Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bad Technician, Mad Mommy, Sad Story

Yesterday was Sam’s one year check up at the pediatrician and with that came the dreaded vaccinations. I remember the first time he had to get shots I started crying as soon as I saw the needles. I had to go in the corner and calm down while my husband held him. I got much better after that, and the last time he needed a shot he didn’t even notice it and didn’t cry at all. That is, until yesterday.

I didn’t like this tech from the moment she walked in, so maybe my account of the events is a little skewed because she just rubbed me the wrong way, and we had to wait for her to arrive for a very long time as Sam grew more and more restless. What bothered me first is that she began the procedure before I was able to get up next to Sam at the table. I was late getting there because she was standing in my way. And as I stood behind her trying to find a way around and mumbling excuse me, she gave him the first shot (there would be 2 more, unfortunately). It was clear from his wail that he did, in fact, notice this one. This time I was much louder as I pushed past her saying I needed to get up to the table. He was already very upset.

I just happened to look down at what she was doing just as she began the second shot. Now, I’ve never actually watched the injection happen, but I’m pretty sure what I saw was not normal. (If you don’t like needles you may want to stop here.) It looked to me like she was having trouble getting the needle to penetrate his skin at first, and then all of a sudden it went through and the whole needle was thrust into his leg. And by the whole needle, I mean the entire thing. All that was visible outside his leg was the syringe, and he SCREAMED, and my husband and I both GASPED. But that is not all. At this point she let go of the needle to hold Sam’s hand down and ask my husband to take over that duty (this, in my opinion, should have been taken care of before the injections began – each person should have been assigned legs and arms...and mom should have been up at the table – that is what everyone in the past has done), so I was left watching a wobbling syringe stick out of my son’s leg as he sobbed. I asked her if the shot was supposed to go in that far and she said yes, but I can tell you that the 3rd needle was not put in that far. I really felt like I was going to lose it at this point so I think I just had to believe her in order to keep it together.
That was yesterday.

Last night I did not believe her as I tried to get to sleep. This morning I do not believe her. As I write this I do not believe her. As I have pictured this horrific sight over and over again, feeling nauseous all over, tearing up all over, I absolutely, with perfect clarity do not believe her. And it’s not that I think something really bad happened. I mean, this situation was really bad, but I am not worried that there are going to be serious ramifications to his health. It is that the way she handled the whole thing was not ideal. Vaccinations are painful for babies anyway, when done perfectly. I believe that she made an already difficult situation much worse than it needed to be. She did not prepare Hubby, me, and her assistant for our roles, resulting in awkward pauses where she had to ask one of us to take an arm or leg more than once, which I think made her a bit flustered. More importantly, she shoved a needle into my son. Then she told me she meant to do it that way. I think she knew she couldn’t tell me that it was an accident, and she was probably right. But now I am left to fume after the fact.

I’m not sure what, if anything, I should do about this. I could call the doctor under the guise of asking her if a vaccination is really meant to go in so deep, in the hopes that she asks me what happened and then I can describe the events (the passive aggressive approach). Or I can call her with the specific intention of tattling on her tech (aggressive). Or I could write a letter describing the events and send it to...someone...someone important (responsibly aggressive?). Or I can call and try to speak to the technician herself and explain what I think she could have done differently (direct and very conflict resolutiony – I could say things like, “When you stabbed my baby with a needle, it made me feel rage”). Or I could do nothing (potentially cowardly, potentially right).

I could try to accept her answer and believe that this is just how these vaccinations are. I could realize that no matter what it looks like I will probably find fault because no matter how you slice it it’s something that is traumatic for my baby. I could accept that no one is perfect and maybe she did just make a mistake. I could.

9 Comments:

Blogger ABC Momma said...

When my kids get shots the nurse has me restrain them with a hug-like embrace before she begins, and it goes so fast.

I would call the office manager and ask her to re-train this tech.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

Oh my god! You're poor little guy! Shots aren't supposed to be like that! I would defenatly call and tell them what happened. She needs to be retrained and she owes you, your hubby and your little guy an appology as far as I'm concerned.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Mama D said...

I definately think you should call and talk to someone. The doctor, the office manager, whoever. I don't think that you'd be acting aggressively or that you'd be tattling. The situation made you uncomfortable and you have a right to explain what happened. By the way this tech acted it did not sound as though she'd simply made a mistake. It sounded as though she'd made a mistake and didn't really care. That makes me think she's torturing young children with her carelessness day after day until someone stops her and shows her how to do things properly. The problem wasn't only with the way she administered the needle but also with how she dealt with you, your husband and your son. I'm backing you up here and saying call the doctor. You have very good reasons to do so.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

Oh I hate shots. And it sounds like that nurse did something weird. I love how my office does it. They have us hold him and then two nurses do all shots at once. They count to three and each give two shots at a time (if he needs that many at a time - you know how they do vac's) so all the needles go in at the same time and it's done all in one big poke. I would have been mad too at your stupid nurse!

4:28 PM  
Blogger The Constant Gardener said...

You have every right to be upset and I agree with everything mama d said about handling it. You should say something. And make sure you request a different person next time.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Mama Darlin' said...

Say something! THis whole story screams that things did not go like they should have.

5:24 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Well, here's the current update, and I had hoped to have more to report by now but this is all I've got. As soon as ABC Momma suggested speaking to the office manager I knew that was what I wanted to do. I hadn't realized there would be a person there that actually dealt with training these techs because I assumed they had that training in school. But of course it makes sense that someone has to be in charge of the quality of care provided by this group, and I knew it wasn't the doctor so speaking to her wouldn't really be very helpful. So anyway, I have put a call in to this office manager and left a voicemail. Am still waiting to here back...

On the bright side, since we are moving next week we don't ever have to go back and potentially see this woman, or the woman who is about to receive twice daily voicemails if she doesn't get back to me soon.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous katie said...

Poor you and poor little man! i hope you get an apology, and I am glad you don't have to go back there!

11:03 PM  
Blogger Cmommy said...

Beth, hugs! I still cry at the vaccinations! J just had his Kindergarten shots and I needed a tissue :-)

To calm your fears a bit---I do an intramuscular shot each week for MS. The needle itself is 1 &1/4" long and the entire needle goes into my thigh, right up to the plastic syringe. It is mind-boggling and looks like an optical illusion! I am still stunned that it misses my thigh bone. ???!!! So, that particular vaccine may have needed to be that deep, HOWEVER--she should NOT have left the syringe unattended! I know that, from experience.

Let us know what happens!! Chrissy

12:18 AM  

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