On March 23rd, 2009 my husband was helping a buddy with a deck. He was leaning a against a deck post when his hand slipped and he received several VERY deep, BIG splinters that went in his palm and stuck out of the knuckle on his pinky finger. Since Prince William was closest hospital and the wood sticking out of his skin was treated he drove himself there.
Upon arrival at 10:15 am, he waited in line to sign in since they always seem to be short staffed in their ER. After signing in he waited a short while and was called back. My husband was asked if he was up to date on his tetanus shot. He told them it had been over 5 years and was NEVER given one. His hand was examined by their Physician's Assistant who ordered an x-ray. The splinters were not visible on the x-ray.
A nurse then came in with tweezers and proceeded to try to dig out the splinters. She seemed very inexperienced and shaky. He was not given any IV pain killers or antibiotics, only local anesthetic while she was digging in his hand. She was able to pull a tiny piece from the hole in his pinky but that was only the beginning. The Physician Assistant returned to the room and informed my husband he would need surgery to remove the rest of the splinters since they were so deep. He was told that they did not "have time" to operate today and gave him an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor the next day beside the hospital and told him to go there to get it taken care of.
By this time his hand had swollen so badly that it was 2-3 times the size of the other hand. The ER staff still did not see this as any kind of emergency They wrapped his hand and then he was then discharged with prescriptions for oral antibiotics & pain pills. The doctor that they referred him to was just as incompitent as the hospital. He kept asking my husband over and over if he was sure that anything was in his hand because some people think there's somethin there when there's not. He did admit that the hand was badly infected but said that his earliest appointment was 2 days later. He then added that we would need to make some kind of payment arrangements because obviously this procedure could not be done for free. He then ushered us out into the waiting room and told us to sit and someone would be with us shortly. That's when we got up and walked out.
My husband was not doing well when we got in the car so, I drove him straight to Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton where he was promptly seen as soon as we arrived. The firts thing they dis was give him a tetanus shot and then started IV antibiotics and pain medicine. Within 2 hours an orthopaedic doctor arrived, examined my husband and then rushed him into emergency surgery.
My husband did not have splinters in his hand- he actually had sticks. The surgeon put them in a jar for my husband to see when he woke up .The infection was so bad at this point that he was admitted to the hospital and had to stay for 2 days to receive more IV antibiotics. I can not imagine what would have happened to his hand if he had waited until Prince William hospital and their flaky doctors "had time" to do the surgery. At this point we are considering consulting an attorney.