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One Patients Story

Take, for example, the case of an Ohio knee-surgery patient as reported in the Forbes Magazine cover story "Bad Medicine" (3/10/08):

  • "Robert Besse's painful odyssey began when he checked himself into Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati a year ago to get his right knee replaced. The 60-year-old retired pharmacist had worn down the joint skiing and hiking and working on his feet for years. After the surgery Besse recovered for four days in a room he shared with another gentleman who'd had stomach surgery. His roommate's four youngsters would visit for hours, creating a racket, while up to 20 hospital staff a day would come in the room to examine him, bring food or change a light bulb. A student nurse would wake Besse up to ask if he needed a new pillow. The physical therapist would peel back a bit too far the blue brace on his knee and expose the bloody gauze."
  • "Ten days after leaving the hospital his knee was still oozing lots of fluid. "The pain was off the scale, " he says. One of his surgeons took a look and immediately had him admitted to a different hospital, where he declined rapidly. Twice during the first night he was given last rites. But he survived until the morning when the surgeon opened up his knee again and found a raging staph infection that took two rounds of surgery to clean up. "I wanted out of there. I couldn't stand it," he says. He spent the next several months on infused antibiotics and pain medication. He was barely able to celebrate his sixtieth birthday with his family in Breckenridge, Colorado. He already has a strategy to celebrate future birthdays: "My plan is stay the hell out of the hospital, period," he says."
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