585 miles from home. 10 hours away. Sean was back on US soil and although I couldn’t be with him, I knew that he would be getting the best care possible and would soon be returning home to us. After 5 months of battling illness, Sean would be recovering and on his way home.
This could not have been farther from the truth.
Disclaimer: The military does offer top-quality care to its soldiers. However, this was not the experience we had at this particular military facility. I wish to tell our story which involves lack of care and a fight to get the medical treatment my husband deserved. Please do not take this as a generalization of all military facilties or military healthcare.
Sean arrived at his destination on August 27th, 2006. I had contacted the hosptital to see if they could let me know when he arrived. Of course with privacy policies, they could not. They did offer to give my number to the paramedics on the ambulance so that if Sean asked them to contact me, they could.
The ambulance picked him up at the local airport and transported him to the emergency room on base. Two doctors met with him in the ER. The first doctor wanted to admit him to the hospital, give him some IV fluids, and review his records. The second doctor, who will be known as Dr. X, discharged him and sent him to the medical holdover barracks.
Sean had been told in Germany that he would be seeing a GI specialist to treat his illness. Dr. X told him there was not a GI specialist at this facility. He reported that records from Germany said nothing about the c-diff infection, rather had him categorized as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Dr. X said there was no need for continued fluids, medication, or isolation (he had been in isolation in Germany due to the nature of the c-diff infection). He told Sean, “You’re fine.”
The ER staff took his medications for pain and nausea for inventory and later refused to return them. Sean was told they had “no record” of any pain medications for him.
And so begins the fight. Sean will tell you, “Don’t mess with my wife.”