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Question
Posted by: Patricia | 2012/10/23

Not coping with my mom''s health decline

Hi
My mom has had 8 ops. She is 70. 3 years of hell. I am single. She is widowed. I take care of her. She has had the best private care I can afford. Numerous check ups, more scans and blood tests than what I can mention. Nowhere along the line did they pick up a heart problem. Last op was a few months ago. How is it possible? To my utter shock we found out today she has aortic stenosis and is having an angiogram on Friday with stents. To top it all she has some major abdominal issue maybe a post gall bladder op complication. Between the stress of it, worrying about losing her, the cost that medical aid does not pay and trying to take off work I feel ready to crack. I really do this time. I feel so angry. I am told today the only way they could pick it up is by sonar. So why, why, why when she complained of chest pain all the time did they not check her out? I feel as if private care let us down. I feel I let her down. I am trying to show a brave face for her sake but I feel so sad. I feel I am going to have to say goodbye to her soon. Wrong to put it out there. Now this explains the nightmare I have been having for weeks. I wanted to take her on holiday. I just spent my SARS refund paying off all the medical bills and back to square one. I truly feel shocked and she is so bouyant I am afraid she does not realise how serious it is. OK so inbetween crying and taking Urbanol how do I cope with this??? Also surgeons seem to operate and then go on holiday. I know they have lives too but shouldn''t they at least see a patient instead of flying off straight after an op?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sorry to hear about this, Patricia. Such stories make me sad and angry.
I have been through a similar experience, and know how tragic this can be. And sadly, it seems to me that while one wants the best care available for the person one loves, some doctors don't think carefully enough to weight costs and benefits to the patient and family.
I'm amazed that nobody picked up the heart problem earlier. I dont think I'm old-fashioned, but ANY doctor of ANY speciality when dealing with a person with physical illness, shouldlisten carefully to their heart, and an aortic stenosis produces characteristic sounds any of them ought to notice.
Not to check carefully when someone complains of chest pain is unbelievable. And I have never heard of significant aortic stenosis that can ONLY be diagnosed by sonar - how did we dinosaur docs manage in the days before sonar was available ? We examined carefully and listened carefully.
And to me its irresponsible to operate on a patient and then fly straight off on holiday, without making full and proper arrangements for complete aftercare for the patient AND family. There should be some form of Ombudsman to check on complex cases like this, to make sure proper care is delivered. And they must be around long enough to properly assess whether the operation was genuinely useful and to plan aftercare, AND to explain everything properly to the patient and their next of kin.
What do other readers think should be done in a situation like this ?
Are there any other family members and friends who can provide you with some support and the opportunity to talk this through ?
Is there someone senior at the hospital with whom you can discuss your very valid concerns about the standard of care provided ?

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/10/23

Sorry to hear about this, Patricia. Such stories make me sad and angry.
I have been through a similar experience, and know how tragic this can be. And sadly, it seems to me that while one wants the best care available for the person one loves, some doctors don't think carefully enough to weight costs and benefits to the patient and family.
I'm amazed that nobody picked up the heart problem earlier. I dont think I'm old-fashioned, but ANY doctor of ANY speciality when dealing with a person with physical illness, shouldlisten carefully to their heart, and an aortic stenosis produces characteristic sounds any of them ought to notice.
Not to check carefully when someone complains of chest pain is unbelievable. And I have never heard of significant aortic stenosis that can ONLY be diagnosed by sonar - how did we dinosaur docs manage in the days before sonar was available ? We examined carefully and listened carefully.
And to me its irresponsible to operate on a patient and then fly straight off on holiday, without making full and proper arrangements for complete aftercare for the patient AND family. There should be some form of Ombudsman to check on complex cases like this, to make sure proper care is delivered. And they must be around long enough to properly assess whether the operation was genuinely useful and to plan aftercare, AND to explain everything properly to the patient and their next of kin.
What do other readers think should be done in a situation like this ?
Are there any other family members and friends who can provide you with some support and the opportunity to talk this through ?
Is there someone senior at the hospital with whom you can discuss your very valid concerns about the standard of care provided ?

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