A Tale of Two Patients
By: Brittney Parker
Within the college student body, the OSF Clinic has a less than positive reputation. Is the bad rep of the clinic justified? This is a first hand evaluation by two students of one service provided by OSF: Surgery
Surgery is something no one ever predicts for themselves. One of the scariest things a person can hear is when a doctor tells him or her they must have surgery immediately before something worse happens. For college students who do not have primary doctors in Monmouth, many things begin to run through his or her mind. “The first thing I did was call my parents to see if I could come home to get surgery done there and be with my family,” says Kate Runge, who had her appendix removed in 2007. “I was a freshman and I had just moved into the college, I didn’t really know what to expect which scared me even more. All I knew was the bad things people had told me about the clinic, like misdiagnosing patients and lack of knowledge.” She went on to explain that this was her biggest fear. “As if surgery wasn’t bad enough I had to get it done at a place I was not comfortable with, that just added to it.”
I too was faced with these concerns when I was told I had to have surgery immediately. I was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia, and that if I didn’t get it taken care of, it would only get worse and cause my intestines to get pinched closed. If this was to happen, I would have to go in for emergency surgery, which according to the doctor would be a dangerous situation.
Runge checked into the emergency room at 4:30 in the morning and was taken to a room immediately after, despite common beliefs of waiting hours to be looked at. Although, this is where her experience began to frighten her. “After about an hour and what seemed like 50 tries later, I finally got an IV in my hand. That was after I had already passed out, because of the amount of pain I was in, while walking to the bathroom. Except the nurse made my roommate help me.” She explained that the doctor who was going to perform the surgery seemed knowledgeable and told her how the operation and recovery were going to go, which she said put her at ease.
I was first treated by a clinic doctor, who then set up an appointment for me to meet with the general surgeon. Although this first doctor seemed knowledgeable, she didn’t really answer any of my questions and still left me wondering. I was not really given any other options either, other than to go home. This left me with a less than positive outlook on the situation. A few days later, I met with the surgeon, Dr. Mukund Godbole. After talking with him, I felt comfortable that he knew what he was talking about and doing. He explained the history of how hernia surgeries used to be preformed as opposed to how they are done now to “ensure a faster recovery.” He asked about my lifestyle and how active I was and together we decided the best option for hernia repair, which he explained, “was a mesh piece which would make recovery faster and less painful than getting stitches.” I set up an appoint for surgery four days later, since it was “quickly getting worse and needed to be taken care of as soon as possible” according to Dr. Godbole.
I still had misgivings about getting surgery done at this hospital, so I had my Mom call around at home to see if there was a way I could get into a hospital at home. I thought it was strange that my doctor in Monmouth did not do an ultrasound or see how big the hernia was, although he had said when he was feeling around that it was as big as the tip of his thumb. No hospitals at home would be able to see me until the end of May, so I was forced to stick with OSF.
I had to go back the day after my consultation to get a blood test for a blood count. When I walked into the lab room, I was immediately placed into a room and the nurse followed in directly after me. I told my nurse about my fear of needles and blood, let alone getting my blood taken. I had explained that I had only gotten it done once before and almost fainted. She talked me through it while she was doing it. I had never had such a good experience with anything dealing with needles as that was. (Not to mention the chair was one of the most comfortable things I had ever sat in.)
The day of my surgery, I went into the Out Patient waiting room. I sat there for a minute before I was taken into the pre-operation room. The nurse had me read over a few sheets of paper dealing with the anesthesia, but explained that it was just for insurance purposes and unless I have an allergy I am unaware of, nothing bad would happen. I explained my fear of having an IV and that I have never had one before. She told me that they would not be able to give me laughing gas because they did not have a gas tank in the room I was in, but she reassured me that they would make it the most painless they possibly could and would make it a pleasurable experience. Instead of gas, I was given a shot in my hand that would numb my vain before they put the IV in. I though, a shot before a shot, I’m not so sure of that. The numbing shot involved little to no pain at all so when she put the IV in, there was no pain at all.
I was walked through everything from what my arm would feel like once the IV was in my body to why they gave me a hot blanket, and what would happen as they added drugs to my IV. The nurse administering the anesthesia talked with my parents and me to decide on the best solution for surgery, as well as the painkillers I would be admitted with during surgery to help reduce the pain immediately after surgery. My surgeon came out before I was pushed into the operation room, to meet with my parents and answer any questions they had that the nurses couldn’t answer. My parents were given lunch tickets and received a free lunch from the cafeteria in the hospital, which they said was not bad food at all.
When I was pushed into the operation room, I was greeted with a handful of nurses. They told me to move onto the operation table, which seemed extremely small. I talked with them for about five minutes while they put monitors on me and strapped my arms up to separate boards. Before I knew it, I was waking up and telling the nurses all about the dream I had. I was transferred back to my bed and was wheeled away.
The doctor had gone to the waiting room and explained to my parents how the surgery went and what he did. He explained that when he blew up my stomach with air, he saw that the hernia was a bit smaller than he had originally thought and he could use stitches as opposed to the mesh piece. He explained that recovery would not be as quick, but that the risk of it opening up again is not likely.
My parents returned to my room, and within 40 minutes I was released. I had to use the bathroom and walk, once I did that the nurse told me I could leave whenever I wanted. The nurses called in my prescriptions and my parents were able to pick them up as soon as we left the hospital.
For never having a surgery before, I had one of the most surprisingly comfortable experiences. I would recommend OSF hospital to anyone. The nurses were caring and took all of my concerns into consideration. They made sure I was comfortable at all times and explained in detail everything that would happen. My surgeon was extremely knowledgeable and put everything at ease. He was personable and explained the entire surgery beforehand, as well as telling me about the discomfort I would feel after surgery.
After being released, Runge’s incision became infected and she returned to the doctor to get it looked at. He told her “you will be bikini ready in no time” but “my scar is probably around three inches and definitely looks like I got knifed in an alley way. It has pulls in the line and looks terrible. It stills hurts sometimes, so I’m guessing it wasn't done properly?” She also added, “I went back and found out my doctor "retired" soon after I had my surgery, a little fishy if you ask me.”
When Runge looks back on the entire experience, as a whole, “I feel like there are some nurses that didn’t seem to know how to help me. But overall the hospital seemed more knowledgeable, as a whole, despite the doctor I had. Perhaps there are just certain individuals that are not properly trained, but I wouldn’t hold it against the hospital portion.” If she was to give advice to anyone needing a surgery and who are not able to go home, she says “I would call around and ask how the operation and recovery are for the surgery you’re going to have, then compare that to what the doctor tells you. I feel like that would be a quick and easy test to see if he or she is trustworthy. I wish I would have done that.”