TALK TO A
Established April 15, 1995
University of West Georgia Disclaimer
28 July 2007
On July 7th of 2004, my husband came home from a golf class with our then 9 year old son and complained of chest pain that went through to his back. He also complained of pain up his neck as well as feeling light headed, almost blacking out and shortness of breath. He wasn't one to rush to a doctor so the pain had to be significant enough for him to contemplate calling an ambulance. Being a young couple with two small children, we decided that he would have to drive himself to the hospital in case insurance wouldn't cover the ambulance cost. I stayed home with our two boys. He spent many hours in the ER. They ran a number of test, including a chest xray and an EKG. They didn't find anything that they thought was significant so they told him to follow up with a heart doctor in the next few days.
Two days later, he followed up with the heart doctor who did no further tests, despite the fact that all of the symptoms remained. They scheduled a stress test for the next week and the doctor sent him home with Nitro tabs, Prilosec and baby asprin.
That night he decided to go to the local 24 hour clinic to see if they would have any other idea of what it may be - they wanted to do a chest xray but he refused since he felt he had already had the "experts" check his heart out in the hospital and then all those records re-reviewed (he assumed) by the heart doctor. The clinic doctor wanted him to follow up with an ultrasound but being a Friday, we would have to call on Monday to schedule that procedure. The doctor gave him some pain reliever, malox and sent him on his way. That was late Friday night.
On Sunday morning, July 11, 2004 my husband died of an aortic dissection on our bedroom floor with no one home. He was only 40 years old and left behind two sons, 9 and 4, at the time, and myself. He did not have Marfan's or any other genetic markers and no history of aortic dissection in his family.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about what we could have done different to get through to the doctors that this wasn't just indigestion - would they have been able to correct it with surgery? I worry about how many people go to their doctors complaining of the same type of symptoms and are overlooked and end up with the same fate. I worry about the fate of my sons future with no father in their life and such little attention to the possibility of this problem when someone presents with chest pain.
It helps me to read the stories of those whose condition was caught and corrected. It keeps me from not losing complete faith in the medical community. I can't imagine how hard it would be to live with the limitations one would have after having the surgery, but I sure wish my husband would have been here to be a father to his sons. Please try to enjoy every day that you are still here to love and watch your family grow.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Caroline Leahey
© Copyright 2007 Caroline
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