WJTV News Channel 12 - Patient upset after hospital dresses her in scrubs, hires cab to

Patient upset after hospital dresses her in scrubs, hires cab to drive her home

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - An area hospital says all it was trying to do was be helpful when it paid for a taxi to pick up a patient and drive her home last month, but that woman says she would have preferred to have her family pick her up and take her home.

Marcella Broyles says she arrived by ambulance at Johnson City Medical Center on Friday, April 18th and left wearing scrubs in a cab on Tuesday, April 22nd. Suffering from a broken rib after a fall at her apartment, she says she had to make her way up to her second floor apartment without anyone's help.

Her daughter has since called in a complaint to the hospital.

"It was awful," Broyles said of the way she left the hospital. "I was scared. I was so upset I didn't know what to do."

Broyles' daughter Robin Campbell says she called the hospital twice on the day of her mother's release and never got any indication her mom would be discharged that day.

"Nobody called me to let me know anything," Campbell said. "She has family, she has friends, any of which would have been happy to come and pick her up and bring her home and see to it she got up to her apartment and safe."

Broyles says she told the doctor she didn't feel ready to leave the hospital yet.

"He comes in and says, 'I'm going to let you go,' and I said, 'I don't have anybody to take me.' He says, 'Well that's no problem,' and I said, 'Well, let me call my daughter,' and he said, 'There ain't no need for that.' He said, 'I've already got you a way home.' I said, 'I don't have any money, and he said, 'That's alright, we'll pay for it."

Broyles says she then told him she didn't have any clothes. That's when she says they put her in a pair of scrubs.

"The scrubs were too long," she said.

Broyles says it wasn't until she left her hospital room that she realized the front seat of a taxi cab would be her ride home. She says it was the first time in her life she has traveled in a taxi.

"Nobody to walk me upstairs or to the elevator or anything (when I got home)," Broyles said. "I was scared to death I was going to fall again."

Hospital officials say they carefully evaluate every patient's situation before sending him or her home.

"The hospital discharge process involves a careful evaluation to be sure that the patient is ready to go home," Johnson City Medical Center CEO Tony Benton said. "Each patient is asked whether he or she has a safe home environment to return to and whether any assistance is needed, such as home health, social services or transportation. During Ms. Broyles' discharge process, she informed the doctor that she needed transportation home, so the staff worked with her to arrange transportation at the hospital's expense, according to what they understood to be her wishes. Ms. Broyles appeared to be satisfied with the arrangements and hugged the nurse on her way out. We work hard to make sure that the patient's wishes are honored throughout the care process, including during discharge. This includes arranging transportation home at the patient's request."

Broyles insists she made it clear to at least two employees she wasn't happy with the situation as it progressed.

"It's not a favor when you've got people who could come and get you, that's not a favor to me," Broyles said.

She says she didn't have a cell phone and admits she didn't use the phone in her hospital room to try and call her family on her own. Her daughter says that's because Broyles doesn't have any phone numbers memorized. Campbell says the hospital did have her numbers on file.

The family says a hospital representative called an apologized about the situation earlier this week. Meanwhile, Broyles received some bad news this week about her health. Her daughter says she has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

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