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More shoulders please - injured in hospital

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Going from bad to worse.   Having fallen out of his hospital bed and broken his hip bone, OH has had an op to repair it.   Two screws through top of femur.  Due to the drugs (sedation), I haven't been able to have a close look at him.  I did so on Friday. 

He has broken two of his natural lower jaw front teeth.   They have sheared off at the gum line, and look painful, and messy - but no longer bleeding.   Because of this gap in his teeth, he dribbles a bit, is unable to drink properly, and his speech is not as clear as normal.

He has been strapped into his bed, or strapped into a chair.  He has received little physiotherapy, despite the op on Monday - he has been confined - to lying in bed, or sitting; he has not been allowed to walk, aided, to the toilet.   It has been recommended that he go into a nursing home for 6 weeks 'rehab' - in a b---y nursing home - rather than having proper physio in rehab.........  I couldn't find the surgeon to ask him about the op, or to see his x-rays - nothing, just usual bland reassurance from nursing staff that '..the op went very well'.   But the hospital were quick to send a social worker wanting all our financial details to ensure we could pay for his nursing care; forget the medical side - get the money details....... scream, scream, scream...............

That's one problem I'm facing - he needs rehab - not nursing.   He's been fit, healthy and active and has no medical problems.   But I need to ensure he receives some kind of dental treatment for the two teeth that he has lost, when he fell , in hospital, from his hospital bed.   Can I ask that he has an x-ray on his jaw - he has his moth open most of the time - which is not normal for him, and he has talked about it hurting to eat.   What are my rights in insisting that his jaw is x-rayed ? 

This is a very important point - What rights do I have in asking for further tests ?   Do I have any - or is it a case of 'the doctor knows best' - when I know from previous personal experience that they do not. 

I have checked the consultants at the Villeneuve hospital - there are no dental departments.   How can I ensure that his gum injury is treated before he is discharged from hospital.

He needs dental care - how can I ensure he receives it.  Any advice please ?  I am very concerned about his treatment; he was being given a drug for an illness he does not have, has never been tested for, and has never been diagnosed.  One seizure, after a concussion, has become - after an emergency trip in the ambulance to '....he's epileptic, let's give him drugs for epilepsy......'   That's malpractice - and I am not letting this go.

But dental advice first please - anyone have any ideas how I can arrange this ?

Thank you for the big shoulders - Chessie




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No patient in the UK would ever be strapped into a bed or chair it is considered restraint and not allowed,if they had a fall or were considered a high falls risk the would be in an area with a member of staff permanently present,even 1-1 

Was he started on the epilepsy medication following this fall or a previous incident?

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Riggers;  the 'diagnosis' of epilepsy, made by a non medical person, was made after his concussion and seizure last summer - one seizure following severe concussion is not unusual.  He was Never, Ever, tested or diagnosed as epileptic - no test, nothing.  When he was discharged from hospital last summer, after 18 hours more or less shoved out the door on a Saturday afternoon, I was handed a prescription form for various medicines one of which I recognised as a drug to control epilepsy.  I did not fill this prescription, because I knew it was a mistake - because he'd never been diagnosed .  Sadly, it has been entered on his medical records.   When he was admitted this time, he WAS given the drug to control his 'epilepsy' - and he would have been on the drug from the day of his admission, Tuesday 26 April, his op took place on Monday 2 May.   It was only after I was able to speak to the Ward Doctor on Thursday 5 May was I able to check what drugs he was being given.  I was horrified to see that he was on medication for a non-diagnosed condition.  I had to insist, very bluntly, that it was a mistake, that he should never be on such a drug and that they were to stop giving him this drug.   I had to stand my ground, be extremely insistent - but the epileptic drug has now been stopped.  I checked on Friday that he was being given only sedation and pain-killers.   It does mean, however, that he would have been given this epilepsy controlling drug, wrongly, for a period of 10 days, for 6 days before his op, and the 4 following days. I have tried to discover whether there are any adverse effects on normal people being this drug by mistake but haven't yet found out much information about this possibility.

