Were you almost killed by a doctor's ignorance or malpractice?

I went to a new doctor once. He did some tests and informed me that the vasotec I was taking could result in high potassium levels - already present - and CARDIAC ARREST! or sudden death.
That was the side effect with renal failure, from which I was suffering. The former doctor, when I confronted him, indicated he did not know about this “side effect” in renal patients.

I would have died suddenly without knowing why. Oops!!!

I almost died in an emergency room when my appendix ruptured after I’d been there for literally twelve hours with the doctor popping his head in at hourly intervals and telling me it was the flu. The uck from the ruptured appendix then got all up inside me and I almost died again from the infection it caused.

No, though I almost had to pee into a catheter for the rest of my life. An obstetrician waited 12 hours to give me a c-section while I stalled at 8 cms and the pressure on my bladder meant it tore when they finally got around to taking the little nipper out. They fixed it though; I seem fine and believe me, I give that bladder a workout most days.

My pregnant coworker, however, went into kidney failure and lost her baby when the nurse (not the doctor) poo-pooed one of her phone calls about her extreme thirst and swelling. She lived, and has gone on to have two kids. That doctor’s office has since changed the way they handle phone inquiries from their patients.

Well, I was nowhere near death but I almost had to have my left pinky amputated. I’d managed to cut my finger while cutting a dinner roll to make a sandwich (OK, it was 2:00am and I was drunk) and when I realized how deeply I’d cut myself, I made my sober brother drive me to the emergency room.

Little did I know, the doctor who sewed me up had completely failed to notice that I’d actually cut into my tendon as well. By the following day, my entire hand was throbbing and swollen and I hightailed to my own doctor who prescribed me some antibiotic pills. I found out later that the pills can’t actually penetrate into the tendon so the infection was allowed to grow, easily causing me the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

One more trip to the emergency room and I was admitted for the night on IV antibiotics. The next morning, still puzzled by the persistent infection, the doctor scheduled me for surgery. Apparently, the extent of the infection was so extreme they nearly amputated right then and there, but they decided to irrigate the tendon. I spent the next 4 days in hospital stoned out of my gourd on Demerol while they pumped gallons of antibiotics into my hand and finger. After weeks of physiotherapy I was finally able to restore my hand to about 90% of the strength and flexibility it once had.

If the original doctor had actually done her job properly and disinfected and stitched the tendon I would’ve gotten off with a sore finger for a few days. Later investigation showed that she’d been bounced from hospital to hospital and was completely incapable of holding down a private practice. Lucky me.

Years ago, my father had gall bladder trouble, but the doctor tried everything such as taking out his appendix. Finally another doctor said, “Well from the tests it is obvious what is wrong”. Turned out the first doctor was color blind.

My Daddy was in the hospital for minor surgery on his throat. While he was there, he told the Dr. he was having some prostate trouble, so a technician did a procedure to test for cancer that involves inserting a wire into the penis to get a sample. During the procedure his bladder was punctured but they didn’t know about it until they irigated his bladder with saline, and the saline leaked out of the puncture, and flooded his internal organs. He died 9 days later.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was having some unusual pain and spotting. I was not using the local medical facilities, because I think they are HIGHLY incompetent. The doctor I was seeing was an hour’s drive away. She was running tests on me which all appeared to be normal. One afternoon, I experienced sudden agonizing pain that put me on the floor and caused me to vomit. I felt that I should go to the nearest hospital since I was sure this constituted an emergency. My mom drove me there, but I was told that they could do nothing for me because I was pregnant, and that the local OB would not see me because I wasn’t HIS patient. They privately expressed their opinion that I was panicking over some pain and spotting and didn’t so much as take my blood pressure before sending me to my own doctor (an hour away, remember). When I arrived, they took numerous ultrasounds, and it was discovered that I had a ruptured tubal pregnancy and was bleeding internally. By the time I got into surgery, I had lost a liter of blood abdominally. My hubby said that when he first saw me after the operation, you could hardly even see my lips, I was so ghostly pale. Needless to say, I STILL do not use the local facilities, except for minor illnesses, because they are uncaring idiots and I could have bled to death had I taken as truth their opinion of my so-called panic.

Yep. Before and after some pretty extensive surgery to repair my left fibula and tibia, which I had broken into several pieces, I spent a couple of weeks flat on my butt in bed, much of it in the hospital. The day after I was released from the hospital, a physical therapist came to my house to evaluate me. I was having a pretty hard time getting around, what with the metal shish kebab rods, aka external fixator, sticking out of my leg and the weakness from the surgery and all. Not fun.

I asked her whether it was to be expected that I wa a bit sore behind my knee, given the circumstances, although I hadn’t specifically injured my knee. She was a bit concerned, and had my ortho doctor order an ultrasound of my leg.

