEVER had any complications.
Although I received a note of apology and flowers from the Vice President of Trident, Jeff Simliss, that does not restore my sight. He actually thought it was funny and told me I should be thanking him for the flowers. Also, I have filed a complaint with the SC Board of Licensing against Nurses Nelson and Henry. I tried talking to SVP Kevin Chilvers afterward but he refused to respond to my emails after Sandy Liles “adjudicated” the case and didn’t bother to phone me.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $250000.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I didn't like: Being abused by nurses millicent nelson and stuart henry.