When we came in the next morning we were informed that the patient was being discharged. The family had not been taught ANYTHING. No positioning, no transfers, no catheter changes, no infection precautions. NOTHING. So we began to work with the students on educating the family and getting the family involved in transfers and planned to teach the family to transfer Jean to a wheelchair (even though they did not have the money to purchase one) and some other basic spinal cord injury education. We started to discuss it and they were talking about how surgeons get tunnel visioned on their one issue and will sometimes discharge patients not understanding everything. I voiced what he had said to me and then the ball started to roll….
The nurses called the doctor and he confirmed that he did feel he needed to be transferred to the neuro unit but that the doctor on call would have to make that decision. When the doctor arrived he “conferenced” with one of our PT students and a nursing student that had been fantastic in caring for the patient as well (the photo above). They advocated for the patient and the doctor AGREED that the patient should stay on the neuro unit. They also talked to the director and he interviewed the family to determine if they needed a wheelchair without paying. The option also came up for him to go to an inpatient rehab center, which is still in progress as to if that will happen.
I was amazed and started to tear up thinking how these students are changing this country starting with that man. They are doing it respectfully and dignified. They are doing it by working TOGETHER as a healthcare TEAM. They are doing it because they care about their patients. It is a long road ahead, but THEY ARE DOING IT!!! I was so proud to be part of FSRL/FSIL today. That man would have likely laid in a bed at his home, never moving, and had no quality of life if these students (PT/OT/nursing) were not there. He would have likely died in the next 3-6 months due to wound infection, pressure sores, pneumonia, or some other related illness secondary to his apparent spinal cord injury…. But now he will have some time and physical/occupational therapy to live a better quality and more dignified life. This profession of physical therapy that I get to call a job will always give me pride because I get to watch peoples lives change. Because I beleive that quality of life is as important to a person as actual life.
Today was refreshing and I am so excited to see rehab professions become a more common part of the healthcare team as it demonstrates progress in Haiti from pure survival to giving quality of life to the patient and family through respect, dignity, and improving independence.