Spoke too soon

25 Jan, '04

Unfortunately my dad is back in the ICU again. He was feeling lethargic, sleepy and couldn’t keep his food down. Thinking that this is just a reaction to the various medicines he’s already had, and the bunch of pills he has to take for a while now (he’s got 8 packets with 1 ointment!) So I called one of his doctors – the heart guy where he suggested that as his heart was “perfect” when he left hospital, I might want to contact the internal medicine and diabetes guy which I did and he suggested that I bring him in.

In we go at around 5.30 pm only to be told half an hour later that he’s still got fluid in his lungs and he has to be admitted yet again, but this time the doctor warned dad not to complain at the length of stay as he expects that he’ll be there for a week.

Lovely.

So whey the hell did they release him in the first place? I would have thought that a hospital which happily charges BD 400 per day for the pleasure of being in the ICU without counting the various doctors, consultation, nursing, food, medicine charges would be happy to keep patients in there as long as possible, yet the doctor in charge of his case was harassed and he subsequently succumbed twice: [1] to move him out of the ICU into a “normal” room, and [2] to release him when dad wanted released.

I compared his release x-ray with his admittance (last night) one and found that true enough there is more fluid in the lungs when compared with the release x-ray. But the question is why would they release him with fluid still in the lungs in the first place? Case for malpractice? Any (competent) Bahraini lawyers who would like to take this case around?

The lead doctor caring for him now is the head of the cardiology dept and he seems competent. When he described what he has to do to dad last night I thought I’d better get another opinion. Thankfully I got in contact with the top heart surgeon at the Bahrain Defense Forces Hospital (BDF) and asked him to discuss the situation with each other at the end of which he (BDF) advised me to leave him where he is and let the doctor do his work as moving him from one hospital to another in this condition is inadvisable.

He’s in your hands doctor.

An hour later he came out and took me aside. He explained to me that what he did for dad is a simple thing that normally one of his assistance would have performed (he inserted a catheter direct to the heart in order to ingest medicines direct to the heart thus faster action and better to strengthen the heart muscles) which is true enough I found out, it’s just like having an IV needle, except this one is a bit longer and it goes straight to the heart through an artery in the shoulder area. He also said that he’s a professor of cardiology from Rotterdam and that I should trust his opinions.

I asked him to trust my opinion as well and that it is my right to question and get answers as well as get another opinion. He fully agreed with me. I can’t help but sense a little bit of bitterness though, but I guess he’s got to be used to that from patients or their relatives.

Dad’s again stable. His blood pressure is back to approximate normal levels and so is his pulse rate. Both of which were through the roof last night. Again.

We pray that he’ll be all right and back with us healthy again soon. This time I won’t allow him or anyone else to harass the doctors to release him early.

Filed in: General

Comments (8)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Spoke too soon

    Mahmood,

    Our hearts and prayers are with your father and your family on this side of the world. Stay strong.

    Mark

  2. anonymous says:

    Spoke too soon

    It’s not every son who could navigate the hospital world as deftly as you have. Good work. Your father is lucky to have such an advocate at his side. I’d like to add my prayers and best wishes for him to those expressed by your other commenters.
    Terry
    PS The comment above about walking around is good, although he may not be able to do that til his heart is stronger. I’m just beginning to learn about the risk of pneumonia in my respiratory classes. Taking a deep breath now and then will help, as will coughing occasionally. The idea is just to prevent the lower airways from closing up or filling with fluid, but your doctors will know way more about that than I do!

  3. anonymous says:

    Spoke too soon

    Get your dad out of IHB and into the BDF. If hez got cardiac problems, IHB is certainly not the place for him. There’s a fantastic heart surgeon in the BDF (Dr. Habib AlTareif). you might know him and his wife Dr. Mary. They are both professionals in the field.

    regards,
    Anonymous =)

  4. anonymous says:

    Spoke too soon

    I know the feeling well. Went through all of this with my own dear Mother

    The thing about the senior citizens, especially when they have chest trouble, is not to leave them languishing on their backs in hospital beds for too long. (I was told it leaves them prone to pneumonia.) This often results in treatment which appears at first sight to be rather harsh, even the old ladies with hip replacement get nagged out of bed within 36 hours of their op. But apparently movement and activity are crucially important.

    Perhaps when your Dad is out of immediate trouble, he might benefit from a convalescent hospital for a while. Someplace where he can get up and dressed each morning, but be regularly monitored by the nursing staff also. (This is good psychologically as well as physiologically, it keeps their spirits up, and visiting hours tend to be very relaxed.) I do hope it all goes well this time, and he returns home fighting fit.

    Meggie

  5. mahmood says:

    Re: Spoke too soon

    Thank you Meggie, I will convey your regards to him when I visit him this afternoon.

    What you say is absolutely correct, this is what the doctor advised him too, but with up to 7 IV bottles connected with all the heart monitoring wires there is not much chance of that. As you said, once he’s out of the ICU we’ll get him up and walking, even it it’s in the room or the corridor.

    As far as I know there are no convalescent hospitals in Bahrain, but the IHB (with a slight twist of the arm) allows a lot of visitors in, even in ICU, but I took it upon myself to explain to everyone to keep the visit short and sweet. Mind you, my dad’s got a good trick, he just switches his hearing aid off and he’s not bothered by anyone anymore!

  6. mahmood says:

    Re: Spoke too soon

    That’s exactly what I wanted to do, however by the time we reached the hospital and they started diagnosing him it was too late. He was once again going into heart failure.

    We didn’t think it’s once again a heart problem – remember we took him in because he was tired and we related that to the amount of medicines he’s taken over the past few days.

    Before they admitted him however I did call Dr. Badran of the BDF and got him and Dr. El-Said to talk to each other over the phone to arrive at a concensus and also to satisfy me that the proposed actions by Dr. El-Said were the “right” thing to do, especially as to putting the catheter to the heart. I was assured by Dr. Badran (head of cardiology at the BDF) that this was alright, and further, as dad was in a critical condition it would not have been medically sound for us to move him from one hospital to another. He suggested that once he gets stable, we can take him to Dr. Badran for another look and ensure that everything is ok. This is good enough for me at the moment.

  7. mahmood says:

    Re: Spoke too soon

    thank you very much for that. I really appreciate the emotional support you all are giving me and I will certainly let dad know that people are asking after him.

  8. mahmood says:

    Re: Spoke too soon

    Thank you again Mark, appreciate all the support you have given me. I hope you too are well soon and keep your chin up!

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