Christina and her father, Dave - 1998
Fatal Type A Aortic Dissection
6 January 2005
My father passed away on 5/24/2003 from a Type A Aortic Dissection. I am looking for additional survivors with this same type of scenario.
They found his tear more than 24 hours before he died suddenly in front of the hospital chapel as they wheeled him down for a scope to see if he had any ulcers or hernia that would cause blood in his stools.
He went into the ER on 5/22/2003 very early a.m. with left arm and leg numbness, chest tightening and severe indigestion. They treated him as a heart attack patient for several hours in the ER. Finally they did a nuclear stress test that showed low blood flow to the left bottom wall of his heart. They admitted him from there, they put him on his bed in the hallway waiting for transport to the heart floor for at least 45 minutes. When he arrived in his room he felt nauseous and vomited all over the floor. My father was about 6'2 to 6'3 weighing about 260-270. He was a smoker but tryng to quit. He became very sad at this point as the nurse acted as though this was intentional.
That evening he laid in bed normal as can be watching TV dozing in and out of sleep. We left for the evening to return in the morning for part two of the nuclear stress test on 5/23/2003. In the ER they ran an EKG which was normal, low blood pressure and all labs seemed to be normal or fine according to the nursing staff and cardiac doctor. He wasn't getting any better so they did the second test and it came back negative, they then did the 2D echocardiogram which is when they found his aortic tear, which the doctor called a leaky valve nothing major to be concerned about but that they would monitor the situation. We were relieved for that moment.
They decided to move onto his stomach and digestive track, they scheduled him for the scope for the next a.m. My sister and I and my son and her son stayed we watched CSI: Vegas with him then the fire works out of the hospital window from the baseball game that had just ended, he walked us all to the elevator and hugged good-bye, as I got on I teased him and said if he wasn't careful I would be there for his test at 6 a.m. the next day. I came home got some sleep.
I left my home the next morning about 7:15 a.m. arrived at the hospital feeling very calm and laid back. I got to his room and they had already pre-medicated him and taken his heart monitor off. I called my sister to make sure she was on her way as he asked if she would make it. I could tell he was nervous about the procedure. Within minutes they came in to let him know anytime they would be coming to get him. He then told me he had the same symptoms he had the morning he went to the ER. I asked if he had told the nurse he said he did, but I let the tech know just to be on the safe side. She said I will let his nurse know. No one knew what was about to happen.
The transporter came with a wheel chair just as my father started coughing, and said this dang tickle I hate those you can never get rid of them. We joked about it to the elevator. As we got on there was another patient on with us, he talked to her and that seemed to help his nerves a little. As we came to the first floor corridor I was telling the transporter that I worked for the billing office for the hospital making small talk as my father grasped the wheelchair handles and said wait a minute, wait a minute, as he seized and went back in the chair and I heard the last breath escape from his body I knew something went terribly wrong.
The transporter raced around the corner with my father nonresponsive as I am screaming dad, dad, come on dad wake up. She called a code blue and the pediatric ER doors flew open and they took him off into a room and pulled me into a little office by myself. A nurse came into the room with in minutes and said they are putting a tube in his throat to help him breath and stabilize him. Then a chaplain came in with a bible and cross. I knew at that time I would have to make five calls I never thought I would.
My father never woke up and after all of us arrived we decided after an hour and half of CPR to call his time of death. The cardiologist that had stated the day before he could not do an angiogram due to a stroke was now saying I didn't think there was a need for one. He highly suggested an autopsy which was performed the following week.
It wasn't until 12/2003 that my sister and I had enough courage to get the full report that we knew what had killed our father. I have done a little research with the Internet on the aortic dissections and have decided I need to know more about it for my sake and my children. I don't want my kids to see me go the way he went so suddenly, that was the most painful day in my life. Any info on this subject would be greatly appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read my story.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Christina Fitzgerald
© Copyright 2004 Christina