Being Your Own Advocate, Reckless Doctors and My Misdiagnosis!2survive
As many survivors may already know, doctors and professionals in the medical field aren’t always spot on when it comes to treatment, diagnosis and especially knowing your body. And by no means do I want to throw great doctors and medical professionals under the bus with this post. There are those who truly care and go above and beyond to diagnose and properly treat those in need, and that is something that can and should be appreciated.
Doctors: Listen to your patients!
The medical field is just like any other profession, there are the good and the bad in regards to doctors, nurses and medical professionals. It just so happens that when some people hear the word, “doctor” they think, “smart” and totally surrender their thinking and well-being to the…”doctor!” Are doctors smart? Well of course they are smart! Completing medical school is a feat in and of itself, but being in tune and “listening” to your patients is extremely important for a doctor to be successful; and I’ve witnessed this firsthand.
Doctors with preconceived ideas and/or diagnosis’s have already started off on the wrong foot. Doctors, listen to your patients, especially if this is not a patient’s “first rodeo” so to speak. You could learn a lot and even avoid life-threatening catastrophes (another lesson that doctors have had to learn through trial and error with me.)
Misdiagnosis to Minor Diagnosis to Life-Threatening ICU Stay
My latest misdiagnosis involved me supposedly having a heart attack. I showed up to the ER with chest pain and arm pain. I was told after an EKG that I was definitely having a heart attack and that a heart cath was needed to further determine what was going on in my heart. Okay, no worries here, the doctors are showing due diligence and I’m okay with that. However, please note, I told the doctors as I arrived in the ER that this felt much more like pericarditis as I had had pericarditis in 2006. Did they listen? No.
Well, after a heart cath, the doctors stated I was not having a heart attack at all and my heart was totally clean and fine. Wow! That’s great news and all, but my chest and arm were still hurting an insane amount and only getting worse. And hours later I would be doubled over in chest, shoulder and back pain with fever while at the same time vomiting. I told the doctors again that this was pericarditis as I had had the condition before. Their response was “no, you pulled a muscle working out.” They wouldn’t even do any types of blood tests at this point to just rule out pericarditis.
So the night of my admission into the hospital was the same night that things went awry, from pulled chest muscle, to intensified chest pain, shoulder pain, back pain, fever and vomiting! Only after this occurred did the nurses and staff on the floor finally begin to acknowledge, and think, “hmm, something might actually be wrong”, and it was, very wrong! After the intensified pains started and i began to vomit, my mom literally ended up walking around the hospital trying to find an ICU doctor or just any doctor that would “listen”, as time was obviously a critical factor now.
After finding the doctor that gave my mom a chance to explain, and “listened”, it was determined that my heart and kidneys were failing. My situation had gone from bad to life-threatening because doctors chose not to listen and consider my input. Isn’t a patient’s opinion about their own body valuable information?…especially after previous experiences?
In the end, I did have pericarditis, among other things…and the very doctor that told me I had pulled a muscle in my chest was the one to tell me that I had pericarditis.
This is just a drop in the bucket regarding this hospital stay. Later I’ll provide other interesting facts about this exact hospital, my stay there and their negligence that led to my health and life being put at further risk, and great risk at that!
Patients: Keep Your Doctors in the Loop
Patients, here is what I suggest to you. First have a doctor for every medical condition you have. If you have heart problems, have a cardiologist that you see regularly and who knows your status. If you have had cancer, then have an oncologist that you see regularly. Keep your doctors in the loop on all of your latest health information, conditions and medications.
Patients: Keep a One-Sheet About You and Your Health
This is very important for emergency situations. If you have a complex and lengthy health history, then create a one-sheet of your health history. This one-sheet should detail previous surgeries, conditions, allergies and current medications. Take this with you to the ER during an emergency. This piece of paper could save a LOT of time and maybe even your life!
If you are out of town, or have just recently moved and don’t have regular doctors yet, it can be hard to simply bring ER docs up to speed on your condition(s), medications and previous medical history in the event of an emergency; and if time is of the essence, then nothing is more efficient and helpful that a one-sheet (I understand that for some people they may have a 2-sheeter like me!)
Also, make sure your medical one-sheet is kept up-to-date and current. This means updating dosages of medications as needed as well as removing medications that you are no longer taking. Additionally, always be sure to include any herbs or supplements that you take. I am a huge fan of supplementation, but doctors should be made aware of what you are taking as some herbs can react with certain medications.