Sunday, August 9, 2009
A heart-warming little story from across the pond.
A MUM suffering chest pains died in front of her young son hours after being sent home from hospital and told to take painkillers.
Debra Beavers, 39, phoned NHS 24 twice in two days before getting a hospital appointment. But a doctor gave what her family described as a cursory examination lasting 11 minutes, before advising her to buy over-the-counter medicine Ibuprofen.
Family members claim the medic was abrupt and rude - and when Debra clutched her chest, he told her: "Your heart is on the other side."
Seven hours later, the mum-of-two collapsed and died from a heart attack in front of her 13-year-old boy.
Debra's furious family insist she could have survived, had medics not been so "dismissive". They believe she should have been given medicine which could unblock a coronary artery.Her sister Darlene McConnell said: "We are heartbroken. She tried to get help but no one would help her."
Debra, of Kirkcaldy, Fife, called Darlene on Saturday, July 25, at 5pm to say she was unwell.
She was suffering numbness in her toes, swelling around the ankle and leg pains. She contacted NHS 24, who took her details and said they would be in touch.
However, Debra's condition worsened and she began to suffer severe chest pains by the early hours of Sunday.
She rang NHS 24 again at 2am and requested a doctor. They instead booked an appointment for her at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, later that day.
Darlene, 44, said: "We now think Debra was actually having a heart attack around the time she telephoned NHS 24. I spoke to her on Sunday morning and she said the pains were so bad, she thought she was going to die.
"She went to the hospital as arranged at 1pm and was back out in minutes. The doctor told her to go home and take Ibuprofen.
"She said he was very rude and, as she clutched her chest, told her 'Your heart is on the other side'. . . .
A spokeswoma for NHS Fife said: "We would like to express our condolences. NHS Fife's duty to uphold patient confidentiality prevents us from making any comment on an individual case."
NHS 24 executive nurse director Eunice Muir said: "We can confirm Ms Beavers contacted NHS 24 and that her onward referral was managed safely and appropriately.
"We would ask her family to contact us if there are any aspects of the case they wish to discuss."
Which leads me to my main point: All of this talk about ObamaCare somehow leading to the fear that oldsters will be shunted off to euthanasia is, in my view, utterly irresponsible. Think of what true euthanasia would be like. A doctor would look you over, study your medical history, consult the specialists on whatever collection of problems was sending you out the door, and then advise you that, in all likelihood, you faced say six or twelve months of terrible pain to be followed inevitably by death. Given that, maybe the best thing to do would be to go home, say your good byes, and settle down on a morphine drip which, on a day of your choosing, would be increased to a fatal level. You would drift out on a cloud, your only regret being that you did not discover massive doses of morphine earlier in life.