Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Dad's Death after Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Posted In: Medical Stories 11 Replies
  • Posted By: looking4answers
  • May 5, 2008
  • 01:46 PM

To make a long story short..... My 57 year old Dad died four days after having shoulder replacement surgery. Here are the things that I know happened over those four days and their progression:

He Had Surgery on Friday
He was sent home that evening about six or seven hours after surgery.
Before leaving hospital, he fell in the bathroom due to dizziness after surgery (did not hurt his shoulder due to him landing on other side)
Was prescribed strong pain medications including Oxycontin.
He did not urinate before leaving the hospital.
The surgeon's physician's assistant called to check on him the first three nights. Each night, my mom told Phys. Asst. that my dad was still not urinating (he was literally urinating drops each day). Phys. Assistant told her that was normal.
Doctor called on the third day after surgery and my mom explained again that Dad was still was not urinating. Phys. Asst., again, said that was normal. Phys. Asst. also told my mom that things seemed to be going fine and that he would not be calling to check on my Dad anymore.
My Dad went to bed on Monday night (three days after surgery). My mom went to bed a few hours later and my dad was still alive and breathing.
My Mom woke up on Tuesday morning to find my Dad had passed away in his sleep. She found him just as he had went to bed. He was on his back with his arm sling and ice pump hooked up to his shoulder. He hadn't moved.
My Dad had an autopsy as required by law due to him dying within short time after surgery.
Medical examiner told me that my Dad was in extremely good physical health. He said there were no blood clots, aneurysm's, heart attacks, etc. The only thing they found was fluid on brain and in lungs, which led him to believe it could have been from pain meds he was on.
We are awaiting final toxicology results.I am not a doctor and don't have experience in the medical field. I know that some of the stuff above doesn't make sense to me. Does anyone else have the knowledge to help me understand?

Why would a doctor say is was normal to not urinate for over three days (except drops)? Is it normal to send a shoulder replacement patient home the same day of surgery?

Thanks for your help.

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11 Replies:

