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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    New Albany, Indiana

    Default Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

    I'll try to keep this short. Dec 27 2005 I woke with the worst pain of my life in the center of my chest and into my back, going down both arms,extreme shortness of breathe and extreme dizziness. I tried to get dressed to go to the hospital but I couldn't even manage that, so my husband called 911.
    The city fire dept EMT's showed up and walked in and due to me being overweight and young I believe showed predjedice against me and they told me they weren't able to get the cart into my room (they had a month prior got the cart into the same exact room with no problems to take my daughter to the hospital).
    They were extremely rude to me and told me nothing was wrong with me and that I was too young for a heart attack and forced me to walk to the ambulance dispite my dizziness saying things such as "she better not make me fall".
    I was 37.
    In route they gave me a medication to help my breathing, which I'm told also increases heart rate which could have been deadly to me.
    At the hospital the DR and EMT were making jokes about me with me in the same room, due to my pain and shortness of breath I was unable to respond.
    The blood test showed .03 tropnin in my blood and a normal ekg, I've since found out that standard practice is to hold a patient to retest the tropnin and ekg's for hours as a heart attack does not show on an EKG or blood levels until damage is present. Basically, if they had treated me then I would not have the damage I do now. Instead, they sent me home with nerve pills and told me that I was having a panic attack and I was still in pain.
    I sat home thinking they knew what they were talking about for 10-11 hours? (things get a little fuzzy at this point).
    I then remember feeling like I was dying and continuing with the same symptoms even though I had taken the medication they gave me which wasn't helping.
    My husband asked if he should call 911 again, I told him no due to the treatment I had received before and had him drive me, we were going to go to a different hospital. Within 3 minutes of driving I told him I wasn't going to make it and take me somewhere close, which was the same hospital.
    When I got there the triage nurse was rude again as my husband tried to tell her what was going on and she stated "she walked in here, she can tell me herself so be quiet."
    From what I was told at this point they stuck me in a back room so nobody could hear my screams for approx 5 hours while they decided what to do with me as my first EKG and blood levels came back after getting back in the ER as abnormal with a lot of damage and high tropnin levels. I was having a massive heart attack.
    Finally they decided to do emergency intervention and I had a stent put in. I had 99% blockage and my artery had collapsed, my ejection fraction was 35 according to my records and I had significate damage to two walls in my heart. I was put in critical care as well where I nurse advised me that they didn't think I was going to make it.
    Since the heart attack I have extreme anxiety about living here because if something else happens I'll be treated poorly.. not only that, my memory is AWFUL now and I can barely multitask, I'm afraid I'll lose my job due to this as I'm in tech support. My work is being very cool about helping me get back into it but we have a scorecard to keep and just because I had a heart attack that will affect my scorecard and I'm not exempt to it and could very well lose my job due to my memory and lack of multitasking etc. I was also up for a promotion that I missed due to this. Before the heart attack I was the best in the call center, now I suck.
    I think something happened to my brain also during the heart attack due to my memory problem now, but I haven't had an MRI or anything to confirm it, I've asked the dr and he just says "I have no clue whats causing your memory problem" and leaves it at that.
    My entire life is in a topsy turvy now due to them not helping me the first time I went in and nobody seems to care. I have a husband and kids and NEED to be able to talk care of them but I'm finding this difficult now.
    I probably should mention also that the director of the hospital did call to appoligize on behalf of the hospital for not keeping me the first time, which to me admits they screwed up.
    Everyone tells me I should sue the hospital and the city for the treatment I've received.. opinions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Preventable Heart Attack

    That's really atrocious treatment.

    You're correct to suspect that the heart attack could have caused some brain damage. Anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) from a heart attack can cause brain cells to die. Worse, it sounds like the heart attack could have been prevented (or at least minimized) with proper initial diagnosis and treatment.

    Another bitter pill to swallow: Medical malpractice suits are very costly and difficult to bring, so even in a case of clear malpractice it may not be possible to find a lawyer willing to bring a lawsuit if the damages aren't severe enough. (I'm not saying that lawyers will conclude that to be the case in your situation.)

    To figure out if you have a viable case, you probably will need some additional diagnostic testing for damage to your cardiac system and brain which may have resulted from the mistreatment. You should consider getting the assistance of a malpractice law firm in your state, which can help review your case and may be able to suggest steps you can take to get a proper diagnosis of your memory problems.

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