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Neck and back surgery due to car accident

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My boy friend was in a accident 3 weeks ago and he broke his neck and his back. He had emergency surgery on his neck, the thing is the doctors have not really been comunicating with my self and his familey. I know that after surgery number 1 he began to leak spinal fluid. Then, the doctor told us that he had to have surgery again to stop the leak. The second surgery was un-sucessful. The doctor waited three days to see if it would just stop leaking, and ended up going back into surgery. They put a drain for the spinal fluid, and a drain in the incision, I believe. (Like I said the doctors and nurses are not being very informative.) And now the spinal fluid is draining into a bag. His latest surgery was on friday and to day is monday. I was up visiting him at the hospital last night and nothing seems better he is complaining of headachs chills severe pain in his neck and he asked the nurse to check the incision because it felt very uncomfortable and when she did she noticed a dressing on the back of his neck that the nurses forgot to change since surgery on friday. when she removed the dressing you can smell infection and the wound was yellow green and pusy. I cant imagine that leaking spinal fluid out of you spine is good for anyone I am not a nurse or doctor I just need alittle info. If any one knows? I am greatful hes not paralized but what happens with a spinal fluid leak, and should I talk to someone about the lack of care he is getting in the hospiatl.


  • Hi Hazeleyes and welcome to Spine-Health.

    This reads like a horror story and I'm so sorry for all of you having to go through this.

    Yes, absolutely, you need to talk to someone about the lack of care. If it were possible to get him out of there, I'd do that too.

    Again, I'm so very sorry for the situation you're in. I'm not able to help much, but I know that there are some members who've had experience in this sort of thing (either a nurse or other hospital employee or from personal experience) and will be here soon to help you. So please, keep checking this post.

  • Hi and welcome to the forum. I am sorry that your circumstances brought you here.

    I would be very concerned about the infection along with the fluid leak. I would suspect that this could be a serious situation. I can't believe they didn't check the bandage for 3 days! I hope that he is on antibiotics by now and that his surgeon has been involved in rectifying the issue and monitoring his condition. It appears that you will have to advocate for your BF in order for him to get the care he needs. I would bring this to the attention of the nursing director, maybe even the chief of staff.

    During my surgery, the dural lining was "nicked" from L3-L5 and I had to spend 48 hours flat on my back to allow the mend to heal and to avoid the headache that is associated with CSF. Some folks on this site have had blood patches done to close up the area where the leak is occuring.

    Keep us posted.
  • I have to agree. Get him moved to a good hospital. 3 days and the dressing is not checked? That is bad enough. Still has spinal leak is very bad. I'll bet he has a headache from hell. I have had 2 spinal leaks. Both caused by doctors. The 1st I didn't know much better and it healed itself in a month or two. I had daily headaches. The 2nd I knew withing a couple of days and went back to the hospital. When I went to register and told them about the headaches and that they did a myelogram 2 days prior. They said spinal leak, our fault. We will fix it right now. They rushed me past everyone in the ER line. Brought in an anesthesiologist and he did a blood patch right then and there. Painful for sure to do. But it fixed the problem almost immediately. They apologised for the mishap. It can happen anytime they get near your spine.

    The lack of information from doctors and poor attendance by nurses. Sends up red flags to me. I would be very concerned. Go after the Chief of Staff, Director of Nursing. Start raising hell.

  • Hi there. I feel for you and your boyfriend and the situation he is in. The only thing I have any experience in is the leak. During my surgery almost four weeks ago, my dural was nicked and I sprung a leak. The good doctor repaired the rupture with some type of glue treatment. I had to lay completely flat for two days so that I wouldn't get the dreaded headache and also had a massive bombardment of IV antibiotics for three days. Also was told not to cough or make any big movement. Have they had him laying flat? I feel that they were neglectful in not changing his incision bandage. My surgeon took mine off the first time which was the day following the procedure. I really hope you will bring all of these things to someone's attention. It needs to be someone high up and who is in charge, not a shift manager or lead nurse.

    I hope things improve for ya'll quickly. I'm interested in hearing about his treatment and outcome. Stay strong and hopefully things will take a turn for the positive.
  • They do have him laying flat, he has been flat on his back for 3 weeks. The amount of fluid leaking seems to me like its alot still. I could not visit him or call to speak with him last night because they have him on visitor restriction because he is being nasty to the nurses but he is in pain and he is feeling neglected. The hospital security said that he cannot have vistors. They also took his phone. The nurses told me he was in having surgery last night but they wont tell me any information, because im only his girlfriend, even though they know im there the most out of everyone. He has even verbaly told the doctors to talk to me and they wont listen to him. I have been trying to contact the patient advocate but I am getting no response. The problem is he has state insurance. I would love to get him moved from there but I dont know where to start. The worst part about the situation is the hospital that my boyfriend is in is on a year long probation for malpractice. I am so stressed.
  • This truly is a horror story. I'm not sure where you are located so my post may not be applicable...but I've never heard of a hospital being able to keep a patient from seeing visitors such as you describe. It is really difficult as the girlfriend because you really have no legal rights...and with all the HIPPA restrictions, you really don't have a legal leg to stand on.