I even had to correct the anaesthetist when she called on the Monday morning of his operation;  I don't think she believed me about this wrong diagnosis because she then asked me if he had stopped driving; as he'd never been diagnosed with it of course he hadn't - no need for him to stop driving.

The hospital are now insisting that this previously very fit, ex-sportsman, with absolutely no medical condition - now needs nursing home care - rather than what I want for him which is a physical rehabilitation and physiotherapy.  They want to shove him in a nursing home with doddery old people with pre-existing severe medical problems - and that is so, so wrong.   This assessment for him to move into nursing home was made in the first day or two after his op - I don't believe there has been any further serious look at his condition.  I look at him and I can see him 'coming back to life'.   But he is unable to speak clearly due to the damage to his teeth, which also makes me wonder whether he has fractured his jaw.  He complained about it being painful to eat when he was biting down on an item of food.  I want them to repeat the MRI and CAT scans, also detailed x-rays of his jaw - because I'm concerned they have overlooked damage to his jaw. 

He HAS been strapped into his bed - they have even put a 'nappy' on him so he can't ask to go to the toilet;  he has been strapped into a chair - and left on his own - I saw that with my own eyes - such a sad sight - dreadful.   On this ward it seems they do not want him out of bed; he is strapped in using a harness with metal prongs for adjustment and a similar harness when he is sat in a chair.   I think I'm going to take some photos when I visit him tomorrow.

It's a messy situation; I also feel pressured into agreeing to his move into nursing home because I don't know what rights I or he has about this; and whether I can insist on him being considered for rehab.

One other point we all need to bear in mind.  For some very odd reason a rehab and physio centre is covered by CPAM; but - and this I find weird; - on medical grounds, medical ie requiring nursing care, any stay in a nursing home is NOT covered by CPAM; how much you are reimbursed depends on your own insurance - otherwise it will cost 2,000 euros per month - and they want to shove him in a home for medically needy people and charge 3,000 euros for 6 weeks  Wouldn't you have thought that the medcal/nursing part would be covered by CPAM and the physio/rehab by your insurance.   Seems ****-eyed to me. But what do I know ?

I have a meeting, I hope it will be on Wednesday, with the money finding, box ticking, 'social worker'.  I have asked to have an interpreter with me because I need to understand very clearly what has and has not been done, and for them to understand I am unhappy about the nursing home and would like to insist on the rehab/physio centre.  

But there are some serious questions to be asked - and snwered - here I think, and need to be sure of my legal rights.

Sorry this was such a missive - but it's a complicated situation. The more other members understand about what's happened the more information I'm likely to receive.

But very many thanks for reading, and offering advice.  Doing battle tomorrow morning on his behalf - again !!



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Okay, I was a little uncertain when the epilepsy diagnosis was made,now I know the back story I am inclined to agree that he should not have been started on the medication at that time and wonder if being restarted on the medication contributed to him falling in hospital 

I never doubted that he had been strapped into bed but find it pretty shocking,and using an incontinence pad rather than at least allowing a pee in a bottle is not good 

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If you haven't already done so, I still think that you should urgently talk to your/his médecin traitant.

He is the only person the hospital is likely to heed who knows your husband's medical history and what treatment and medication he should or should not be given.

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Chessie, was the epilepsy medication Lyrica/Pregabalin?  It is also prescribed to control nerve pain, so should not have any *unexpected* side effects for someone without the condition.  But (big but) Lyrica needs to be started on a very low dose, as one of its well known side effects is dizziness or vertigo! Not in the medical field myself, but I DO take Lyrica.

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Betise - no, it was neither of those two drugs; will need to do some digging through papers to find the exact name - but it definitely referred to 'epilepsy' - as did the prescription.   Saw him this morning; he was improving yesterday and today he is far, far brighter mentally, and talking.  He is STILL harnessed to his chair, still not allowed to stand, to walk, to move - and is still in a nappy.  He is aware and bright enough to feel disgusted and ashamed by this - he kept saying he 'hated the nappy' and kept askintg why couldn't he use the loo, and when could he go home because he was fed up !!   He knows that 'wearing a nappy' is not right.......and I feel his self-respect and his dignity has been removed.  As for using a 'pee' bottle - there isn't one in the bathroom; and the emergency button is on the wakll, across the room, and 12 feet away from him.  There is no emergency button for the patient, none.

