Called 911 Grandmother Having a Stroke....

Updated on May 11, 2010
A.R. asks from South Weymouth, MA
11 answers

Hi Ladies,

My grandmother is 85 yrs old, she has just in the last year started to slow down a bit, her mind is as sharp as ever. I am extremely close with her, I talk to her up to 20 times a day. She is my rock. I know what she sounds like when she is tired, or not feeling well. So Last monday evening I had put my daughter to bed and called my grandmother to see what she was watching as I always do. I had previousely talked to her at or around 6pm, she sounded fine had just had her dinner. I should mention she lives alone. So I called her and it was 830pm, she picked up the phone and started mumbeling, blah blah the burner blah A. blah the blah tv burner, she could not pronounce anything and was not making sense, I immediately knew she was having a stroke it all just moved so fast I hung up the phone and immediately called 911, I stated please my grandmother is having a stroke she lives at ----- please she is having a stroke hurry please, they stated they were on there way , took her phone number and mine and we hung up, I proceeded to call my grandmother back to get her back on the phone, which she picked up and sounded a tiny bit clearer, she started to come to a little more as I talked to her, I told her not to worry I had called 911 help was on the way, she did not understand why she said she was fine. What I thought to arrive at her house was paremedics was the fire dept. who came almost 10 min after I called 911, and got on the phone to me and said she seemed fine. I thought I was talking to someone who knew all about strokes, and trusted when they said she was fine. I then called my parents my aunt and they all said if the paremedics said she was fine then she is. So I went to bed very worried but happy I was wrong. Only to wake up tues. and call her first thing in the morning to see how she was to again mumbling, and not making sense, at that point rushed over to her house which I live 45 min from and took her to the ER, after arriving and multiple tests we found out she did infact suffer a stroke, she has completely gone down hill from their, she now cannot walk, and has become very confused, and in awful awful pain which they cannot control. ALSO I or another family member tries to be at the hospital almost at all times, we have gone in to find her laying in a bed covered in spilled coffee, from hrs earlier, and no water nothing by her side. Then today my parents got there in the morning to find her on the floor, she had gotten confused and tried to get out of bed. I had told her nurse last night before I left her at 10 pm that I was concerned about her trying to get out of the bed and she told me she was going to put an alarm on the bed, which was never done.
She is at MT Auburn hospital in Cambridge, both my sister and aunt are nurses there, so they keep making excuses, but I am just so concerned with EVER single thing that has happened starting with the 911 call, why did the fire dept go there and not an ambulance, WHY would they not do some simple tests with her to see if she was infact having a stroke, I will always wonder had they gotten her to the hospital and given her the medication within 4 hrs of symptoms would things be different? I feel as though I need to protect her, she cannot speak for herself right now, what can I do to make sure the nurses are doing there job??? I want to be there 24 hrs a day, but my daughter has school activities and I do not live close to the hospital, I am there everyday but always at night, I need to know she is not suffering any more than she has to. Any adavice would be greatly appreciated. I know she is 85, but I love her so much, I am so sick of people saying to me oh she lived a good life ect... when you love someone you love them, when you need someone you need them, no matter what the age. It hurts just as much.....

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answers from Davenport on

I'm so sorry this happened, but you can't play the "what if" game. It will only make you feel worse for something that you could not control. As far as the fire dept being sent first. They are also trained similar to EMT's and usually respond faster. It isn't uncommon for the fire dept to arrive first for heart attack and stroke calls. Secondly, if the stroke was over and she was acting normal when they arrived...there is no test they could have performed unless they took her to the hospital. Third, if she was coherent at the time they arrived and refused to go to the hospital, they could not force her. As far as the hospital situation she is in now...I would ask to speak to the nurse in charge or a supervisor and explain to her your concerns. I hope your grandmother recovers.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

HI A.,

I'm so sorry to hear this and I've been through something very similar with my Dad. I was out of town for a family wedding and left him behind (aged 88 with mild Alzheimer's disease) with someone I trusted. Something went amiss and they called the paramedics and sent him to the hospital alone. When I arrived 4 hours later, he had suffered what we thought was a stroke. He has NO heart or arterial problems. I really believe he was to the point of being scared to death. I won't go on about the lack of care in the ER or the fact that they almost killed him but you can't leave an elderly person alone.

