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Doctors ignored my husband's pain

MagazineNovember 2003 (Vol. 14 Issue 8)Doctors ignored my husband's pain

For 10 months, my husband Chris had been suffering chest pain that doctors told us were probably due to his eating or drinking when he suffered a terrible attack of pain in his chest, jaw and teeth while we were out shopping

For 10 months, my husband Chris had been suffering chest pain that doctors told us were probably due to his eating or drinking when he suffered a terrible attack of pain in his chest, jaw and teeth while we were out shopping. He was sweating and crying from the pain.

I took him to hospital, and the doctor on duty thought Chris had a gallbladder problem and prescribed painkillers, and said he would arrange for some tests in 10 days' time. When I was told to take Chris home, I told the doctor I didn't think my husband would last the night, so he gave us a second packet of painkillers.

I then decided to take Chris to the emergency department of another hospital and, within minutes of arriving, Chris was surrounded by doctors and nurses who said he was suffering a heart attack. One staff member told me that Chris had suffered an attack earlier that day.

After treatment, he was put on oxygen and I eventually left to go home. Almost as I walked through the door, the hospital phoned to say my husband was suffering yet another attack and was being rushed to a different hospital for an emergency angioplasty. Chris was also being given clot-busting drugs.

On the way to that hospital, my husband complained of headache and the ambulance crew suspected bleeding on the brain caused by the drugs. A CT scan revealed a cerebral haemorrhage.

For several days afterwards, Chris could not tolerate light or sound, and was paralysed down the whole of his left side. He could not sit unsupported and was unable to feed himself. He had also lost the sight in both of his eyes.

In all, my husband spent 56 days in hospital, and his weight fell from 11 st 9 lb to just 9 st 7 lb.

He has not worked since then, and he has been left with hearing loss, memory problems and poor eyesight. He now attends a day centre where he is learning furniture restoration. We still have the painkillers the doctor gave us at the first hospital. - JP, West Sussex


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