Lo and behold, they found deep vein thrombosis: a honking huge blood clot in my leg, up near the hip joint. This can easily come loose and travel to the heart or lungs, potentially causing death. My internist, HMO moron that she was, said she hadn’t bothered to order the $20 test that would have found the clotting issue, because I was young (28) and therefore supposedly not at risk for blood clots. Nevermind that I was on the Pill when I broke my leg (which is a risk factor) and had just been through extensive leg surgery and been confined to bed, essentially unable to move, for over 2 weeks (also risk factors).

I was readmitted to the hospital straight from the ultrasound lab, and spent an additional week there on intravenous blood-thinning drugs, which I’m sure was a bit more expensive than the $20 test that would have found the problem while I was in the hospital the first time, where I could have easily been teated with basically no additional expense. Stupid HMO!

hillbilly queen that’s a terrible story. Some doctors really think they know everything.

A post op infection after my appendicitus went undetected for a week. After being released from the hospital with a fever, I was readmitted after a week. Three weeks and an operation later, I was released from the hospital.

This was when I was a junior in high school. Last year (ten years later) I found out that most all of my classmates were told that I was expected to not make it through the hospital stay.

No one told me, I just didn’t know how close I came.

I’ve had many experiences of going to a doctor, saying “I think my problem is thus-and-so,” and being told (very condescendingly) that I am all wrong and I’m so lucky that I’m in the hands of a doctor who knows everything. Later, it inevitably turns out that I was right and the doctor was wrong, and in the meantime I’ve been sick or in pain for no good reason. But fortunately none of these was life threatening…no, wait, there was the time I was given ampicillin, even though I’m allergic to penicillin, plus high doses of an antihistamine, to cure an allergy-related sinus infection. I was too feverish to pay any attention to what I was being given. The antihistamine and the ampicillin were counterbalancing each other and duking it out in my body while I got more and more ill. Every day I called the doctor, saying that I was getting much worse, not better; and every day he discounted what I was saying and told me to keep taking the medicine. I ran out of the antihistamine before I ran out of the ampicillin, and broke out in a rash that looked like bright red ferns all over my body - that was the tip-off for the doctor, finally. I stopped taking anything at all and started getting better right away.

When I was 13, I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I was misdiagnosed three or four times. It’s sort of understandable, because the early symptoms are so common–headache, lethargy, fever, etc.
But by day 12, I was covered with red spots and had a fever of 105.4. My mom took me to the ER, and the first doc that saw me took one look (literally–he looked at me for maybe 5 seconds) and told my mom I had measles and to get me out because I was contaminating everything. My mom questioned his opinion, he got furious and stomped out.
Now, the reason I love nurses: The nurse on duty got on the phone and called another doctor (who wasn’t even an ER doc), and told him she had someone he needed to see. He reminded her, “You know I don’t treat children,” to which she said, “This little girl needs you!”
And he came, bless his heart. He looked at me and there was an almost audible “click” when everything fell into place. He started me on huge doses of tetracycline, and (obviously) I pulled through.

Years later, he told my aunt that he didn’t think I would survive, and that I should never have been able to have children. (Go figure.)

I was hospitalized for 8 days and “sickly” for years after, but I can honestly say I reached the mortality window for RMSF and survived…


Not me, but when my wife had to have her gall bladder removed, it was only after the ER doctor had diagnosed it as acid reflux and told her to take some Tums, even after she had pointedly asked him if it could be a gall bladder problem.

Next morning we were back in the ER and she was told that it was indeed gall stones and the gall bladder had to come out that day, and that she should call the surgeon and make an appointment when we got home! I’ll never understand why she wasn’t admitted right there and then and scheduled for the surgery instead of expecting us to go home and call the surgeon ourselves.

Later that day, my severely jaundiced (I mean bright yellow, folks) and nearly unconscious wife was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance to have her gall bladder removed - a gall stone had been blocking her kidney duct and causing all kinds of problems.

I was going in to get my tubes tied. They gave me the initial “groggy” shot and were wheeling me to the operating room. Then they got real dramatic and shouted,“STOP THE OPERATION!” Evidentally, my pre-op blood tests showed that I was suffering from acute renal failure. They sent me home to take some hideous medicine to clear out my system so they could run big tests the next day.

After I drank the hideous stuff, they called and said that the lab had made a mistake and had switched my blood test with someone else (who I HOPE didn’t DIE, fercrissakes). I probably would have sued, but I was so thankful to finally get off the toilet, I just let the whole incident slide.

Two years ago I nearly lost my son (at the time just under 16). He complained of a sore throat on a Friday night. No big, we’ll keep track of it. Saturday night, still sore, some minor swelling on his neck. Well, that’s a new symptom, so said we’d check in w/doctor on Monday. Sunday am, much worse, so we co to the redi-care.

They find he’s got Mono, give him a shot of steroids to reduce the swelling in his neck, send him home w/painkillers and cautions about ‘opportunistic infections’.

Monday feeling better, Tuesday evening, starts running a fever, swelling in his neck has returned. Go back to redi-care (ie not wait to see family doc in am), he’s got strep, too. they prescribe some antibiotics that are about 6 inches long, 3 inches wide and dry as chaulk (I may be exaggerating a tad). They tell me to come back/call family doctor in 48 hours if he’s not better.

