Thursday, March 15, 2007
Connie's stepfather, who lives across the street from Connie, waited on the roof of his home after the storm until a boat arrived to evacuate him. As he was climbing down the roof into the rescue boat, he caught his foot on a lose nail and was wounded deeply. The cut was met by dirty water. Due to lack of adequate medical care, his cut worsened. His foot swelled and the infected area began to turn black. He ended up in Texas with his family, who immediately took him to the emergency room in Houston. The doctors dressed his wound, prescribed a course of antibiotics, and diagnosed the wound as a severe infection. However, because he was on Medicaid, he was only allowed one in-house visit a week. Connie and her family were busy finding jobs and trying to scrap up enough money to pay rent and buy airbeds in their one bedroom apartment. Since there was no car in the family, and no one to take him to the hospital, Connie had to administer the antibiotics through his IV four times a day, and change his bandages. Every time she removed his bandages, pieces of his foot fell off. In his weekly consultations with the visiting nurse, Connie relayed her concern about the changing color and growing odor of the infection, suggesting that it might be gangrene. On each visit she was rebuffed, and told that the nurses had seen worse. After this went on for some time, it came time for Connie to leave Houston. Fearing for the health of her stepfather and his worsening condition, she brought him to the hospital specifically stating that he had gangrene and needed medical care. After forty-eight hours, the hospital discharged him. Unable to walk and with the very little money he had, he took a cab back to the apartment, but he did not have a key, so he spent the next two days sleeping at the Laundromat next door. Upon her return, Connie discovered her stepfather's worsening condition, and sent him back on a Greyhound to New Orleans, where she knew he would receive better care. The next morning, he went to a hospital in New Orleans, where the doctors reluctantly informed him that he had gangrene, and the infection had spread so far up his leg and into the bone that they had to amputate. They also noted that had he not come in and received care, the infection would have killed him within a month. At this time, he may be pursing a medical malpractice case for the neglect of the Houston doctors and nurses, who never once informed him of such a possibility.