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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Heart Attack After Asthma Medication Prescription

    My cousin recently died as a result of heart disease. The death certificate is still pending, as they are doing some tests, but medical examiner gave a preliminary impression to my aunt.

    My cousin went to the doctor last Wednesday complaining of shortness of breath, and told the doctor that he thought his childhood asthma might have returned. The doctor did check his heart and apparently noticed something because he was scheduled for additional tests for this week

    The doctor sent him home with a prescription for Albuterol (an asthma inhaler). He died on Friday morning. His parents both have had heart problems and he was overweight, but had never been diagnosed as having heart problems.

    Does this sound like a case of medical malpractice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default Heart Disease and Albuterol Sulfate

    It is difficult to assess without knowing more about the examination and the symptoms your brother presented. Under some circumstances, scheduling follow-up care a few days later would be medically appropriate. Other others, the patient would be transferred to a hospital for immediate care and testing.

    To differentiate the two situations, it is usually necessary to review the medical records, often with the assistance of a medical professional. It will also be helpful to review the ultimate conclusions of the medical examiner. I can state this much from what you have said - if the doctor suspected that an asthma patient had a heart condition, due to the effect of the drug on the cardivascular system, it would be unusual to prescribe albuterol sulfate.

    If your aunt is interested in having the circumstances reviewed, she should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer. There is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions and, although you are still at the start of that period, it is wise not to wait too long before having a medical malpractice case reviewed to minimize the chance of an unexpected problem or delay. You do have time, though, to respect your aunt's mental state, if she needs a couple of weeks or even a couple of months to think about it. Medical malpratice laws vary significantly by state.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    A year ago my husband died about two weeks after noticing shortness of breath. He had never had asthma and had no other symptoms, but had high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. He went to the emergency room, where they did an EKG and a chest x-ray. The EKG was normal. They thought they saw a spot on his lung, so they gave him an inhaler. Then a few days later he went to his own doctor and was given a prescription for an asthma inhaler with a diagnosis of asthma. No other tests were done.

    A few days after seeing his own doctor, he was dead - instantly, no warning, no time to get help. He was only 57. The autopsy showed 90% blockage of three vessels and nothing on the lungs. I have taken the case to a medical malpractice attorney, and he is having a hard time getting information from the doctor. I requested all records twice, in writing, and they are not giving us notes, prescriptions, or x-rays.

    I think I have a good case. It is so similar to the previous post, it's eerie. Is this a common result of taking asthma medication with an unknown heart condition?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default Athsma and Heart Conditions

    It is, as noted above, unusual to prescribe certain medications, such as the athsma medication albuterol sulfate, to a patient with a heart condition. In your case, you also have other issues, such as the possible misreading of the EKG and chest x-ray, whether or not the athsma medication was appropriate.

    Depending upon the laws and procedures of your jurisdiction, assuming litigation has been commenced, your lawyer may be able to subpoena the records for copy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    New Albany, Indiana

    Default Given Same Med in route to ER with heart attack

    I was given the same exact med in route to the ER from the EMTs because they insisted that I was too young to have a heart attack.. then at the ER given nerve meds (adivan) because again, I was too young to have a heart attack (37 yrs old).
    After sitting home for something like 10-11 hours I felt as I was dying and luckily I had a little time apparently, I made it. When I finally got in surgery after my ordeal I had 99% blockage, 35 ejection fraction and my arteries had collapsed.
    I was told that that med for breathing actually can be a risk for a heart attack patient, that the side effects are increased heart rate, and if you are having a heart problem such as a blockage it can break off peices of the blockage and block it completely, causing instant death.
    I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, just a patient who has been through trauma, such as yourself. I just wanted to pass on what I have been told myself about that med. I'm currently trying to find out if I have a lawsuit myself..
    I'm very sorry about your loss, it's very sad what happened

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