Fun Times with Heart Disease....


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Mountain climber
San Diego
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:40am PT
Sorry to hear this, Paul. Way too young to need to be worry about such things. Genetics are a major factor in these types of things, I'm told. I've been getting checked out for recent high BP (I'm 33)- runs in my family along with heart attacks...Doc said doesn't matter how well you eat/take care of yourself, if the genes spell trouble, it's really hard to avoid the conditions. Hope things turn out well for you.
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:41am PT

Social climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 07:41am PT
This is pretty much my nightmare, wondering when something like this will happen to me. When I was about 5 I found out that I inherited a genetic defect from my Mother that causes high cholesterol. Heart disease killed her father in his early 40s when she was 12 or so, and it killed many of his brothers. I am 33 now and only have cholesterol in the "normal" range thanks to a very high does of Lipitor.

Your are lucky that it is something they caught before the worst happened.

A couple years ago, when she was in her early 60s, my Mother died from a STEMI (ST segment myocardial infarction), which had been misdiagnosed. She had warning signs for several weeks (unstable angina) which was misdiagnosed as muscular-skeletal issues relating to arthritis and a recent car accident. She had been to the ER several times and had been to her doctors office a few times over these few weeks. Almost unbelievable it was not properly diagnosed given her family history. On her first visit she told them she thought she was having a heart attack (she wasn't, but she was very close to having one).

After dealing with this severe pain on and off for several weeks she woke up with severe pain in her neck, back, and jaw and went by ambulance to the ER. On the day of her heart attack it was something like 4 hours in the ER before they finally diagnosed it and took her by life flight to a hospital in Portland Maine (my parents live in rural Maine). By the time she made it to the hospital it had been a long time since the event started and a lot of damage was done. They attempted to put in a stent but ended up having to do a triple bypass. She passed away the next day. Medical experts have told us that if they had properly diagnosed the heart attack that day in the ER she would have survived, and that the ER PA and supervising physician basically violated the standards of care by not ruling out a heart attack immediately given her symptoms.

While this was happening I was attending a conference in Amsterdam. I was already planning to travel home the next day but changed my flight to take the first flight of the day to Boston so I could take a bus up to Portland, which seemed to be the fastest way to get form Amsterdam to Portland. By the time I got through immigration, got my baggage, and got through customs I was very close to missing the next bus. I literally stepped out of the terminal and the bus to Portland stopped at the curb right in front of me. My mother died an hour or two after I made it to the hospital (we decided to remove life support when it was apparent that she wasn't going to recover).

I often think about the last time I saw her and how I don't want my son (now 5) to have to see me like that.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 22, 2013 - 08:37am PT
Paul, Thankfully you caught it before any damage was done by a heart attack. We get dealt gene cards and you're playing yours right. BTW my wife works in cardiac surgery ICU with access to both surgeons and cardiologists so if you have questions please send me a PM.....the very best to you.

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Aug 22, 2013 - 09:12am PT

Good luck man!!!...


Ice climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Beaner, that had to be hell.
Sorry to hear about your experience.
Any legal action?
Johnny K.

Aug 22, 2013 - 10:41am PT
Paul I hope the best for you to have a healthy future. Preventive check ups and regularly staying on top of everything with your Dr's is the best thing you can do,glad you caught everything very soon.

Social climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 01:05pm PT

Based on the medical records there is no evidence that standard of care was not met until her last ER visit. Medical records are considered the absolute truth, so even though she many have complained about something like jaw pain if it wasn't in the records it didn't happen. Also there was the confounding issue of the recent car accident (hit by texting driver). For the last day in the ER, based on the medical records, it is pretty clear that they were negligent and it likely resulted in her death.

My father sued the hospital on behalf of my Mother's estate. In Maine, the maximum award for a case like this is a little over half a million dollars. Much larger awards can be made for pain and suffering or loss of income, but neither of those really apply in this case. They can only award money for pain and suffering from when they can prove the negligence began -- in this case it would be pain and suffering covering a period of hours. And loss of income doesn't apply because my parents were both teachers and elected to take a slightly reduced pension payment that would remain unchanged if one of them passed away.

In Maine these medical malpractice cases need to go before a panel before they are allowed to go to trial. The panel consists of a panel chair, a former lawyer who does this as a full time job and is quite knowledgeable about medical malpractice. There is a medical expert, in this case an ER doctor because the case is against the ER department, and a lawyer. I believe the doctor and lawyer are required to do this as part of their obligations for state licensing. We won the panel hearing 3-0, which means the hospital's insurance company will probably settle before the trial starts, but it hasn't happened yet. So out of a 500-600K settlement the lawyer will take a fixed percentage plus expenses (one expert witness from Boston and one from Cleveland had to be paid to review the records and travel to Maine to testify at the panel, our lawyer had to meet with them prior to the hearing to take their depositions, etc). My father will be lucky to end up with $300K, but it really isn't about the money -- it is about acknowledging responsibility, reviewing procedures, and making sure it doesn't happen again. BTW, the hospital conducted an internal review and the physicians assistant (who was responsible for most of her treatment at the ER) is no longer employed at that hospital (I do not think this is a coincidence) and the supervising physician is retiring (may be a coincidence).

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Aug 22, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
Paul, all the best of luck to you.


Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2013 - 12:08am PT
Got out of OP around 2:30 today. One artery was 70% blocked and the other was 90% blocked. The main artery, the LAD looked good. they through 2 stents in and did some ballooning. Turns out I had one if the top cardiac intervention docs in the world from Stanford, Dr. Fearon. Moreover, he only comes to the VA 1 day a week...thursdays. WIN!

I'll be outta here tomorrow.

thanks for all the warm thoughts!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:50am PT
That's fantastic news Paul. Glad to hear it!
Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Aug 23, 2013 - 01:00am PT
Three cheers for Paul !!
One hell of a brave dude both in El Cap and when facing health crisis.

You are the man brother

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Aug 23, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Good luck paul- i just recently joined 'cardiac club" at 53.. 3 weeks in hospital... maybe needing a LVAD device (Ihope not) and bilateral pacemaker, but not now, the ticker is just too weak

Light excersise,walking and meds for a couple months, I have already gotten some fuction back
Messages 41 - 53 of total 53 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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