Jerri Allen was a vibrant 72 year-old who was excited about getting her hip replacement behind her and back out on the dance floor with her husband. Jerry had experienced hip pain for years and had seen some pretty nice results in several of her friends who had undergone the same procedure. She was looking forward to being pain free or at least having less pain. She had always been so active and just recently reached the point she could no longer function well. She and her husband were planning a cruise to celebrate her recovery in three months. In no way was she prepared for what happened next.
Jerri's surgery was a success. She was recovering well when on the third day after surgery, just as she was preparing to be transferred into the Rehab unit, she spiked a fever. Tests ruled out pneumonia and a blood infection but she did have a urinary tract infection. Her surgeon told her it was from having the bladder catheter in. She had kept the catheter in an extra day because her son had requested it to spare her the extra pain of getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. A few days and a few antibiotic doses later, her infection had cleared up, or so everyone thought. As she was preparing to leave rehabilitation and return home, she began having more pain in her hip area. Her surgeon reassured her that it was most likely due to her increased activity as she progressed. Her incision looked good and there was no drainage.
Four days after getting home though, that all changed. The incision became very inflamed and started draining a reddish yellow fluid. Her surgeon immediately readmitted her to the hospital and took her to the operating room to open the hip incision. Jerry was diagnosed with a deep surgical site infection. Cultures came back positive for the same organism she had in her urine. Her surgeon said she had probably seeded the hip infection from that urinary tract infection.
The next several months were a nightmare – hospital stays, going back and forth to the operating room to clean out the wound, then finally to remove her new hip. Jerri was sent to a skilled nursing facility to await the point when her wound would be clean enough to have a new hip implanted. She became very depressed and refused to participate in physical therapy. She lost weight and stopped eating. A feeding tube had to be placed.
Three months later, when her surgeon decided to go ahead and replace the hip, Jerri was not the same person she was at her first surgery. Financial problems were added on top of the health problems. Jerri‘s care was not fully covered by Medicare or their supplemental insurance, and Mr. Allen was going into their modest savings to pay medical bills, now in excess of $200,000. The end was not in sight, either. Who knew urinary tract infections could turn into this type of problem?
Wayne Gratz - Pianist, song entitled "Simply
Art Heffron - Art Heffron Photography
Iowa HCC - writers of Jerri's Story
CFMC - producers of Jerri's Story video
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This material was prepared by CFMC, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Colorado, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.
PM-7010-087 CO 2012