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Pneumonia? Dad Died in 36 hours after Diagnosis

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Old 07-30-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
Kelly Pips
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Question Pneumonia? Dad Died in 36 hours after Diagnosis

Hi Everyone,

My 73 year old father, who had never suffered any illness before and was fit and well, died after being admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of Pneumonia.
He was living with me for a couple of weeks, while he was waiting for his new house to complete. He complained of feeling 'fluey' so had some Beechams Powder. He then developed a cough and he seemed short of breath, over the next couple of days. Then he said he really didn't feel well and that I should call an ambulance, which I did. The paramedic said that his oxygen level was a bit low and gave him oxygen. He was taken to hospital and went into Resus and the doctor diagnosed Pneumonia and said he would have to stay in for a few days and have intravenous antibiotics. I went home and later that night he was moved onto a ward. At no point was I concerned with his welfare.

The next day me and my brother went up for visiting hours and as soon as we saw my Dad he told us he was being moved to another hospital, which was normal procedure for respiratory disorders. He said that a doctor had said that he could have something more 'interesting', which worried him. I asked to see the doctor and we were told that my Dad could have a condition called 'vasculitis', but it was nothing to worry about. My Dad was fine at this time, was eating and drinking and chatting with us, but still on oxygen and his breathing was very quick. When we left he was still waiting to be transferred to the other hospital, but they had 'no beds'. I phoned that evening at 10pm and was told that there were still no beds and he would be staying with them til the next day.

The next morning I got a phone call at 7.45am to say that Dad was going to intensive care as his oxygen levels weren't very good, the staff nurse said they were going to move him in the night, but again 'there were no beds'!!? I was told to give it a couple of hours before visiting, which I did. Me and my fiancee got to the hospital around 1015am and were asked to wait while they got him comfortable. We were allowed to see him at 11am. I was so shocked to see him, his breathing was awful, he had a full face mask on and it was forcing him to breath oxygen. His respiratory rate was between 28-38 and he looked like he was struggling, the difference from the previous day was so dramatic. I was not happy and asked to see the doctor, the doctor asked me what I knew about Dad's illness, which I thought was weird. I mentioned that the doctor the day before had mentioned 'vasculitis' and he was unaware of this and it was not in Dad's notes. I said to the doctor I was concerned about his breathing and asked if they could sedate him, the doctor said they had to see if Dad would breath on his own first. We were with Dad and just before 1pm a lady doctor came over and said that they would have to ventilate him as his breathing wasn't getting any better, with that Dad had a myocardial infarction (massive heart attack). I was in bits and had to be dragged away from his bedside by my fiancee, while they tried to resuscitate him. They did, but he was on maximum medication and was very unstable, he never regained consciousness and the withdrew his medication and he died shortly after.

I don't understand how this could of happened so quickly?? I'm upset that he was left on the Ward, struggling to breath because 'there were no beds' in intensive care?? Surely you don't wait for beds in intensive care, you need to be there?? Surely being left, struggling to breath, puts pressure on the heart and other organs?? I think that my Dad also developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which is a serious complication to Pneumonia, I don't think he was tested for this.

Had anyone else been through or had someone go through this? I just need answers and I will be writing to the hospital with my concerns. If anyone has some advice for me, it would greatly be appreciated.

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Old 08-01-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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Re: Pneumonia? Dad Died in 36 hours after Diagnosis

Sorry to hear about your father, pnuemonia is a powerful condition that can rob a person of the life in no time. I have suffered at 3 times with it myself. The first time it put me in a coma for about a week. It takes a person with a strong immune system to fight it. It also is one of the top killers in the senior citizens sect.

Old 08-01-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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Re: Pneumonia? Dad Died in 36 hours after Diagnosis

I am so sorry for your loss, and can understand your state of shock and frustration with the rapidity with which your Dad's health went downhill. It sounds like this was not a straightforward case of pneumonia to me. If it truly was vasculitis, he may have been forming blood clots in his lungs, which can look just like pneumonia on chest xray, and unless there was suspicion for clots, there was very little time to check that out. Vasculitis is inflammation of the inside of the blood vessels which predisposes to clot formation. Clots can form in the lungs themselves or float there from the legs or abdomen and lodge in the arteries. That puts a person into heart failure, raising the oxygen demands of the heart and that can cause a heart attack. It is not terribly common, and belongs in the autoimmune disease family. It is unfortunate the Dr you talked to didn't communicate via clinic notes or with the attending Dr that vasculitis was a possiblity, or they may have looked then for evidence of clotting. Of course, this is all conjecture, as it could have been just a very bad pneumonia that his system could not handle. In times of shock and grief, we all just want to put the pieces together in our minds as to what really happened. If a post mortem exam is done, that should provide many answers, and possibly important information for his descendants in terms of health. You can request a copy of his medical records and PM exam if you would like, and have someone who has medical knowledge review it. But for now, I would just concentrate on taking care of yourself and family, and getting thru the next few weeks/months. Bless you.

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