What can you do if you feel it’s taking too long to get your loved one the care they need at the hospital? KIRO 7 spoke to one woman who told us about her own frustrations leading up to her husband’s death.
It was a call she didn’t expect.
“Honey, I’m not doing well. Try and give me a call,” Victor Chin said over the phone.
This voicemail was the first warning Suzi Williams-Chin got that her husband Victor was in trouble.
“He was just in so much pain and I knew it was really, really serious,” Suzi explained.
Suzi raced to him at the hospital.
Finding Victor was an issue once she arrived.
“Security said there was no Victor Chin. Did I have the wrong hospital? And I said no. And I repeated that several times and I said, ‘I even have an email that says he’s here’ and they said, ‘he’s not here,’” said Suzi.
Suzi was bounced between security and the nurse’s station before finding Victor in a wheelchair, doubled over in pain.
“He was cold, shaking, crying. I mean, all these things, you’re just thinking, ‘Why? Why are you like this? Why are you here?’ I knew something was major, major wrong.”
It turns out Victor had an aortic dissection. According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, that’s essentially a tear in the main artery that takes blood from your heart to the rest of your body. It can be deadly and requires immediate action.
After being moved to another hospital, Victor’s second of two surgeries were delayed due to medical complications.
“It was almost like the perfect storm, you know, nothing got better,” Suzi explained.
Her frustrations mounted as additional testing and therapy were often delayed.
After what ended up being a 44-day rollercoaster, on Jan. 20, Victor Chin died at the hospital.
Suzi Williams-Chin believes Victor could have had a better outcome if he was treated faster.
So what do you do when things aren’t going right at the hospital? KIRO 7 spoke with Darcy Jaffe, the Senior VP for safety and quality with the Washington State Hospital Association to find out.
“There’s a nurse on call or administrator (available) 24/7 - they can ask to talk to that person,” Jaffe explained.
Jaffe says if you don’t have time for that, reach out to the patient relations department. If you’re not satisfied with that, file a complaint with the Department of Health.
“Hospitals want to hear from you. Hospitals want to make sure they’re giving the best care possible,” Jaffe explained.
“I’m in a lot of pain. Give me a call. Love you,” Victor said in his final voicemail.
Suzi knew how serious his pain was; the hard part was convincing everyone else. And sharing her story in the hope it doesn’t have to happen to someone else.
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