I was almost readmitted for something avoidable

My new gig is a great fit, because I am a bit obsessed with healthcare improvement.

I work with a team of dedicated innovators at Cortex. I am a senior majoring in Public Health at Brigham Young University, and I started interning with Cortex two months ago. My involvement in the company has been slow because six weeks ago I got a new ACL and had my lateral meniscus re-sewn into my knee joint. Funny enough, this led to an experience that was right up Cortex’s ally.

I got home from hours of surgery and I was coming out of anesthesia. I was starting oxycodone and could hardly hop around on my crutches or hold a conversation. Later that evening, I received a phone call from the clinic, asking how I was doing. That was about it. Naturally I said I was fine, though I was feeling some pain. They told me that was normal and to keep resting.

Though this was an important time for my body, it was difficult for me to make sure I was taken care of.

About a week later a pain had developed in my calf, and I was constantly battling intense chills. After a couple days, I called my family practice doctor, who was worried and made some test recommendations. The next day, while on the phone with my orthopedic surgeon’s office,  they asked if I had certain symptoms and if I was taking my daily Aspirin.

I wasn’t. I had thought I only needed to take Aspirin the first few days.

Turns out I was supposed to take it for weeks to avoid a blood clot while my knee was in the first stages of healing. This was in an information packet I had received from my doctor before surgery, but I had forgotten.

Last time I got surgery my mom was there to take care of me, and nothing escaped her notice, but it all proved a bit much for my husband and I.

I went to the clinic, got an ultrasound and found out I had a blood clot. Luckily, it was in the superficial veins of my calf, so some increased Aspirin doses would clear it up. Even though it wasn’t extremely serious, I still had to go back to the clinic and get additional care (the ultrasound). Plus, the blood clot could have been worse.

What if I wasn’t so young or healthy, and this clot was in my deep veins?

What if instead of the call I got, a nurse called multiple times and asked me more specific questions (about my medication, pain level, exercises, other symptoms or discomforts, etc.)

I am passionate about working with Cortex because I believe there is room for improvement when it comes to healthcare.

Innovative healthcare ideas include care outside of the doctor’s office or surgery room.  I would have benefited from a nurse’s systematic checklist of questions; as you or your family might in your medical situations. Cortex is leading healthcare facilities in post-admission care and is making a difference!

- Sydney Gibbons