I've taken photos of the harness on the bed, and of him strapped into the harness on the chair.   He had his operation a week ago - and has received NO physiotherapy - nothing, absolutely nothing.   Shameful treatment.   And I was told this morning that he WILL be moved to the nursing home on Thursday, even though the box ticking money grabbing lot haven't even confirmed that we have the funds to pay.

I hate this system; it's been impossible to talk to a doctor in charge of the ward who knows their patient - they are never around, never there - or in hiding.   I have also discovered that the hospital will NOT do as I requested and run another MRI, CAT scan on his jaw - 'can't be done, has to be by appointment, they will arrange it at the nursing home' - oh yeah - like I believe that. Nothing but a load of b---s--- to keep me quiet.

What if we can't afford  this? (Well, we can, no probs, but the money tick boxers don't know that).

And if I want to - can I refuse to have him moved to a nursing home and instead insist that he is returned home, so I can look after him here, with help.  I'd prefer that - I don't trust any of them, anywhere, in any place, with any title.... they seem like little robots, plug in and play, tick the boxes, look at the list, tick the box, look at the list etc etc.   And yes, I am very, very cynical of all this.

It's the system, the assumption that what these little gods decide is the 'word'; I don't know when he was assessed by the doctor; if he was ever assessed by any b---y doctor - and I can never find out the information I want because the person who can tell is 'never there' - like the grinning cheshire cat they disappear when you want to ask the awkward questions.

I really feel like refusing to allow him to be moved to the nursing home.  I have a meeting tomorrow with the money box ticker - what if I refused - absolutely refused - to allow his move to the Nursing Home.   Would they listen?  Can I insist that he is moved to rehab  - or discharged to return home?

As for a doctor; we don't have one at the moment.  Our last GP died a few months ago; none of the doctors within a reasonable driving distance are accepting new patients. so - what now ?

And after our doctor died last year - how the heck whould a new doctor really 'know' about my husband; he'd see the medical record from the hospital referring to 'epilepsy' - and without having met my husband, and listened to my complaints, a doctor would know no more about us than the hospital.  My husband hadn't seen our last GP for 3 years; I hadn't seen our last GP for 5 years - no need, nothing wrong, no medical problems, nothing to bother a GP about.


It is not all rose tinted specs with the french health service; fine if you fall into their little tick boxes - but question anything - you will find yourself up against a brick wall.   As my daughter said on the phone last night - 'they don't want to talk to you Mum, they don't want to say anything because they know he fell in their hospital - so they're scared tio say a word'......  Maybe she's right - but their attitude just adds to my worry, distress and concern over what happened to my husband, and what they plan to do to him without any input or agreement from me - his wife, and his legal rep.

Does anyone here actually know what my rights really are ?

I'm sorry this is so long - again - but gives you all something to read and think about, I hope.

But I would REALLY, really, welcome any definite, legal advice concerning MY rights as his legal rep - and what I can insist upon for his continuing treatment.





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Posted (edited)

So so sorry to read this chessie.    Utterly awful treatment.   I'm also sorry not to be able to contribute anything useful,   other than on line sympathy,   but which you have form me in spadefuls.

Edited by Martin963
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This is just so awful Chessie.  I am so sorry you both are going through this.  I did a quick search and you can contact an avocat en Droit de la Santé.  You can search by region of France on this site (I just found the site and do not know it personally):


I pulled up the info. on one of the avocats nearest to me.  He is in Avignon.  His training and expertise is noted and he also gives online consultations (his fee for that is 75€).

Perhaps you can find one in your area.

I think you need legal advice to learn your rights.  Also, I imagine that if your husband tells the hospital that he doesn't want to go to a Nursing Home, certainly they can't FORCE him to.

I'm sure there are other sites guiding people in your circumstances too.  I'll have another look see online.  I don't know what department you are in.  It might help to know in order to try to find local assistance for you.


