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BF Sister in the Hospital

May 11th, 2015 at 08:22 pm

So my BF sister was rushed to the hospital today. What concerns me is that according to my BF, the doctor who saw his sister today informed them that since 2010 she has had kidney issues( after reviewing her chart). This was a shock to the family because apparently no one knew, not even the patient.

The reason why I find this to be strange is that his sister is a diabetic, has had two heart attacks, heart surgery,and her feet is constantly swollen. Now given all of this, she has been to the hospital on multiple occasions but the boyfriend tends to believe that out of all the doctors, specialists, therapist, and nurses in the last 5 years that no one has ever mentioned to her to see a nephrologist. I just can't imagine, can you imagine the possible lawsuit? You're trying to tell me that her primary care doctor, cardiologist, endocrinologist, nurses, therapist, the hospital over a five year period missed the fact that she may have kidney issues. I beg to differ.
I'm no doctor but I know that swelling in diabetic patients can lead to kidney failure and no one seems to believe that she was ever told. Interesting.

Not much I can say, they're very sensitive. I'll just keep my thoughts to myself and say a prayer that things turn out okay.

5 Responses to “BF Sister in the Hospital”

  1. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I hope she turns out ok too, best wishes Smile

  2. Jane Says:

    Hope she is okay! A few thoughts on the kidney issue from a medical type:

    I am sure they knew. You don't even dose many medications without knowing kidney function (measured by a test called creatinine.) Diabetes causes kidney disease, as does high blood pressure, and heart problems can too. Based on the health problems you mentioned, I would be quite surprised if her kidney function WAS totally normal. Swelling does not cause kidney problems. It can be a symptoms of existing kidney problems, but many other things, including heart problems, salt intake, insufficiency of your veins as you age, etc can also cause swelling.

    Many, many people have some degree of kidney dysfunction not requiring dialysis, which typically causes no symptoms until it is almost time for dialysis (if it ever progresses that far). Primary care doctors are completely qualified to manage most kidney disease without a nephrologist, who will typically become involved when it progresses closer to the point of considering dialysis and/or transplant, if there is not a clear cause and so a kidney biopsy is required for diagnosis (sounds like she has various possible causes), or if first-line management by a primary care doctor has failed. There is not necessarily any reason for a patient with stable kidney disease to see a nephrologist as long as they are seeing a regular doctor. I don't know how advanced the kidney issues are at this point in your BF's sister's case, just giving some general background.

    The reason so many doctors may not have mentioned it because if your baseline kidney function is not normal, they just compare it to previous baselines to tell if it is getting worse or staying the same. Beyond not getting dehydrated or doing street drugs (which hopefully everybody already knows are bad for you), there is very little a patient would need to do with this information, so if it is unchanged from previous values, often doctors in the ER or hospital won't bring it up as a new issue to patients. I mention it to my patients just so they know, but you would be surprised how many of them don't remember when I see them next, probably because people have a lot of other things on their mind when they are sick.


    It is unfortunate that this was not communicated more clearly, and that it caused the patient or your family any distress, but unless there is way more to this kidney function issue you did not mention here, I would be surprised if there was any basis for a lawsuit. In fact, I would bet if you looked in her chart she is most likely on the appropriate medication for kidney dysfunction, which is conveniently the same medication used in patients who have heart attacks.

    It does make me sad that in this country when a miscommunication occurs, the default assumption is that all of the medical professionals you mentioned must have be either deliberately negligent or so shockingly incompetent that they failed to notice a major organ system issue, rather than assuming what I have usually seen to be the case- things are being handled appropriately to protect the patient's best interests but the communication element fell through. Doctors want to help people! They are not the enemy.

  3. Amber Says:

    Jane thank you so much. I personally think that the best line of defense for health is the patient. Too many times, in my opinion, patients refuse to educate themselves on their own health. No re questions are asked etc.

  4. Jane Says:

    Couldn't agree more! I think one of the most helpful questions to ask when talking to a doctor about a diagnosis is, "So what does this mean for me?" It can given them a little nudge to focus in on how it will practically affect your life, things to do or avoid, the long term course of the disease, etc : )

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Hi, Amber. I hope your BF's sister is ok.

    I also wanted to give you something you asked about on one of my posts: topclassactions.com.

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