Patient :Last year I was at a hospital in California. I went because I was having an adverse reaction to escitalopram, and I believed that my medication had been swapped by a friend with a sedative. The symptoms of the medication began to abate soon after admission.
45 minutes after admission, after the IV catheter was inserted and tests were drawn, I began having severe cardiac symptoms that I describe as an earth quake, its reverberations traveling up and down my arms, carotid artery and even circled the orbits of my eyes. Within minutes, I felt an emptiness from my chest, the sensation of which also travelled down my arms and legs. I began feeling a tickling sensation in my heart, lick it was being tickled with a feather. I felt the same sensation from my finger tips.
I felt as though my heart rate had slowed and I grabbed my neck to place my thumb under my jaw against my carotid artery. I couldn't feel anything, so I did the same on my wrist. I felt three beats in around 10-12 seconds.
I looked back at the cardiac monitor and it was flashing: "Warning: Low Pulse." Medical staff insisted there was nothing wrong with my heart. When I demanded to be referred to cardiology or discharged, they detained me, placing me in restraints, and purportedly injected me with Haldol, Cogentin, and Ativan. They falsely claimed that I was suicidal, though I was never evaluated by a psychiatrist--or referred to cardiology--prior to discharge.
I've had to sue to get my full medical record, and its still incomplete. What information I do have shows that around sixteen minutes after admission they performed an ECG, the results of which was given to a Dr. for interpretation who is named nowhere else in the record. There is no interpretation in the record, except that the ECG states "abnormal ECG" for "nonspecific intraventricular conduction delay."
The lab results showed that I was suffering from hypokalemia (K+ = 2.9L) and hyperglycemia (glucose 135, in fasting state). Potassium Chloride was administered, but not for two hours after symptom onset, after I had been restrained and, purportedly, administered antipsychotic medications.
The record also shows that I was suffering from stage 1 hypertension from admission until around the time I was restrained.
In response to my pending lawsuit, they deny that I ever suffered from cardiac arrhythmia, but they based that on a medical record which includes only 1 ECG, which was abnormal, and which was taken an hour prior to symptoms onset.
What do a nonspecific intraventricular conduction delay, associated with stage 1 hypertension, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia, given the symptoms expressed, tell you about the state of my cardiac condition, does it sound like they were trying to cover up a medication error that could have caused it, and should I have been referred from the E.D. to cardiology based on those characteristics?
Thanks for the query
I understand your concern. I have gone through the reports and here are my interpretations.
1. Cardiac arrhythmia could have been caused by low potassium. Some of these abnormalities are self-limiting. A 15 min delay could have caused missing of the rhythm disturbance by the time EKG was done
2. The EKG attached certainly does not warrant a cardiology review as it is normal
3. Potassium was corrected and that was the right thing to do
4. Restraining you and sedating you perhaps is not warranted. There are certain guidelines to be followed while restraining and sedating a patient. You might want to look into the hospital policy for sedation and restraint
I hope I was of help, if you have any further queries please get back to me
These Q&A’s are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.