Share Your Hospital Horror Stories

About 2 years ago, I was admitted to a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut. I’m a pumper, but they would not let me use it, and put me on MDI. On the first night, the nurse gave me a shot of Regular before dinner without considering how much I’d need to cover the carbs in the meal. Bingo - LOW! When another nurse tried to give me a shot before breakfast the next morning, I asked her how many units she was giving me, and how many carbs were in the meal. She said ‘9,’ and that she had not idea how many carbs and that I shouldn’t worry about it. I politely refused the shot until somebody could tell me how many carbs were in the meal.

Little did I know (until after I was discharged and read a copy of the progress notes) but that she’d put in an entry that I was uncooperative. I asked to check with a dietician for a carb count, and was amazed that the lady had no idea how many carbs were in the meal. She then gave me a “Carb Counting 101” class. What a nightmare. The rest of my stay was much like that. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I guess I have been lucky. The hospital I go to is great, and their emergency room even has a procedure in place for patients who com ein with diabetes, and another one for those of us on insulin pumps. I use the OmniPod, and always get asked a lot of questions as to how it works, etc. The nurses in the diabetic management department are great. I just had open heart surgery, and while I was on shots, the nurses always told me my blood sugar readings, and adjusted my insulin per my Endo’s orders. In fact, they would call before giving me any insulin. Sorry you had a bad experience!

I was being wheeled down the hall toward surgery for some infected lymph nodes in my right groin when one of the orderlies pushing my gurney asked me, “Which finger is it?” Never mind the hypo I’d already been given; I sat straight up!

I was admitted to the hospital the night before my C-Section - so THEY could regulate my blood sugars. After going low (allowed no food or drink)and hitting 55 or so, I asked to take a glucose tablet and was told they’d have to call my endo. 30 minutes later, I’m down to 50, and they’d have to ask my endo… After he told them to leave me alone and let me do my own thing (God bless him!), I thought we were all good!

Next day, (sugars were 60 - 80 all night), RIGHT BEFORE surgery (nonemergency, BTW - the doc just knew she was getting big (9 lb. 6 oz) and wanted to go ahead and schedule the C-Section), I felt flushed and dizzy, so I checked my sugar. It was 256! The nurses had been literally SQUEEZING saline from the IV into my arm to get me “well-hydrated” prior to surgery… or so I thought. About the time I saw the high number, a nurses’ aid walked in, looked at the IV bag and said, “She’s diabetic, isn’t she? Who put this bag of dextrose up here?”

They’d been pumping me full of sugar! When I tried to tell them that they’d have to postpone the Section, they refused. (Mind you, I’d not been given anaesthetic or anything at this point, they simply did not want to reschedule the surgery…) I told them that if my sugar was high, hers would be LOW… “No, honey, they’ll take care of all that in surgery - you just don’t worry yourself over it…”

Yeah. Her sugar was 17 when she was born… and when I complained the doctors had the nerve to say it was my fault. (My sugars were over 200 maybe ONCE throughout the pregnancy) “Well, even though you have done really well controlling your sugars, you can’t have the control of a nondiabetic - It’s the effect of the sugars over the duration of your pregnancy that caused her to go low…”

A WEEK in NICU. Thank God she survived it… I knew from researching the subject, glucose levels in the mother throughout pregnancy affect the size of the baby, but her levels AT THE TIME OF BIRTH affect the baby’s sugar levels at birth. The baby’s pancreas works overtime to try to bring down the glucose in her environment, then suddenly is removed from that influx of sugar and her levels plummet…

As much as I’d love to have another child - (I had a BLISSFUL pregnancy - healthiest I’ve ever been!) - I doubt that I will, and part of the reason is my concerns about the ignorance of the hospital staff toward diabetes and their unwillingness to listen to the person who’s had it for 20 plus years and studied up on it as if – perhaps? – her life depended on it???

