The Dreaded 911 Call to Take My Father to Memorial Hermann in Humble

John Burke now fighting for his life after visiting me at Kingwood Hospital

I made the 911 call at 7.56 AM on Saturday, August 27, 2021

My parents had spent the 6 hrs plus with me in the foyer waiting room when I was trying to get booked into ER at Kingwood Hospital on Tuesday, 9th August at the urgent recommendation by my GP.

With little sleep, they then visited me at Kingwood Hospital on the following 2 days. While they were there, the place was that cold they were frozen and were in my room for several hours. The room temperature was so low even I had complained of feeling very cold and when my mother increased the room temperature, it would reset back to the freezing level it was clearly set at.

Obviously, at that early timeline, it wasn’t noticeable the life-threatening illness which would follow.  By the time I self-checked out at 7am on Saturday, 13th August, 2022 and went home, I could see that they were both struggling with flu-like symptoms which would start to show more signs over the next week.

On Wednesday evening, August 17, 2022,  I called 911 for the first time for both of them to check vitals. They were both abnormal, but we were reluctant to have my father go to hospital as we were convinced he would not come back out alive.

That is the sad state of affairs I had to mull over with a heavy heart based on our horrific experiences at the hands of Kingwood Hospital.

So I endeavored, along with my sick 83-year old mother, to look after my ailing 85 year old father.

Over the course of the remainder of that week and into the next my father was noticeably now unable to stand and walk using the walker and wheelchair as he had prior to this sudden illness. He was now chairbound, but still communicating verbally. He was, however, lacking appetite and starting to show signs of temperatures and running hot and cold.

I was, with great difficulty, able to change him with the aid of my mother, but he was finding it more and more difficult to perform basic tasks.

On Friday evening, 26 August, I noticed a markedly rapid decline in my father and by the Saturday morning I made the gut-wrenching decision along with my mother that he had to go to Humble Hospital, but not Kingwood Hospital under any circumstances.

The fire arrived first, and then shortly thereafter the ambulance, and I specifically asked for him to be taken to Memorial in Humble. The paramedics said they would check.

The paramedic said they (Memorial Humble) were busy and redirecting new patients to Kingwood Hospital, and that if he went to Humble, there would be a considerable wait.

I told him that we would only go to Humble.

Once we arrived at Humble Memorial, we parked in the main car park and had to walk the halls to the other side where ER was located.

When we arrived I was shocked to see the ER was practically empty and they were working on my father in the ER already. This was contrary to the statements made by the ambulance service staff at my home.

Dr Martinez at ER was Compassionate and Provided Detailed Updates

After a short wait in the ER, we were taken back to a waiting room where Dr Martinez, a young and smart doctor came and sat down and spent a great deal of time explaining the issues with my father and that he was not well but they were working hard to make him stable with two IV’s, Oxygen and medications, and performing blood work and tests to aid his recovery. His kidneys were also a concern.

After another hour or so passed, my mother was getting cold again so I asked the nurses for blankets and she brought two warm blankets. Then a short time later my mum was still cold I said that the ER to outside was just down at the bottom of the corridor and she could go outside and warm up while I stay in case the Doctor comes.

I watched her from the door but she was advised she could not go out and get back in so she returned to the room and I went down to the same ER hub section to see if I could locate where my father was and what was the latest update.

I pointed to the board with one of the nurses where my father was listed (room 4) and just as i did that and turned around, I could see a room directly opposite, beside the corridor, where my father was sitting upright with a mask on his face and I said “Is that room 4?” to which the nurse said yes, but then one of the nurses behind the desk said that you cannot see him right now. I waved as I wanted a reaction and I think he saw me.

I was ushered back to the waiting room and was told I would get an update shortly. I told mum I had seen him and that he was sitting upright and seems much better and more awake.

After a short while my mother was thirsty and I asked directions to the vending machine or room where I could get a drink. They said there wasn’t  any but one of the nurses came in with two bottles of coke shortly thereafter as Dr Martinez arrived at the same time (one of the other nurses had said she was calling him).

For the second time he sat patiently and explained the medical conditions and we were very surprised to learn that the doctor said my father tested positive for covid. He was housebound and none of us had covid since it started. My mother was not happy with this diagnosis but the doctor said as my father had apparent signs of advanced pneumonia and sepsis and other issues happening, they were treating it all the same and that any separate recommendation for covid treatments would be discussed, if necessary, at that time.

I advised the doctor I saw my father was wearing the ‘hannibal lector’ mask for air, which the doctor had advised was the next air solution to help with his breathing, but not require a ventilator.

He said yes, it was necessary to put that mask on, to try and keep up with my father’s own breathing rate. He admitted it was a risk, due to the potential this type of mask has where the patient may have to vomit, resulting in choking, but they keep a close eye on that while he is wearing the mask.

Dr Martinez advised it was the best air solution to ensure my father could hopefully stay off the ventilator.

We stood outside the glass door at room 4 of the ER looking at my Father

After the doctor provided a second update, he said that my father would be transferred later on to ICU and we would be notified. I said I was concerned that was too quick as he has so many medical emergencies. Dr Martinez assured me he would only be moved after careful assessment and that ICU was just as capable as ER to deal with his medical conditions.

He said we could see my Dad, but only from the outside of the room due to covid etc. I thanked him and his staff for the care and attention and we then went to his room with a nurse.

We stood outside and my father looked in good spirits and gave the thumbs up a few times in response to our communications and the nurse came to the door to say he says he loves you too…

We left as advised but were very positive after that short interaction that he would make a full recovery, as he was sitting up, aware of his surroundings and that we were standing in front of him, and lucid enough to be able to communicate with us openly and positively.

The ICU Doctor Sounds the Alarm and Tells Me She Recommends a Ventilator is Necessary to Prevent a Code Blue

After an initial call with Dr McGowish from Memorial Hermann after my father was moved to ICU, she called a very short time later (4.57 PM) to say that we had to decide if my father could go on the breathing machine (ventilator) as he was deteriorating quickly. I authorized that decision.

She advised we could come to ICU and visit with my father, which we did, and took the opportunity to talk to Autumn, Dr McGowish’s assistant and the Doctor appeared later.

The nurse, Sulema Flores was also helpful and I had a couple of conversations with her as well.

We left after this visit to allow the staff to continue monitoring and attending to my father.

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