    I would think that year's probation might be a point of leverage for you. I cannot tell you precisly where to begin, but whoever is in charge of regulating hospitals would (should) be interested in hearing your complaints, I would think.

    I don't know what "state insurance" is...does that change things? Regardless he still deserves care that is NOT negligent.

    Please keep trying to help your boyfriend. It sounds like he really needs an advocate!!

  • Please post where you live. There very well may be someone on here who can help you start the process of getting your bf out of this horrid situation.

    The fact that they won't let him have visitors and took away his phone is further indication that this place is not where he should be to get better.

    I agree with Gwennie that the malpractice might be the leverage you need to get him transferred.

  • I live in Connecticut, He is at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.
  • I feel so bad for you, I dont know what I'd do. Can you demand to see him? They cant keep you away from him as long as he WANTS to see you. Do they have any legal reason to keep you away? This is the time you need to be around each other. To comfort one another. I couldnt imagine being unable to see the one person in the world who completes me during my hospital stay when I need him the most.

    Good Luck,

  • might be able to take legal action against this hospital.
  • There is no legal reason. I spoke to the advocate and she said that the reason is because he is getting to excited when people come around. I cant imagine how keeping him from me is gonna make him do anything but stress. I also found out they had him in surgery again today. But they only told me that and nothing else. Not why he was in surgery, or what was done in surgery. She also told me that they cleaned the infection, and now have him on antibiotics thru IV. I feel like because of his behavior they hospital staff was neglecting to help him, I dont know how much it must hurt I cant even begin to imagine, but he is being mean cuz hes hurting bad, and frustrated.

  • As in 1st level, parents, brothers, sisters? Get one of them. The hospital can't legally refuse to provide them information. HIPPA protects patients but it is also there to protect them from hospitals and doctors.

    Does he already have legal representation from the accident. If not, and it is an MVA. Get his legal relative to call them and get them involved. You can get legal representation. That will get the hospital a bit more pressure.

    Refusing to let anyone see a patient for any length of time suggest the hospital is not in control. Does he have issues with self control? Be honest. If he is that much trouble I'd expect they would have him in restraints. We all can understand he is upset because he is in pain.

    This just sounds like Twilight Zone and BS coming from this situation. Something is very wrong.

    Also you can get his blood relatives to raise hell with the people I mentioned. Director of Nursing, Neurosurgery, etc... There are also state medical boards. Just do a search on the web for your state.

    What you need to do is show the hospital you are coming after them. Right now they think they just bullied you out of their hair. You have no idea what they are doing to him. As near as I can tell that is not only unconscionable, it's illegal.

    I'd only give the 1 year malpractice thing a certain amount of credence. It could be nothing more than 1 doctor screwed up. It could be the hospital in general is run badly. You don't know.. Your focus needs to be getting some control over the situation with your boyfriend.

  • are you guys? how long have you been together? If he wants to see you and he's over legal age they cant keep you out. Thats bull. If your b/f gets excited with you around they should talk to him and explain that if he relax and stay calm while youre there, you can stay.
    This is one of the reasons I asked your ages. There just seems to be a whole lot of wrong going on here.
  • Both of us are 26 and yes he does have a problem with his behavior. But not letting me in is making him act worse.
  • He has no legal representation because the accident was his fault.
  • There is a form that your boyfriend can sign that would give you legal right to be his health care representative if that is what he wishes. It does not take away his right to make decisions but would allow the hospital personnel to speak to you. And in the event he is unable to make decisions you would be the one to make those decisions.

    Get a Advance Directive form- either on line or at the hospital. He will have to sign it in front of a witness. Most hospitals will handle this for you.

    The hospital does not have the right to keep visitors out unless the visitor is causing a problem or the patient requests it. Because he is not a minor his parents actually have very little right to determine care.

    I would also contact his insurance company to see if there is any health care coverage. Most policies have some coverage even if you are at fault.

    What you need to think carefully about is whether part of the problem is that your boyfriend doesn't want to designate you as a health care representative. I know this is a hard thing to consider at this time and you are probably the one who cares the most for him but you need to think about this honestly for your sake. I remember when my husband bought our house before we were married but had been dating for several years. I was very hurt when he turned to his mother and not me for help with the mortgage process. Before you can help him you have to make sure he wants your help. If he wants your help get that Advance Directive immediately.

    Good Luck and let us know what happens
  • I'm coming in rather late - but I do have some accident experience.

    If your b/f had car insurance, he should have some insurance coverage. I had 3,000 that my insurance covered before the secondary insurance (the at-fault insurance) started any coverage. Honestly, 3,000 a drop in the bucket compared to what multiple back surgeries and 3 weeks in the hospital costs though.

    BUT - if your b/f also had regular health insurance - then he gets his medical bills paid that way too.

    I do wonder if the hospital staff is being very unprofessional. Were there other people injured in the accident? Are the staff taking their frustrations out on him because of a 'presumed' at-fault kind of mentality?

    I feel for you - it does sound like you've been through the wringer, and I hate to say it, but it also sounds like it's not going to end anytime soon.

    Best of luck and keep up the dedicated work to help him.
  • I just printed the form off the internet and plan to bring it to the hospital tonight as soon as I am off work. I am still trying to get them to let me see him.
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