I know that your little one has activities and I know you have a life and I also know that your grandmother probably wouldn't want you to upset your life but if you feel she needs you to be there, I say go. Your daughter will not miss out on anything significant. You can always catch up on school...And you and your grandmother will be better off. I have never left my Dad alone in a hospital. He can't speak for himself anymore and as well meaning as the staff is, everything is standard operating procedure. You are the only one that thinks your grandmother is special.

A., I can tell by the way you are writing that if anything happens to her you are going to take it upon yourself and always wonder if you could do more. Go ahead and do what you can so you won't be at that point EVER. Everyone needs an advocate, whether they are simply elderly or they have a medical problem. My sister and I both have a medical power of attorney for my Dad so we can get all the information we need from the doctors and we can argue FOR him. I know what my Dad wants. The doctors do not.

You have to make this decision. My Dad had been in Hospice Care and the doctors kept telling me (rather arrogantly) that he only had 6 months to live so just make him comfortable. They didn't want me to do anything special for him because that would be too much on me. That was five years ago....

God bless you and you have my prayers.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi A.,
I just want to say that I am sorry to hear about your grandmothers stroke. The concerns that you have regarding the care at the hospital are safety issues and should be brought to the nurse managers attention. Sometimes familys hire private nursing assistants to stay with family members while they are at the hospital. Your grandmother is very lucky to have you for a granddaughter. Hang in there and keep loving her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I am very sorry that your grandmother has suffered a stroke. Keep in mind that this is very recent and she has the potential for at least some recovery. In general (because I don't know the details-there are different kinds and severities of strokes), there is the stroke itself and the swelling around that area. As that swelling subsides, you will see some recovery. After that, recovery continues with treatment, though slower. She should have evaluations from various professionals, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists. After she is discharged from the acute care hospital, should will most likely be transferred to a rehab hospital or unit or skilled nursing unit.
Your grandmother should have a bed alarm and some method to ensure her safety. It is possible that she does not have water at her bedside because she cannot safely swallow thin liquids. It is best if you address your concerns for your grandmothers care with the nurse manager and also talk with your grandmother's case manager about her plan of care. Here is a tip: Carry a notebook and pen every time you visit. Write notes. I'll bet the care will improve just from them seeing you do that. Best wishes to both you and your grandmother. I have seen some amazing recoveries. Keep up hope. Try to get her into a good rehab hospital.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'm very to sorry to hear about your grandmother and the care that she is recieving, that is unacceptable I don't care what state you live in the law is clear!!! An alarm should have been placed on her person and bed, she is to be turned every 2 hours if she can't turn herself(window,ceiling,wall), also make sure they are floating her heels to prevent bedsores on her heels( most ppl think bedsores devolp in nursing homes but they usually happen in the hospitals due to them not having the time to care for them like they would in a nursing home) call light in reach whether she can use it or not and fall mats on the floor. now depending on where you live sometimes they do send a firetruck instead of an ambulance but alot of times ppl don't know that some foremen are EMT's also and there is usually a space in the truck to transport if needed. Also some pll have strokes and don't even know they have them afterwards. and they appear fine. So when you first spoke to her and you thought she was having one she may have but it was so small it had very little side affects. But the secong one may have been larger there for causing more damage. I don't know for sure this is just my opinion. But I have worked in the health care field more some years now and have seen alot but I have a lot more to see! But I hope that your grandmother gets better and get in contact with the patient advocate for whatever hospital she is in and let them know what problems you see. also let them know that you will contact the state on them and don't be afraid to do it. Unfornutely some ppl are in the medical field for the money and could care less how they treat ppl so keep on top of her care and progress and you are in my prayers!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I was really close to my grandmother as well. The conditions definitely don't seem very normal to me. I guess I can kind of see the water cup being empty if, perhaps, she had just finished her drink, but still...Absolutely NO excuse, IMO, for your grandmother to be lying in a dirty bed. NONE! To me that shows neglect on the part of the nurses. I would call and speak with the nursing director. If you don't get any answer there, then keep going up the chain of command. It doesn't matter if your Grandmother has lived a long life, she still deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
I'm so sorry that you're having to go through this. I'll say a prayer for your Grandmother. Big (hugs) to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I am sorry for your grandmom. I still have my grandmom she is 90. I will keep you guys in my prayers.



