Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Misdiagnosed neck/back pain almost killed me!

Posted In: Medical Errors 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • May 12, 2008
  • 02:37 PM

I had a new family doctor who nearly quite literally killed me. My old family practice broke up, and just as I was in the process of transferring my records to a new practice, I had a really bad asthma attack, which landed me in the hospital overnight, with chest pain (but not wheezing any more after using a rescue inhaler, so they were doing a cardiac workup for the chest pain). After the cardiac workup was clean, I was released...and began seeing the new doctor.
Over the course of the next few months, I began experiencing increasingly worsening symptoms of back/neck pain. Horrific. Violent vomiting headaches. Muscle spasms that wouldn't quit. X rays and pain management (all the while I kept mentioning, by the way, my asthma is bothering me too, and the family doc kept assuring me, no wheezing means no asthma)
Pain management puts me on Kadien (a long acting form of morphine) for the muscle spasms that are visable across the room. Marvels at the intensity of the spasms. Does epidurals. No relief. Meanwhile, I quit my job, on the advice of the doctor, and the family doctor takes over prescribing the Kadien (since my health insurer was the one covering pain management). The family doctor FREAKS out over the Kadien...treats me like crap for taking it...(oh...and by the way my asthma is still acting up...gets the standard answer, no it's not). I end up weaning myself off the Kadien, because I am sick of being treated like crap by the doctor. I live with back/neck pain every day...it's just a way of life. I never sleep.
Flash forward...I am scheduled for sinus surgery (at the family doc's insistence)...and my asthma feels horrible (still) I go to the family doc...Who literally LAUGHS at the mention of my asthma...rolls her eyes at me, and NEVER WHIPS OUT A STETHESCOPE TO LISTEN TO MY LUNGS...
(About now I finally get a clue, she has no idea what she is doing. She has not ever mentioned doing peak flow readings to me and I am now blacking out...I go to the ALA website, and they kindly send me a free peak flow meter, after a few readings, I can see, I am in deep trouble)
I finally go to an asthma specialist 2 days before the scheduled sinus surgery...he takes one listen to my lungs...is absoloutely HORRIFIED, and I have been on aggressive asthma treatment ever since. I never had the sinus surgery...the asthma doc insisted I cancel since, as he put it, "YOU WOULDN'T SURVIVE THE ANESTHESIA"
I was not moving sufficient air in and out of my lungs, and was in impending respiratory failure. On the third round of prednisone...I woke up at 3am, gasping for breath, panicking...someone finally moved the tank off of my chest, and my lungs expanded for the first time in almost 2 years. I probably blew out a few air sacs at the time, because there was a distinct bubbling going on in my chest for about 12 hours afterwards...
Like turning off a switch...the neck and back pain all went away...
There is a point in an asthma attack where an asthmatic stops wheezing. The ALA calls this "silent lung” It’s where asthmatics die. You have to be getting enough air into your lungs to produce a wheeze. I wasn't!
My back and neck muscles were so overworked from the effort of trying to move air in/out of my crippled lungs...
I was told I was "Type A", Hyper, Hated my job (which I actually loved), and just stressed out. Then treated like I was drug seeking.
I am grateful to be alive!!!:o
I have, obviously, now found a new family doctor!:rolleyes:

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2 Replies:

  • Hi mom1, i read ur story & so pleased for u that u survived & hopefully have gained a full recovery. Ive been through serious illness myself & lived to tell the tale, also through neglect of doctors, but this is where im torn, eventually when all turned really serious it was the doctors & nursing care that save me & im ever grateful to them. Having sailed so close to death it gives u a new perspective to life & i realise how precious it is, as im sure u do ! I hope u continue to do well ! kind regards :)
    Tootsie 628 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi Tootsie!! Thanks for the reply!I am definately better, though my asthma is WAY worse than it ever was before. I suspect I have some lung damage, but since I cannot seem to get off the prednisone for long enough to have the pulmonary function test done, who knows? I am very suseptable to respiratory infections as well...my lungs are hypersensitive to every irritant out there.When my lungs recovered sufficiantly, and my wonderful asthma doc (whom I credit with saving my life) felt comfortable with allergy testing me, that explained a lot! I had such a bad reaction to dust/mites (systemic reaction) he was getting out the epinephrine. I had an asthma attack...flushed all over, felt as if I had rolled in fiberglass dust, and had a 4" strip raise up on my inner arm.:eek:(Poor asthma doc...I give that man fits...he refers to me as one of his problem children)I also have life threatening reactions to several antibiotics, and carry an epi pen.The old family doc "POO POO'D" the allergy issue, and acted as if it was just a hassle for her to deal with...trust me, not NEARLY the hassle it is for ME to deal with!:rolleyes:Breathing...it's a very good thing!!!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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