James Hawthorne

As told by Shelley Hawthorne

After 3 months of extensive medical treatment for a devastating illness it is heartbreaking to realize that my husband contracted a serious debilitating illness while in the hospital that is designed to protect and offer treatment for the specific illness he was diagnosed with.

On Nov 17, 2017 my husband Jim entered the hospital for flu like symptoms. On Dec 1 he was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia and was transferred to another hospital on Dec 6 to begin a three week chemo therapy program in an isolated and sterile ward designed specifically for Leukemia patients. Progress was moving along nicely, his numbers were heading in the right direction and Jim and doctors were pleased as was I. Jim even commented that on his worst day he felt he could make it through this and that it wasn’t that bad. Since so many improvements have been made to the chemo medications we were hopeful. We hadn’t been able to celebrate either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I don’t wish anyone the experience of spending Christmas Day in any hospital, we were looking forward to his coming home for the New Year. We were so close to coming home when he came down with CDIF and Jim was rushed into emergency surgery to remove his colon. From there it was downhill. Since chemo was not able to be restarted due to his now compromised situation, my husband of 45 years passed on March 3, 2018. It is beyond belief how this infectious disease and others are taking so many lives and there doesn’t seem to be an answer. How is that possible?

I have filed complaints with Medicare, CDC, the Department of Public Health and Environment as well as the hospital the event took place. I was invited into PSL for a conference with their infectious disease team. I had no illusions as to what the outcome of that meeting was going to be, but, when my husband looked at me one day and said “something happened to me in this hospital, don’t let this go” I promised him I wouldn’t.

In reality I wonder what the purpose is of filing complaints with all the appropriate departments if nothing ever changes. Is it just for statistics? Does Medicare and CDC care? Are there any consequences to a hospital that does not have or perform adequate safety protocols? When an infectious disease team states that they are ranked right in the middle on a national basis, should they really be proud of that? Especially when they are the only hospital in a 4 or 5 state region offering this kind of isolation ward for Leukemia patients.

How can we stand by without standing up?

The Love of his Life, Shelley Hawthorne

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