I have an emergency room disaster story. I was awakened from my sleep struggling for my breath. I had to call an ambulance because the shortness of breath situation went on and on.
I got to the emergency room; told the doctor and nurse and the triage person before them about what happened as I stated above adding I’d never experienced this before. I was going to try to use my son’s nebulizer treatment, but, couldn’t get up the stair to get to it so I called the ambulance.
The nurse hooked me up to the telemetry monitor, gave me a nebulizer treatment, drew blood, an EKG was performed, I was given IV Fluid and oxygen by nasal cannula. After several hours I was breathing okay so, I was told by the doctor I had bronchitis and discharged. I was very tired; and had a couple of brief episodes of shortness of breath several times over the course of a month’s time, but, the lingering thing that seemed to grow worse was the tiredness to the point that I could no longer walk from the nearby parking garage to my worksite without stopping and standing to rest, and I was short of breath but not the sudden onset like the first even or occasional brief episodes during this month when I was at rest.
I decided to see my primary care doctor, so, I stopped by the hospital to get copies of the discharge records the ER had given to me that day I was brought there. The medical records lady didn’t know if she was to give me copies of certain documents or all of them. I said just give them all to me my doctor will decide what he needs.
As I stopped to rest once I got to my car before driving to my doctor’s office. I saw an EKG which had not been given to me and usually is not given by ER to patients. But the EKG machine had printed on mine: Abnormal EKG, Left Bundle Branch Block. Shocking! Neither the doctor nor the nurse mentioned this to me. I was told I had bronchitis. I am a nurse so I knew the significance of a left bundle branch block. My doctor referred me to a cardiologist who performed a persantine stress test and and ECHOcardiogram. I was given an appointment for an angiogram to be done the next day. Then the cardiologist called me within 30 minutes after I left his office asking me how I was feeling and whether I was having various symptoms he listed. I said I wasn’t, that I was doing my errands but taking my time. He told me if any of those or any other discomforts occur before my appointment the next day to call him on his cell phone (gave me the number) and said he will meet me at the hospital immediately and perform the angiogram right then.
I was okay and met him at the appointed time the next day. He told me the ECHO the day before showed an extremely low cardiac ejection fraction of 25% and said that was the bad news. The good news was that I had no arterial blockages nor inordinate plaque build up. But, I needed to start on medication right away which he prescribed and asked my daughter who was with me if she could go get that filled while she kept me there a little while longer to go over my other records which he had requested from my primary care doctor and the other cardiologist to whom my primary care doctor had referred me to, who had referred me to him after he saw me because one of his diagnostic equipment was not working to perform one of the first two tests.
I felt the ER doctor and nurse were negligent in not bring to my attention the left bundle branch block and telling me I had bronchitis instead because when we initially went over my history, I had no cardiac issues.