Patient Story

Your Name: Pat Sullivan

Patient's Name/Relationship: Larry Sullivan/husband

City/State: Tignall, GA

When did event occur (what year)? 2017 and 2018

Where did event occur? Acute Care General Hospital

What type of medical harm did you experience or witness? Combination of Above or "Other". Please explain.

Please describe what happened. Sept. 2017, Larry had CHF and was retaining fluid. He was admitted to Piedmont Athens Regional Hosp. (Athens, GA) where his cardiac doctors had offices. Cardiac and nephrology teams argued for eight days on his treatment plan. Apparently what is good for heart is bad for kidneys, and vice versa. Larry's kidneys were passable but were not great, however, no talk of dialysis. Piedmont didn't have hosp socks to fit his swollen feet so he wore his own shoes. In a couple days he wore a sore on top his rt. foot. Only a simple bandaid was applied. He was told after three days in hosp, the rule was a patient must get a shower. The second shower on sixth day was in a dirty shower -- it had never been cleaned. Wet towels were still on the floor. I mistakenly thought because he was the only one to use the shower, it was safe. Not true. Serratia bacteria was growing there. He developed sepsis through cellulitis on the right leg. He spent another 13 days in hospital, four of that in ICU. His kidneys were further damaged because of high powered antibiotics to save his life. He came home and kidneys were passable for four months, until he made the fatal mistake of going back into Piedmont's emergency room for extreme back pain. He thought they would be best because they had his history. The drs gave him opioids and morphine, which his kidneys could not expel in a timely way and they damaged his kidneys to the point of dialysis. He managed to come home after two weeks, but was finally done in by Piedmont's outpatient care for his leg wound. He had been treated by the outpatient wound people since October 2017 and in April 2018 they infected him through unsterile practices and the cellulitis came back. We then went to Emory hospital in Atlanta. They tried valiantly to save him, but he died there after seven weeks. In the end he begged to die. It was awful. I've sent a picture of his leg and of him to your email address.

What was the outcome of the medical harm issue? Death