answers from Boston on

Your grandmother is so BLESSED to have you in her life. I'm sorry that this has happened. I know when a 911 call goes out, 9 times out of 10 the fire trucks come also, and they usually arrive before the ambulance, but they should have been equipped to test her for stroke symptoms. Right now you have to be a STRONG advocate for your grandmother. I used to work as a unit coordinator in a hospital and I can tell you that the elderly who have no one to advocate for them, usually get ignored. If you feel that your grandmother is not getting the care she deserves, you should ask to speak to the nurse manager. If that doesn't work, ask for the chief. If that doesn't work...go all the way to the top. Also, you are going to have to do a lot of the caring's one of the only ways to guarantee that your grandmother gets the decent care she deserves. I wish you the best of luck and I'm going to send a special prayer up for your grandmother.



answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,

I'm sending prayers to you and your grandmother. I hope that she feels better. I think it is time that you and grandma's children have a family meeting to discuss new living arrangements for grandma along with medical decisions. Someone needs to step up and be her advocate and caretaker. I've been in your shoes. My 84 year old mom suffered congestive heart failure four years ago. I lived 45 minutes away from her and I was on my way for a visit, when I called her and she told me to rush to her as fast as I could. Luckily, I got there in time and called 911 to get her to the hospital. She had eleven people working to save her. If I had not come, she would not be here today. While she recovered from CHF, a nurse visited her twice a week then after the nurse was done, I moved my mom to a senior apartment near me to care for her. I've always had companions through Comfort Keepers to come in and stay with her to keep an eye on her as I have young kids of my own. A good place to start looking for a new home is Last year, I moved mom into an assisted living facility where she is cared for and supervised daily. They do her housekeeping, prepare her meals, give her her medications, do her laundry, and give her showers. The house doctor is in once a week and a nurse is there twice a week. This was the best decision for my mom. I've learned that YOU, her family/caretaker, is her advocate. The medical staff at a hospital is often busy and yes, it is a job for some of them. Most are wonderful, but they do have several patients that demand their attention. I know that it is tough to make a decision to move grandma, but don't waste time and be in denial. Grandma is older, her health has changed, and she needs to be supervised now. Be proactive and make sure that you are in a place in your mind and heart where you feel that she will be safe and looked after. My mom loves the facility that she is in now. I never thought that she would be happy, but she has several friends and wonderful caretakers. When I call her and she doesn't pick up the phone, I know that she is socializing. The best part is that I have a peace of mind:)




answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry to hear about your grandma and as people have already said, you need to be an advocate for you. I remember when my mom was in the hospital we asked questions about everything. What are you giving her and why? As difficult as it may be someone needs to be with her at all times to make sure things are being done. I would absolutely take your concerns up with the head nurse and if she does not listen go to the head of the hospital. If you don't think the level of care is sufficient have her moved to another hospital. I would also call the non emergency # at the local police department and ask the protocal. Why wasnt the ambulance sent. Tell them they were wrong get answers. I would not let them get away with it. I realize it can not change what happened to your grandma but you may be able to prevent it from happening to someone else. Good luck with everything and I am praying for your grandma and your family. She is very blessed to have you.



answers from Boston on

My heart goes out to you and your grandma. I know first hand how you are feeling. 20 years ago when I was pregnant with my only child my Nana had a stroke. But she also had been showing signs if TIA's or mini pre strokes the symptoms appear out of the blue then disappear just as fast. Know that you did the right thing for her by calling for assistance when you did the first time you noticed her symptoms. Keep complaining at the hospital the more you bring things up to them the more attention they will give her because they know someone is watching. Will say a prayer for you and grandma.

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