In 2001, my grandfather, who had a longstanding history of Parkinson’s Disease, was hospitalized for knee surgery. Post-surgically, he was given Haldol, presumably for post-op nausea and vomiting. Haldol, a potent dopamine blocker, is not to be administered to Parkinson’s patients under any circumstances. He began to experience severe paranoia and hallucinations, convinced that the hospital staff was a cult that was holding him hostage, as well as worsening Parkinson’s symptoms. He tried to convince my mother to help him escape, and talked incessantly about “Sylvia,” a demon lamp in the corner of his room that was after him. One night, he was found wandering on a different floor of the hospital; he had yanked out his IVs and attempted to escape “the cult.” After several bizarre and disconcerting days of erratic behavior and worsening dyskinesias, he was taken off of Haldol, and returned to full health.
I am grateful… Continue reading
I first encountered the tragic yet enlightening story of Lewis Blackman at the beginning of my first year of medical school this past August. It was jolting, disheartening, and frightening – to myself as a future medical provider and as a patient/family member. Today, I felt myself reacting in many of the same ways to his story; again, I was shocked and angry, and again, I reflexively asked myself, why didn’t the nurse do something? The intern? The chief resident? Who could be blamed for Lewis’s unnecessary death?
But wait… This question went against everything I thought I had learned about patient safety. Despite the fact that since my first viewing of this video I read Why Hospitals Should Fly (among a number of other valuable sources) and embraced the idea of a blameless culture in order to foster a transparent and beneficial learning environment,… Continue reading