Personal Stories: A loving Wife=she will be missed!


Hi Brian,

Less than two weeks ago on May 21, 2009, my wife (60 years

old) passed away of "hemopericardium" due to "dissection of the

ascending thoracic aorta" according to the medical examiner of the

state of MA. I would like to give you as much as I know of the

details in hopes that you could render an opinion as well as tell me

what , if anything, I should ask about as well. I would like you

to refrain from using this story for the time being but hopefully it

will help to complete your present mission once it is revealed. I

have only read a very small portion of your website but I can see you

are already an expert. It is typical of what can be accomplished

when someone is truly motivated and for this I admire you. I also am

praying for your personal battles with this condition. Two weeks ago

I knew nothing of this illness.


On Thursday morning around 6:15 AM of May 21, my wife had an

"event" while at work. She described this as "like a sudden

shock" (some took it to mean electrical in nature but I truly believe

she meant this descriptively) at which time she became woozy and

disoriented. She does access some electrical-use equipment but not

high or dangerous voltage. She was helped outside the building where

others helped her walk around and sit down and relax. The company

acting quickly did dispatch emergency vehicles to the scene. The

EMTs did an onsite EKG (by the way no de-fib or irregular heart

rhythm that might be associated with electrical shock were detected)

and checked her vital signs which were all good at the time. In fact

she wanted to return to work but they insisted on taking her on the

gurney to the hospital for test and observation. Later, at home at

around 7:00AM I received the call from a rep of the company about the

situation and that her vitals were ok.


At this point I planned to dress and head to the hospital about

an hour or more drive to the hospital during morning rush hour.

Before leaving I called the hospital, they said call back in 10

minutes as the doctor is with her. I did so and asked how is she

doing and a nurse said "she is very sick" which I could not

understand given what I was told previously. I said is she

conscious? Unconscious , what ? She said, "she is unresponsive" at

which point I lost it. She also asked at that time, "is she allergic

to aspirin or anything else ?" I took off for the hospital and did

not make it before she was already dead.


What I learned of the sequence of events at the hospital with

very little detail to date is this. She arrived at the hospital

feeling ok as she asked to get up from the gurney to go to the

bathroom which she did and then came back to a room in the ER. I

assume she had an immediate EKG somewhere close to that time. She

was treated with aspirin as far as I am aware, possibly something

else. I assume this might be done if one was suspected of having a

stroke from blockage or possibly a heart attack. After asking the

nurse if her husband was on the way, within only a few minutes of

taking the aspirin her eyes rolled into the back of her head and I

assume a Code Blue or whatever was issued but she died quickly

without being revived.


The doctor made two strange comments when I arrived while he

talked to me inside the "quiet room". He mentioned an electrical

shock from a "faulty plug" that he was aware of- I have no idea where

this came from except a misinterpretation from the EMTs. He also

said the "EKG" showed a "massive heart attack".

Question: Now with a minimal understanding of aortic

dissection, it would seem to me that giving aspirin which enhances/

causes internal bleeding would be strongly contra-indicated.

Is that correct ?


Do these circumstances that I describe appear to be a case

where the doctors assumed something far removed from aortic

dissection and thus were unable to apply the correct procedures that

might have saved her if applied immediately ? I don't want to put

you on the spot but please be candid.


thanks sincerely,

Dennis Rathman


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