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View Diary: Jamie Lynn Russell: One Pregnant Woman's Tragic Death Reveals the Human Cost of Devaluing Women (100 comments)

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  •  I agree, ER staff was clearly to blame. (41+ / 0-)

    The ectopic pregnancy probability was as clear as full daylight. The first two sentences giving her age and complaint immediately put it at the top of the list to rule out. The 100% fatality rate for doing nothing is just as clear. This scenario should be, and probably is, a test question in the maternity section of RN licensing exams.

    Maybe the cops will be a little less willing to accept a patient in that kind of pain. Probably not if they don't get some kind of responsibility and consequences.

    This is similar to something my daughter encountered a few years ago at a local urgent care center. Unfortunately it started with my sister reneging on her agreement to take Lauren to the nearest emergency room. They were on the western slope camping when she started having severe cramps. Among her diagnoses is polycystic ovarian syndrome. My sister decided Lauren was asleep and drove past the ED in the largest town nearby, continuing hours on I 70 to the Denver area,  and  then stopped at an urgent care center. The doctor was concerned about giving any narcotics (Lauren barely uses anything for multiple pain issues) because her age became his conviction that she was drug seeking. She discovered this by requesting the medical record.

    Turns out it was a ruptured cyst, it just wasn't big enough to cause hemorrhaging that could have killed her. Her regular OB/GYN went so far as to write the urgent care facility and doctor to remind them of what could have been the result of ignoring her pain in evaluating her, let alone treatment, given her diagnosis of PCOS.

    The all too prevalent attitude of too many health care providers towards patients in pain is a big problem for me. I had started nursing school 37 years ago at a hospital that had an established pain clinic based on modern pain management. For decades I had to deal with physicians and nurses who had not heard of, or refused to accept, the 1-10 pain scale management concepts.

    About a decade + ago it became essential practice. All kinds of new paperwork, etc. We have now gone into backlash because a small  percentage of people have had lethal consequences, ~ 1% with addiction, and the chronic with inevitable tolerance (meaning their docs have slowly had to increase doses, so they have reached very high levels - far above starting doses). Every patient is now suspect. You have sickle cell anemia? Sure an attack is excruciatingly painful but you're really brown; you are obviously an addict, or you're selling. Limited pain meds for you.

    Too many health care professionals are becoming far too quick and willing to judge patients; using their own values to decide whether they will give accepted medical treatment or withhold it for religious or other inappropriate reasons. Our health care system is very, very sick.


    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 01:23:33 PM PST

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    •  I agree that (23+ / 0-)

      some nurses, particularly in ED, have become immune to patients' pain. Sometimes I think they should have to periodically rotate to the oncology service where they have to deal with pain all the time. They'd get a different view for sure! I remember a home health patient I had who had breast cancer that had metastasized not to her brain but her skull. She was on a PCA pump and I remember being amazed at the amount of pain medication she needed and was able to tolerate just so she could function normally.  Or my sickle cell patient.....well, I could go on, but you get the idea. There have always been judgmental nurses, but it's getting worse, not better.

      Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

      by Jilly W on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 03:27:04 PM PST

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    •  Years ago, I had a bad allergic reaction to an (19+ / 0-)

      ... antibiotic after surgery. The ER treated me as if I had OD'ed on narcotics. I hadn't had narcotics, even after surgery, because I'm entirely unable to tolerate them.

      The symptom the ER chose to pay attention to was the dilated pupils. They ignored everything else. Of course "everything else" comprised the symptoms associated with a toxic reaction to levaquin. It was literally killing me - among other things, dissolving the myelin sheath on the sensory motor neurons in the visual-spatial pathways in my brain. It had dropped my blood pressure so low, I was incapable of standing up. I was unable to remain awake for more than a few minutes at a time, and I spent quite a good number of my waking moments vomiting.

      It took 4 days for me to figure out what the problem was, at which time I called my primary, said I was discontinuing the levaquin and requesting something that might not kill me. In the mean time, I'd reached a point where my entire body felt like it was vibrating - like I was connected to an electrical socket. I lost the ability to balance in low light conditions - permanently. I've got tendons made of tissue paper. One bicep tendon is gone, and one achilles tendon and the posterior tibial tendon on the same foot have tried to tear, leading to major tendonitis.

      The drug war has turned this country's medical establishments into cynical wastelands. It's just too easy to write people off as "users."

      •  My god, you really got floxxed. (10+ / 0-)

        Levaquin-class antibiots are bad shit, and should be meds of last resort, like vancomycin, amphotericin-B, etc.

        I hope someday there will be massive, multibillion$$$ lawsuits with some hope of monetary recovery by people who have suffered as you have.


        by raincrow on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:36:28 PM PST

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        •  The stuff is bad news (7+ / 0-)

          The most annoying thing is that it seems most doctors are still entirely unaware of the black box warning that was required starting more than a year ago.

          I know because I was prescribed Cipro (same class, though I didn't know it) and prednisone (a steroid) at the same time just in time for Christmas last year. Turns out you're NEVER supposed to combine the two. Nor are you supposed to combine that class of antibiotics with NSAIDS. Well, thanks to arthritis, I've been on massive doses of NSAIDS for years. The combination is most likely what destroyed the tendons.

          After my achilles tried to rupture, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach and looked it up - sure enough CIPRO is the same family, and has the same warning. So I had to get a new antibiotic, and start months of physical therapy. And now I get to do it all over again, due to the PTT trying to rupture. As soon as I heard the "pop," I just wanted to cry. Being serially-disabled from a stupid antibiotic is just so incredibly frustrating.

          I know I'm going to have to be wary of some new version being approved in the US, whose name I won't recognize, so I won't know to tell the doctor to avoid it.

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