My hospital horror story happened 12 hours after I delivered. The nurse said I should have 4u with dinner and I agreed well 10 minutes later she was swabbing my upper arm and I just by luck looked down at the tray and the syringe was huge!!! I said I thought you said 4u she picked up the syringe and we both could see it was 40!!! She immediately left the room, a different nurse came with 4u and called my MD and was able to leave within the next 10 hours , I did and I filled out a report about the incident. I tell everyone I know to pay attention to everything or have someone in the room 24/7. This is a large well respected hospital in my metro area. Robin

What a horror. I hope your child is happy and healthy.

I wonder why it is that although every hospital seems to have a ‘patient advocate’ they could have a CDE or highly trained nurse with extensive and up to date diabetes experience on call who can iron out some of these problems. An MD is too much to hope for, but stories like these highlight the fact that well-meaning non-experts in diabetes do pose risks to patient outcomes.

Notice too, that it was an aid that noticed the problem of you getting dextrose. The least educated person on staff except housekeeping. That is just plain scary!

I’ve been lucky not hospitalized in the last 29 years and good experiences before that.

oh my god. i don’t know what i would’ve done if that happened to me.
Thank goodness your baby is ok. And you too!
I know there are a ton of diseases out there that docs have to know about, but if I have a disease, I want to make sure that everyone who touches me knows “specifically” about MY disease. If I can find docs who do? That’s the challenge. haha


I would’ve strangled her. With the IV. Ripped it out of my arm and wrapped it around her little neck. :slight_smile:
Glad you’re okay.

honestly i’ve never had a too terrible experience, but i’m in a little bit of a different boat than most here with hospitals and the staff. Tho only problem i had was when i had my appendix removed. in the ER they allowed me to give myself low doses to keep stable, but prefered my bs stayed between 150-200 since i was vomiting and they were worried about a sudden drop and me being unable to catch it on pain killers (fine with me)
then post surgery i was told by the surgeon that the staff would handle my post op insulin. (ok, especially immediately after when one is usually insanely groggy) but then around dinner they checked my sugar, 147… great. but then i asked for my shot and was told NO since i was under 150… uhmmmm??? i told the nurses to go find a resident to rewrite the orders that i would control my insulin shots and take my sugars on my own, and retrieved my stuff out of the over night bag.

On another note, never let hospital staff touch your pump. During a surgery you need to disconnect and allow the nurses and physicians to take care of you as well as in post op when you’re groggy and still have anesthesia running through you.
How many different types of pumps are out there? or other necessary medical devices people have? you can not expect nurses to know the ins and outs of every device. it would be nice, but if it’s not something you personally work with every day, not to mention the constant technological advances it is an impossible expectation. Yes they should know what they are, but not how to work them, so never let one try to use it for you.

I wish that I’d had a choice about not letting the hospital touch my pump. One minute I’m unconscious and when I woke up - no pump. Some things that happen in a hospital setting are simply out of your control.

ok that is true, if you are unconscious you really do not have much choice.

  1. I went in for day surgery. When I came out and was in recovery, I tested and was 390… I asked the nurse to hand me my sachel so I could take a correction shot and she said “oh no you don’t - no outside medication allowed”. By the time I got home I was in the low 500’s and instead of relaxing and resting I had to monitor my bg evey half hour to be sure I hadn’t overcorrected. I wrote a letter to the head of the day surgery center, the patient relations department, and the endo dept connected with the hospital. Heard back from no one. I am getting irked just recalling this.

  2. I broke my ankle and had to have surgery and pins put in, with 2 4" long incisions on either side. After I got home the air cast was starting to feel tight so I called the doc’s office. His PA said, “how do the incisions look - we have to be really concerned about infections because you have db”. I told her I had not looked at the incisions because I didn’t think I was supposed to take the leg out of the boot. She said, “all of our db patients are to be sent home with 4 pages of written instructions on how to inspect and care for the incisions, plus a set of new bandages for each day”. Well, somebody slipped up. By then I was crying and said I had no bandages, lived alone and a friend was not coming over until the next day. She said “put a minipad on it”. I said “all I have are tampons”…
    Fortunately my next door neighbor was a paramedic and I called him and he came over and I made him look at it first.