Lisa Baker at

Samaritan Hospital



Week 2

THE DOCTOR STOOD at the bedside in the Intensive Care Unit at Samaritan Hospital, where Lisa lay unconscious and, at least for a while, able to breathe on her own.  The doctor was holding a medical chart.  And he was puzzled.

“Did this happen at home,” he asked me, referring to her collapse into a coma three days before on the hospital’s fourth floor.  “Because there is nothing in here prior to her coming into the ICU.”

Someone, it seemed, had stripped the record.   Someone must have something to hide.

The doctor was Ram Agrawal.  At my request, he had taken over Lisa’s diabetes care from the endocrinologist who had been consulting on the case since Lisa had been admitted the week before.  I had made the change partly because that doctor had apparently been avoiding me, despite a request via the hospital’s ‘patient representative’ for a meeting.

Now Dr. Agrawal was the consultant for her diabetes.  And he needed information, information, which evidently had been removed from her chart.

This was on the evening of Friday, November 14.  Earlier in the day, Lisa had been taken off the respirator and the sedation.  But she was far from normal.

When I arrived at mid morning, she was sitting up in the bed.  But she didn’t speak.  Instead, her eyes were rolled up in her head.  She was making a strange groaning sound while sticking out her tongue, holding her arms out in front of her as if reaching out to hug someone and turning her body from side to side from the waist.  Lisa’s brother had come in while I was there and he was so disturbed by what he saw that he had to quickly leave.

Just before I left home, I had made yet another attempt to get information from the so-called patient representative’s office.  Earlier in the week I had been directed to the office and had spoken to a Carol Febbro.  Febbro had said she would make some calls and call me later that day at home.

But there had been no call that day, or on the Wednesday or the Thursday, even after a message was left with a secretary during another visit to  the office.  Now, on the Friday morning, my phone call was picked up.  But it was not to give me any information.  Febbro’s tone was defensive, curt, almost rude.  She said that without a power of attorney, the hospital would not provide access to any of Lisa’s records or discuss her treatment with me.

Lisa remained semiconscious through Saturday.  According to Dr. Agrawal’s notes, she would respond to simple requests, such as ‘lie down,’ or ‘stay quiet.’  Some of the nurses had recorded similar observations.

Lisa, it seemed, still understood language and presumably was able to comprehend her dire situation and the circumstances that had led to it.

NEXT: Week 3. A squeeze of my hand.  And then back on the respirator