sent home from the ER with a life-threatening condition. now what?
June 21, 2014 6:29 PM Subscribe
I had a health scare and a physician in an emergency room misdiagnosed me. What should I do? (a question especially for the md's here)
posted by krautland to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
When I went to bed Wednesday evening everything was normal. I awoke Thursday morning to excruciating pain in my right shoulder and right ribcage. Some of you may remember from a previous question here that I had just spent two months in bed, recovering from a lumbar fracture. I thought I was probably just sore and decided to rest that day. When on Thursday evening the pain hadn't lessened, I went to an emergency room. (This is an american/international hospital in Shanghai.)
The surgeon on staff was one of the head physicians of the hospital. He listened to my story, did x-rays and, when it became clear that none of my bones were the reason for my discomfort, prescribed me Percocet and sent me home, saying there wasn't much more that an emergency room could do for me and that it had to be something else. He did call me at about 1am to let me know that my EKG was abnormal and that I should follow up with a Neurologist (not a Cardiologist? I am sure he said Neurologist) but he did not think I had to come back that night. I have a low heart beat, which is hereditary on my maternal side, and it's fairly normal for me to freak out physicians and EKG monitors. If there is a bell, it will go off.
The pain did not get better on Friday and on Saturday I awoke to it being so bad I couldn't breathe properly. Within ten minutes of waking up I knew something was very wrong and hauled ass back to the same emergency room. This time, another doctor was on call and upon me telling him of my symptoms and that I had spent two months in bed he immediately ordered a CT scan. Less than an hour later phrases like "life threatening" and "real emergency" were thrown around and I was on blood thinners. I had massive blood clots in both lungs.
What is the right thing for me to do here? All the other physicians I have met in this hospital since I was admitted seem incredulous over my having been sent home by the first physician. One senior physician was so mad, he had visible problems remaining calm in front of me. I am not sure if I should be angry or disappointed or scared given that I was sent home with a life-threatening condition undiagnosed and that is why I am asking for your opinion. Should I complain to hospital management? Ask for my bill from that ER visit to be forgiven? Do something entirely different or nothing at all?