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Family Experiences Many Medical Errors

I can give you ALL kinds of errors – some of which I prevented.

1) My wife’s life was shortened by hepatitis C which she contracted at a clinic in Minnesota. She stayed at this clinic from 8/11/1981 to 8/20/1981. When my wife arrived at the clinic, after multiple tests, it was determined that she had no physical problem, but needed psychiatric treatment. (NOTE: No elevated liver enzymes.) As we were awaiting a taxi to depart, three doctors suddenly appeared (why THREE doctors?). They said her liver enzymes were "slightly elevated", and when we got back home to Clearwater, FL , we should have them checked. A week later she was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and later died of liver failure as a result. So do you think a famous clinic couldn’t tell she had hepatitis C when the doctor in Clearwater could?

2) My wife’s repeated largely psychosomatic (but not bi-polar) illnesses beginning in 1956 costing over $17,000 in 1991 alone, that ended dramatically over one night when she was FINALLY prescribed lithium in 1991, and never had another occurrence. My opinion is that doctors were prescribing just the latest, most expensive drugs (Elavil, Valium, etc.). The doctor at the NC hospital, who prescribed lithium after listening to her history, was adamant that she had a chemical problem and that lithium would solve her 35 year problem. The next morning it did – overnight – permanently.

3) My wife delivered our son on 2/12/1948, at a hospital in NC, when I was a student at NC State. She called me saying they were going to give her a transfusion, but they hadn’t even typed her blood. I rushed to the hospital in time to stand between my wife and the nurse with a hanging bag of blood. She threatened to call the police if I didn’t move. I suggested she do that, and the News and Observer would headline how I had saved my wife’s life. She left, nothing happened. I was sure then she had discovered her error, as did I. The blood was type A negative, for a lady in the next room, which would have killed my wife. I could go on.

4) My wife was given a prescription to destroy her "defective thyroid" after the doctor did a T-3 test. We got a second opinion. The doctor did a T-4 as well. There was nothing wrong with her thyroid.

5) My wife had a minor vaginal infection. The gynecologist in GA said she needed a hysterectomy. A second opinion produced a prescription which cleared the infection in a week.

6) My daughter Vivian’s breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997 at a hospital after her family doctor told her that if the lump hurt, it couldn’t be breast cancer. She had 17 infected lymph nodes before she got the second opinion. She’s actually still alive after spending 7 months at the hospital – primarily because of chemotherapy after effects.  Re-hospitalized 6/13-6/20 from an infected Hickman catheter, she ran a 103 degree temp for week.  She was then moved by ambulance to a different hospital at parental insistence, which immediately removed the infected catheter and solved the problem. However that hospital then caused her to get a C-diff infection with an abdominal bacterial infection. Vancomycin stopped the infection. The C-diff instigated Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which required apheresis to be begun daily. Almost every room in the ward had a "C-diff" sign.

7) Yesterday I got 2 spinal shots for spinal stenosis after waiting the obligatory hour past my appointment time. The bill for the 7.5 minutes door-to-door in the procedure room was $1884.50. At 8 hours/day, 20 days/month, assuming the usual patient takes twice the time I was given, that comes to $1,206,080 per month.

You don’t have space for all the stories.