On the morning of Aug 1, 2005, I awoke about 4am at home with severe chest pain. It was an intense pain I had never had before.So this is the organization that wants to put in a specialty Heart Hospital? Is this the same place that put up the signs for 'The Chest Pain Center'...and then didn't bother to inform the ER, nor staff appropriately?
Heartburn is something I almost never have, but I got up and chewed a couple of Alka-mints. The pain did not go away and seemed to gain intensity, so I woke my partner, significant other or whatever you want to call him. We have been living together for over 33 years and we have lived in ____ 22 years. He is also an ex-EMT basic. He had me lie down and administered oxygen. This helped a little bit, but I still had chest pain and trouble breathing. We decided I needed to go to the ER in Paris.
He drove me there and we arrived at 5:46am. Once in the ER, I sat at a desk while a nurse took my name, address, etc. and finally I was laid down and hooked up to a monitor with my blood pressure all over the chart and pulse as low as 37. When my pulse dropped below 40, an alarm went off and no one came in. I had to tell the nurse that it had gone off. She just looked at me with a blank look on her face.
Over several hours, I was given an Xray, an ECG and had blood drawn. I was left unattended all of the time while they worked on a couple of more patients that they said were critical. I was there forty-nine minutes before I was given nitro several times with no let up of chest pain.
I was never given any aspirin or any other drug of any kind. I was never asked if I had a history of heartburn or upset stomach. Dr Hobbs came in only once for a very short visit. He never listened to my heart or lungs or asked any questions about my history. My partner was in the room with me when asked by nurse Debra Crews who he was. He replied that he was my significant other.
After that statement, the atmosphere seemed to change and I was left lying there with only occasional checks on the monitor. Thirty minutes after shift change at eight a.m., Dr. Rowe came and stood in the door. He said I had GERD and gave me a prescription for a prev-pak ($300). He said my sugar level was high at 146. I asked what should it be and he said "140". Then he sent me home.
All the time Dr. Rowe was in the room he didn't come near me. He never examined me or listened to my heart and lungs. He never asked me any questions or medical history. I went home and the chest pain mostly went away late that afternoon. This visit cost the VA over $2,500. I believed the doctor and thought I had GERD.
The rest of the week was spent in agony. My arms hurt, my legs hurt, I couldn't eat, my blood pressure stayed very low and averaged about 70/50 which is really not enough for kidneys to work properly. By Friday morning, August 5th when I went to Bonham to the VA clinic, my blood was toxic and my heart in really bad shape.
They did an EKG and sent me by ambulance to the Bonham hospital to stabilize me before I was sent to Wilson N. Jones Medical Center in Sherman to the emergency room to be sent to a heart cath lab. There I had one stent put in and angioplasty. They left some blockages because I was on the verge of kidney failure, and more dye would have probably shut down my kidneys. I was told by the renal specialist that I came very, very close to death. Fortunately, I have good kidneys and passed the toxins quickly.
I was released on August 7th. Two days stay at the hospital in Sherman cost the VA $140,000. Later the next week, I was charged over $43 for a copy of my medical records from Paris Regional Medical Center to give to my VA doctor. There were no strips from the monitor in the ER in these records or doctor notes.
When I picked up the records, I asked if I was getting a copy of everything in my medical records and was assured that I was. The ECG in these records clearly showed abnormal heart functions.
On August 20th, I had chest pain and it felt as if I had a heavy weight on my chest. I called the Dallas VA hospital and was told to call 911 or go to the nearest ER. I told them I would rather take my chances on the road to Dallas than to go to the ER in Paris again. I went to the ER at the Dallas VA hospital and was admitted and had another heart cath on Monday, August 22nd. They put in another stent and more angioplasty. I was released on the 23rd with medications for my heart and will do follow-up in the cardiology clinic there.
I believe I was denied medical care for the heart attack I was having when I came into the ER at Paris Regional Medical Center for several reasons. First, I did not have the blank check of Medicare or Medicaid. Second, the personnel at the ER seemed to have no training in treatment of chest pain (heart attack) patients which is simply an aspirin and nitro glycerin under the tongue immediately. Third, Dr. Hobbs and Dr. Lowe acted like they really didn't care about me at all and neither listened to my heart, lungs or asked any questions and seemed to have no training in ER procedures.
I truly believe that if my heart attack had been diagnosed properly at the ER at Paris Regional Medical Center, I would not have gone through so much pain and agony and damage to my heart would have been minimal. By not treating me at all, Paris Regional Medical Center has taken years from my life and is liable for all medical expenses, ambulance trips, medicine and all other expenses incurred by the Veterans Administration clinic and hospitals.
And the gay issue...do all Essent hospitals have a problem with that? Personnel need to park their personal beliefs at the door. A patient is a patient is a patient...and they need your care. If you can't provide that, you need to get out of the medical field.
Yes, patients can have their own beliefs--and we have to respect them. That's part of the job. That's part of your training. 'First: Do no harm.' That includes 'by omission', as well.