  • After 15yrs in the ER as a respiratory therapist and in thoracic surgery as a perfusionist, I have been around probably every type of pt. Normally after surgery one of the things the docs look for in there pt's is that they are voiding correctly, Especially if they have a catheter in the bladder. For you Doc and PA to say it was a normal thing not urinate for 3 day's after surgery is not an intelligent remark. Because all of the fluids that was given to him before, during and after surgery He should have been attended to with a diuretic or a straight cath into the bladder to remove the fluid. Not discharge the pt home. Hope this helps some. And my condolences to you. RB.
    Randy J Becker 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • I believe you have a case against these doctors for the death of ur father. Having had surgery myself they measured my intake of fluids & measured output, this is very important & should have been done. He should never have been discharged. Take advise on this, find a good lawyer & start proccedings. I am so sorry for your loss !
    Tootsie 628 Replies Flag this Response
  • Tootsie I agree totally with the last thread. I just wasn't sure if we could come right out and say it since I am new. They broke one of the golden rules of medicine.Whats goes in must come out. Now don't be suprised if the nurses put down a normal output for your father because not many people die from shoulder surgery. The reason the nurses might have done this is because of there work load of taking care of 10-14 patients on a 12hour shift it's just impossible to give care to each pt and a shoulder surgery would be on ther low priority list. I absolutly agree with the last thread go and get a malpractice attorney. There consults are free to see if you have a case. Randy Becker
    Randy J Becker 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • I believe you have a case against these doctors for the death of ur father. Having had surgery myself they measured my intake of fluids & measured output, this is very important & should have been done. He should never have been discharged. Take advise on this, find a good lawyer & start proccedings. I am so sorry for your loss ! I completely agree. I am also very sorry for your loss and offer my deep sympathy. You need to find out what meds he was on - specifically before, during and after the surgery. Anesthesia - there could have been problems there.Was he on any medications prior to the surgery? That PA was grossly negligent IMO. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks for the replies! I am just trying not to jump to conclusions until the final toxicology report comes back. I know that nothing will bring my Dad back to us now. I just know that my Mom would have had a much easier retirement (and been able to retire earlier) if my Dad wouldn't have died. So, if someone was negligent, my goal would be to make sure my mom is taken care of. My Mom has rheumatoid arthritis. Right now she is feeling pretty good but who knows when/if she will start to struggle with it.....
    looking4answers 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks for the replies! I am just trying not to jump to conclusions until the final toxicology report comes back. I know that nothing will bring my Dad back to us now. I just know that my Mom would have had a much easier retirement (and been able to retire earlier) if my Dad wouldn't have died. So, if someone was negligent, my goal would be to make sure my mom is taken care of. My Mom has rheumatoid arthritis. Right now she is feeling pretty good but who knows when/if she will start to struggle with it..... I understand how u feel regarding waiting for toxicology report, but regardless of this ur father did not recieve basic care which is negligent & of the upmost importance, as randy said ur fathers opperation most likely was given low priority. You have to do this for ur dad & to ensure it does not happen to anyone else, If u dont it will niggle at u the rest of ur days. Dont let anyone stand in ur way, demand answers, kick butts, do whatever u have to do, this was neglect of the highest order that cost ur father his life. Also remember they will try & cover their arse, dont let them. No matter what the toxicology report says start legal proccedings. Remember what goes in must come out, this is one of the first rules of any surgery & basic nursing & it is scary to think how complacen't they have been. Which proves that these procedures are done for a reason & they have forgot that. Please seek advise find a good attorney, as Randy said it will not cost u anything to consult with them, go see how strong ur case is, they will know better than any of us ! I know this wont bring ur dad back but u have to fight his corner for him & to ensure ur mum is looked after, and to stop it happening to anyone else ! My condolences to you & your mum !
    Tootsie 628 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with the other posts in this thread. I would also like to add that Oxycontin is a very dangerous drug. A dear friend of mine died while taking this drug. I don't know if this could have been the cause, but please don't overlook it.
    Beth56 272 Replies Flag this Response
  • My husband had shoulder surgery; he was sent home within six hours also. If he had not urinated (as your father), I would have hustled him off to nearest emergency room. Having myself had kidney stone and not able to urinate for 24 hours - I can only imagine the extreme pain he must have suffered. Sounds like he may have drown on his own fluids/waste that were not excreted. ALso, congestive heart failure due to his heart not being able after three days to pump with all the fluids retained in his heart muscle - remember, the heart is a muscle - retained fluids - fluid collected on his lungs most likely also. Probably a high level of ammonia in his blood -due to failure to urinate - excessive ammonia will induce hydroencephalopathy - which means coma. Hopefully, your father did go into a coma and not suffer during his last hours. ALL in ALL - get a lawyer and protect the rest of us from this malpractice!!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 12, 2009
    • 00:25 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi I was wondering what the results of the toxicology was. We have a very close story and are looking at what really happened.
    Alaskan Puzzled 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • To make a long story short..... My 57 year old Dad died four days after having shoulder replacement surgery. Here are the things that I know happened over those four days and their progression:He Had Surgery on FridayHe was sent home that evening about six or seven hours after surgery.Before leaving hospital, he fell in the bathroom due to dizziness after surgery (did not hurt his shoulder due to him landing on other side)Was prescribed strong pain medications including Oxycontin.He did not urinate before leaving the hospital.The surgeon's physician's assistant called to check on him the first three nights. Each night, my mom told Phys. Asst. that my dad was still not urinating (he was literally urinating drops each day). Phys. Assistant told her that was normal.Doctor called on the third day after surgery and my mom explained again that Dad was still was not urinating. Phys. Asst., again, said that was normal. Phys. Asst. also told my mom that things seemed to be going fine and that he would not be calling to check on my Dad anymore.My Dad went to bed on Monday night (three days after surgery). My mom went to bed a few hours later and my dad was still alive and breathing.My Mom woke up on Tuesday morning to find my Dad had passed away in his sleep. She found him just as he had went to bed. He was on his back with his arm sling and ice pump hooked up to his shoulder. He hadn't moved.My Dad had an autopsy as required by law due to him dying within short time after surgery.Medical examiner told me that my Dad was in extremely good physical health. He said there were no blood clots, aneurysm's, heart attacks, etc. The only thing they found was fluid on brain and in lungs, which led him to believe it could have been from pain meds he was on.We are awaiting final toxicology results.I am not a doctor and don't have experience in the medical field. I know that some of the stuff above doesn't make sense to me. Does anyone else have the knowledge to help me understand? Why would a doctor say is was normal to not urinate for over three days (except drops)? Is it normal to send a shoulder replacement patient home the same day of surgery? Thanks for your help. Hi Looking4answers, What other meds was your father on? Was he on Oxycontin before surgery? That is usually the only reason to use Oxycontin post surgical. It is not approved as a post surgical med for somebody who isn't accomodated. What size Oxycontin? Did you do a pill count? How many were there left versus how many should have been left. If your dads kidneys were malfunctioning there can be a significant buildup of oxycodone and metabolites as excretion in urine is a major pathway of getting rid of oxycodone and metabolites. A healthy liver can cope with it but a liver also with problems could have allowed a toxic buildup. Did anybody do a Oxycodone and metabolite toxic screen? Uremic patients can have an Oxycodone serum halflife of over 25 hours instead of the usual 3.5 hours or so. This can turn a normal dose into a fatal dose within 3 or 4 days. Was his breathing suppressed? Was he difficult to rouse? I had severe edema with oxycodone and I had normal kidney function. I have an Oxycodone/Oxycontin serum level simulator I wrote and am available for consulting if you get an oxy serum level from your dad and the medication schedule he was on. What other pain meds was he on?. What about muscle relaxants or other CNS depressants?
    Freddd 3576 Replies Flag this Response
  • I don't know if the original poster of this thread will get this response, as it is several years since you had posted this.

    Firstly, sincere condolences for your loss and the shocking circumstances surrounding this. I hope you managed to get answers from the hospital as to what went wrong.

    I just stumbled on this recently and I wanted to let you know that my mother died in very similar circumstances, but 2 days after shoulder surgery and not having been able to urinate post surgery. She was left untreated and died in hospital (in Central London).

    If you would like to email directly, then please do get back to me on this thread.

    Kind regards.
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • January 10, 2016
    • 02:24 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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