Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Urine Retention and Oxycontin

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: looking4answers
  • May 2, 2008
  • 03:15 PM

Hi there!

To make a long story short, my 57 year old Dad died three days after a total shoulder replacement surgery. The autopsy showed an absolutely healthy individual and there were no signs of a cause of death. We are waiting to hear back from toxicology.

Docs sent him home the same day as surgery. He was on strong pain meds including oxycontin. The surgeon's physician's assistant called the first few nights after the surgery to check in with him. Each night, my Mom would tell the PA that he was not urinating (drops at the most). The PA told her each day that it was normal for him to not urinate.

On the third day after surgery, the PA called again and my mom told him same thing (no urinating). He again said it was normal. He also told her that things seemed to be going well so he wouldn't be calling again.

My Dad went to bed that night like normal. My mom went to bed around 11pm also and my dad was still breathing. She then woke up the next morning to find him in the exact same position, but he had passed away.

I am just trying to figure out if his lack of urinating and being on those strong meds could have had anything to do with his death.

Thanks.

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4 Replies:

  • Are you sure the PA told your mom it was normal for him to NOT be urinating? that is an absolute warning sign of something wrong. I worked on a ortho surgical floor early in my career and we absolutely expected patients to void immediately - if they didn't we usually acted pretty fast to rule out dehydration, blood pressure issues, or kidney problems. I wouldn't expect him to have a bowel movement for a couple days but I would absolutely expect him to urinate. You might want to request a copy of his medical records (and the PA's notes) now before anything else comes back. You could have a medical malpractice case depending on what the tox shows.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Yes, the PA told my mom each night that it was normal for him not to urinate. I also don't understand why they sent him home six hours after complete shoulder replacement surgery? I have read and been told that most people stay in hospital for 2-3 days, sometimes up to 5 days.
    looking4answers 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Yes, the PA told my mom each night that it was normal for him not to urinate. I also don't understand why they sent him home six hours after complete shoulder replacement surgery? I have read and been told that most people stay in hospital for 2-3 days, sometimes up to 5 days.My husband had shoulder surgery in January and they had him on Oxycotin. He complained of the same thing, that he could not urinate. They told my husband, the oxycotin had nothing to do with him not being able to urinate. My husband insisted they change his pain meds and after he was off the oxycotin he had no problems urinating. On the side effects paper they gave him with the oxycotin it said, "problems urinating". So the doctor was full of crap. It is not uncommon for them to send them home the same day after the shoulder surgery. They sent my husband home 2 hours after his surgery. Sorry for your loss.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • So sorry for your loss. First of all, anesthesia can cause difficulty with urination. Oxycontin also can cause difficulty with urination. One of the first things a nurse does prior to discharge is make sure the patient voids (urinates). What you will probably find, is that the body shut down because of the inability of the body to rid toxins due to lack of urination. I'm sure your father felt his bladder "full", but unable to empty it. Rarely in this type of surgery is it caused by dehydration. During surgery, the patient is hydrated and generally shoulder surgery does not cause an extraordinary amount of blood loss.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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