I called after 12 hours. and again after 18. They kept urging me to hold off, give the antibiotics a chance to work. Finally, about 22 hours after he was seen by the dweeb at the redi care, I talked to family doc, “he can’t even swallow enough to take his meds, has had 2 popsicles in the past 10 hours”. He told me to take him to the ER, and he’d call ahead to get him admitted.

At the ER, they hooked him up to antibiotics, steroids, fluids, morphine etc, came by said ‘we’re going to admit him after we run a few more tests’. ANother test goes by, 'we’re going to admit him to the INtensive care ward, since the tests show that the swelling from the mono on the outside of his neck, coupled w/the swelling from the strep on the inside of his throat have comprimised his airway, they’re not sure that the meds will take hold before it closes off completely, & they’d be able to do an immediate tracheotomy at the ICU. Some more time goes by and then they say they’re waiting for a surgeon to come and evaluate him to see if he needs immediate surgury (3 am).

FInally admitted to the ICU, they had to wake him to start him breathing again a couple of times. At this point, it was still less than 48 hours after we’d last been seen. Had I listened to /abided by that doctor’s assesment, my son wouldn’t be here.

He was in ICU til Saturday. Then, after 4 days of intervenous antibiotics, morphine drip, steroids, fluids, they sent us home w/ no prescriptions…

I was a breech birth. When the doctor reached in with the forceps (or whatever the heck you call 'em) to turn me around the right way, he somehow managed to damage my right ear, giving me permanent nerve deafness. Thank goodness the guy managed to not smash my head in. Mom switched doctors after that.

I was diagnosed and then re-diagnosed (by the same shitty doctor) as having “just a bad flu”. I finally decided to go the hospital just because I was worried I hadn’t eaten anything in almost a week, I think I was too sick to even realise how sick I was, but the paramedics took one look at me (104 degree fever, blue lips, virtually immobile) and knew straightaway what the problem was. In fact it was bacterial pneumonia and the doctors at the hospital said it could have killed me if I hadn’t finally got proper treatment for it.

My sister had out patient back surgery. It went well, but the surgeon nicked her bowel before he stitched her back up. The next day she called the hospital to complain of severe stomach pain. The nurse blew her off, assuming she just wanted stronger pain meds. The day after that, the same. The third day, after not being allowed to speak to the doctor, sis called our mom, a registered RN, who called the doctor to raise holy heck. With no results, my mom raced down to LA (about two and a half hours) and drove my sister to to the ER. She had emergency surgery and would have died if mom had gotten her there any later. This is not the end of the story. My sister was in the hospital for weeks and weeks on strong pain meds and stronger antibiotics. She fluctuated between some reality and mostly a paranoid half-conciousness in which she was convinced the nurses and doctors were in cahoots with the devil and God had turned his back on her. Understandable given the situation. She lost tens of pounds. She performed bizarre synchronized rituals to trick the nurses and ward off death, or so she thought, mostly due to the morphine. Fortunately she recovered. She now has a stronger relationship with god, but also a strong distrust of surgery.

Once, at a local medical clinic, I wrote on a “new patient form” what drugs I’m allergic to. Later, in the exam room, I told a nurse what drugs I’m allergic to. When the doctor showed up to examine me, I also told him what drugs I’m allergic to. Nodding wisely, the doctor set his prescription pad down on the stack of papers that included the new patient form and the nurse’s notes and wrote me a prescription for one of the drugs I’m allergic to.

This is the same (highly respected) clinic where my father-in-law found out he was taking drugs for his ovaries.* :rolleyes: sigh

Then there was the time a couple nurses forgot I was in the room with them. While they were trying for the umpteenth time to start an IV in my wife’s arm, Nurse One confided to Nurse Two that she accidently gave some cancer patient’s pain medicine to the wrong person. Oops.

*It was my mother-in-laws medicine; they thought she had ovarian cancer, but she didn’t.

really not life or death, but when i was 17, i had started skipping periods, so they did an ultrasound to make sure i wasn’t pregnant, even though i had never had sex yet. They found a few cysts on my ovaries, and told me, oh everyone has a couple. After I got married, I saw another Doctor,who told me that all young women go through a time where they don’t have periods, and that it was normal for someone my age to not have a period for 6 months at a time, but bleed and bleed and bleed for a month and a half straight. As someone who now lives 5 years later with full Blown Polycystic ovarian syndrome, I hope they all get rashes in bad places.

I broke my jaw in a car accident when I was nearly 2 years old. My mom has told me that when I got to the hospital, they put me in a room with another little girl. Something was wrong with that kid but the doctors couldn’t figure it out. My mom looked at her and thought it looked like meningitis. She informed the docs and nurses, but she’s NAD so they didn’t listen to her. I guess a few hours later Mom was still at it, so the doctors finally ran some tests on the kid to see if she was right. Guess what! She was! I was immediately removed from that room and carefully watched for a while to make sure I hadn’t contracted it. I guess that isn’t life or death exactly, but it could have been.