Saturday, September 6, 2008

Not an exact science...

Alright, I have to post about this because it is SOOO insane and can only happen on TV -- or in my family. Warning: it might gross you out.

My FIL recently experienced some chest pain and went into the DR for it. After the DR did much persuading of insurance and other doctors, he did some fancy new test that determined my FIL had about 70% blockage. However, the test must have been difficult to read because some interpreted it to be 50% or 60%. It was determined that my FIL needed an angiogram to determine the extent of the blockage. The angio was set for ONE WEEK away. Umm, heart. Beating. In Crisis. DO IT NOW!

In the meant time, my FIL started experiencing more chest pain and shortness of breath. Being the strong, determined individual he is, he wasn't going to go into the doctor. Afterall, it was no different than before and they sent him home. Being the pigheaded, "always-willing-to-stick-my-nose-in-other's-business" type of person that I am, I threatened to carry him to the doctor myself if he didn't go in. Remember that for later.

Well, my MIL was also very worried and had called the doctor who said bring him right in. So my FIL went to the clinic-type doctors office and was monitored for most of the day. Of course he didn't have anything to eat because they were waiting to see if he needed an angiogram, in which case he wouldn't be able to eat. His nurse tried to "sneak" him some chocolate so he wouldn't be hungry. Thankfully, my FIL refused and later we found out that little bit of chocolate would have interacted negatively on a test they administered.

The medical staff decided to transport my FIL via ambulance to the ER in order to "fast track" him into the heart hospital. Just before he left the doctor's office, the nurse gave him Heparin. This is a blood thinner they use in heart patients for one reason or another. The problem was they OVERDOSED him 10x too much. Yup... TEN TIMES. As in they moved the decimal over one space. As in they could have KILLED him.

Well, he gets to the ER and the ER nurse (a different one from the overdosing one) runs an IV on him and begins to administer Morphine. Even though my FIL was complaining of it hurting, the nurse isn't aware that she totally missed my FIL's vein. She put the needle under his skin like on a TB test and began filling up his arm with morphine. About the time his arm became 3 times its size, they figured it out. Well, with the over dose of Heparin, he just kept bleeding and bleeding. So, now his arm is black and blue. Even a week later, his arm is so bruised it looks like a semi ran over it. He can't move it and it is constantly sore. They had to do an ultrasound on his arm to make sure he didn't have a life threatening infection in it and were worried for a while that he might loose his arm.

OK, once his bleeding from the Heparin stopped, 24 hours later, they could start on the heart tests. They decided to do a chemical stress test. This is where they stress out your heart with chemicals to see how it reacts. It requires a radiologist there to read the results as they are happening. So the cardiologist and nurses say they are ready and begin the test. Right as they are getting to the end of the test, the cardiologist says "where's the radiologist?" They had done the test without all the proper medical staff there. So, what do they do? Do it again, of course. Five minutes after the first one. My FIL was in so much pain that my MIL was in tears. The test concluded that he actually DIDN'T have 70% blockage. If they had done this old standby test in the first place, he could have avoided the whole thing. But, this particular doctor they used, really wanted to do this other test. It was a test the insurance said was not reliable.

As if that wasn't enough, the day he was supposed to be released, he got a fever. So they ran some blood work and determined my FIL had contracted E-Coli. Hmmm, since he didn't have it going into the hospital, he could have only gotten it FROM the hospital. Oh yeah -- and they also mistakenly diagnosed him with acute renal failure.

So, after about 4 or 5 days in the hospital. My FIL comes home. All he needs for his heart is medicine. He could have avoided all of this if they had done the right test in the first place. But can you imagine the guilt I feel! I told him he had to go and if he didn't then I would make him. But if he didn't go in, he would have had an unnecessary angiogram --and his arm would have been of use.

Can you believe this? No, I don't think there is going to be any legal action. But seriously!!!


Natalie said...

The older I get, the more amazed I am at how many medical mistakes I know of. My mom was almost killed a couple of years ago because they misdiagnosed her and sent her home. She went to another hospital a few hours after her release. The doc said she would have been dead in less than 24 hours. I'm so sorry your FIL had such a bad experience. I hope he heals quickly.

S'mee said...

it's called "practice" for a reason.

and please, do tell, where was this wonderful practicing taking place??? I would love to avoid that hospital like the plague! said...

Seriously, that just blows my mind! And scares the you know what out of me!
You shouldn't feel guilty though, he needed to go to the doc if he was having chest pain, it's not your fault that apparently the entire staff there is incompetent, maybe they got online degrees or something.

Kathy P said...

S'mee -- it's Banner Baywood in Mesa AZ. They even have a specialized "heart hospital" there. Ironic, don't you think?

Fawn said...

oh my cow!!! so scary!!