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Chessie, there is information on your right to complain in the link below ...

https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/systeme-de-sante-et-medico-social/parcours-de-sante-vos-droits/modeles-et-documents/guide-usagers-votre-sante-vos-droits/article/fiche-25-les-voies-de-recours-en-cas-de-dommages-lies-aux-soins#:~:text=liés aux soins-,Fiche 25 %3A les voies de recours en cas de dommages liés aux soins,-Établissements de santé

As for the nappy, and being strapped to the bed/chair, my mother in law here in France suffered exactly the same treatment. Despite our complaints, we were told that she was a danger to herself (as she had suffered a stroke, and was unsteady on her feet) and that they didn't have enough staff to be running around helping people to the toilet all the time!


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This site offers several different agencies who are supposed to aid in medical problems.  These are avenues that 'can' be contacted prior to taking the attorney route.  It sounds like the injuries your husband suffered from the fall in the hospital should be discussed with someone; an attorney or a representative from one of these other agencies.  As the fact that the hospital has now forced him to be unable to visit the toilet, call for help if needed (buzzer too far away), fastened him to his bed forcibly, plan to send him to a nursing home against patient wishes - all this should be discussed with an appropriate professional.  Some of these places have online chat options, some say they reply within 24 hours to inquiries.


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The link Betise posted is a good start.  If you do not have the time to gather all the pertinent hospital staff, departmental agency data as you are busy trying to care for your husband, we can try to help you.

Contacting the director of the hospital should be done.  I know you said you've tried to speak with people, but it appears you are being ignored.  So, writing an urgent letter to the Director of the hospital seems the next step.  Can you tell us what hospital he is in?  I could try to track down some data on who runs / mediates at the hospital.

Also, I know you have give brief racaps here on the forum, but you should try to write down as much as you can remember of this entire ordeal (from minute 1).  We tend to forget things as time passes by and fatigue takes over.  Write down notes each day of what has transpired.  You will almost certainly need this information.


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Oh - oh - I just love you all - thank you so much.

We're down in Dept 47, not far from Villeneuve sur Lot.   I do struggle with spoken french, written french I can follow - but we're now going into the territory of medical and legal terminology.  Is it 'too English' to assume/hope that any avocat would speak English ?   And writing to the director of hospital sounds good - but with meeting the money box person on Wednesday and discharge of OH on Thursday I doubt whether he would - or could - do anything.  But he will certainly hear from me shortly after all this is sorted.   Writing to the Director is excellent idea - hadn't thought of kicking behind's that far up the chain !!  MIGHT ENJOY THAT !!

I e-mailed the money box ticker this morning; she'd suggested meeting tomorrow which was impossible for me - car 'n CT - so I suggested Wednesday, with an english interpreter to help me.   I have heard nothing from her - not a bean. Maybe she is not at work today - but if I've not heard from her by lunchtime then it means they are ignoring me, my wishes, my request for an interpretor and my rquest for full information about physiotherapy and social facilities at N H.  

And from the comments from Betise it seems that 'nappy and tie-down' is not uncommon treatment here in France - w - h - a - t ?  Does this happen in the UK ?  Trouble is OH was dizzy on his feet after op - but being given unnecessary drug wouldn't help, he didn't have a stroke, and if he's unsteady on his feet it is because THEY HAVE MADE him so - because they did not provide physio.   It's the old Catch 22 - yes ?  Oh - I don't wanna get old - Beatles song there somewhere.......... !!

You have all been wonderful, so amazingly helpful - and again friends to the rescue - love this forum.

As for 'keeping notes and records' - another excellent idea - thank you Lori.   I'm going to clear my head this evening, and ensure I have got everything written down - including my written requests to medical staff translated from english to french - got 'em all.

Thank you all so much for help, support and kind words........

I'll be back.


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Several of the links to search for attorneys working in the santé field state what languages they speak.  Several had English noted.  I'll look again.  You might want to call your local Dentist to ask his advice on getting your husband the dental care he needs.  Be sure to mention that the hospital is NOT helping him with this problem.

The department number helps.  Hospital name would be helpful too.  You could PM it if you're willing.

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A poster on another forum and ex on this one, Gigi, has had recent experience of her husband being seriously ill in France, including mistaken diagnosis and medication. I have asked her to come over if she is around and see if she can be of help.

Hope it is useful.

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