Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

3 years of being diagnosed as over-anxious female

Posted In: Medical Errors 1 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • February 10, 2007
  • 00:04 AM

Several years ago I experienced a sharp stabbing pain in my left shoulder followed by a numbness going down the outside of my arm and into my fingers. Being in my 50's I thought oh my gosh, heart attack and called 911. After 3 days in the hospital all heart tests proved negative, the neurological exams started along with back and c-spine xrays. These showed some changes but not severe enough to cause my symptoms. Tha's when the "are you under any stress questions started." I said yes, it is pretty stressfull that you can't find out what's causing my symptoms. All that got me was a prescription for Elavil. 3 months on Elavil and 15 pounds heavier I was still having the same attacks. So I changed doctors and made the mistake of transfering my records. The new doctors first question after reviewing them was "are you under any stress". More neurological exams, xrays and MRI's all not bad enought to cause the symptoms and another prescription for a different anxiety medicine. I changed doctors again, and you'll never guess the first question asked. Yup, same question, different anxiety medicine. This had been going on for almost 2 years so I figured I hadn't died yet, it must not be anything to bad and quit going to the doctors and just lived with it. Finally almost 3 years later I woke up one morning with my left arm swollen. There was no pain but it continued to swell and the stretching of the skin was becoming uncomfortable. I was at my barn at the race track and showed the arm to my vet who told me to get to a doctor asap. I didn't go for about 3 more hours as it had become quite uncomfortable and was sent immediately upstairs to thoracic doctor who did an ultra sound and I was in the hospital within the hour with a major blood clot caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I was in there 6 days, in ICU for 2
and scheduled for surgery in 4 weeks to remove my first rib which was compressing a vein and had done quite a bit of nerve damage. My doctor was astounded that it was so advanced and asked "didn't you have any symtoms?" I told him my symptoms which he said were classic and couldn't belive no one had done a simple TOA test. (a TOA test is a manual test where you hold your affected arm out and turn your head in the opposite direction while they feel for your pulse. If there is no pulse you have thoracic outlet syndrom) I even had a letter I showed him from one neurologist I had been referred to that told my primary doctor that he belived I needed serious physchiatric help. 3 years of ***l as a result of 3 incompetent doctors. I now question anything a doctor tells me and take it with a grain of salt.

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  • I am so sorry that happened to you, and very glad you received help in time. The same happened to me. When you finally find out what is really wrong with you, it feels as if you have been traumatized, doesn't it? Like you, I had several episodes over a 3 year period. In my case, I had severe attacks of shortness of breath and my heart felt like it was pounding in my chest although it wasn't a fast pounding, but a slow, very hard beating. I am in my mid 40's with a slight build, and in very good physical condition. I went to the ER on 5 occasions when my symptoms didn't subside after an hour or so. I could breath but it still felt as if I wasn't getting air. My oxygen saturation was always withn normal limits, and my blood pressure was low , which it always has been. (There was a reason for that, which should have been a red flag) So of course, just like you did, I got the stress question right off the bat and was told I was having an anxiety attacks, and after the minimum blood tests, I was given Xanax and sent home. One ER nurse was very impatiant, almost yelling at me, telling me I was making it worse. He kept saying to breathe like through a straw. Well I couldn't and he was annoyed! My blood pressure was only 70/34 and he still gave me a Xanax for pete's sake! I spit it out that time because I knew it could lower your pressure and I figured I couldn't afford that. Then about 6 months ago while on a trip with my husband, I had a very bad attack one night, went to the ER, was told it was a bronchial spasm, and sent home. It happened again the next afternoon, and again that night. The quality of ER care wasn't any better in the state we were visiting either until that 3rd visit on the 2nd night. This time the Dr heard a murmer in my heart and was concerned. He called a cardiac hospital nearby to say he was sending me there immediately. He said that with my symptoms he suspected severe heart valve disease. Well he was right. Unfortunately, by the time I was given the correct tests and properly diagnosed, it was much too late to repair my mitral valve. I had to have open heart surgery right away to have a mechanical valve replacement. The surgeon said that my valve was so diseased that it was almost completely closed, there was no supporting structure left, and my valve was fused to my heart muscle of which he had to cut away 4 large pieces. The left side of my heart had become dangerously enlarged from having to work so hard for so long. I was so mad!! A month ago my husband had to go to the ER for fever (he is on chemo) and I happened to see that nasty male nurse. I walked over to him and told him where to stick his breathing straw, pulled down my shirt a little to bare my new 10"" scar , and said this wasn't from panic attack surgery, you dumb arrogant ***k! Actually I used a bit stronger word than ***k, and as there were several other nurses and 2 or 3 Drs nearby, it felt pretty good! But I'm still mad.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 01:05 PM
    • 0
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