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I need help and the doctor is giving no answers
My Aunt just had a stroke last night. We got her to the hospital right away, but the doctors did not provide the anti coagulant drug because she was already on blood thinners. Last night she was awake and talking with slurred speech.
This morning I went back and the doctor said that after looking at the mri she had a couple of small clots that went into the brain. And he said now it’s just a waiting game.
My aunt is now in the icu and she is just sleeping. If you shake her she will say something but goes right back to sleep.
Is this normal? How long can the sleeping last? Nobody seems concerned but they aren’t telling me anything.
Any help would be very much appreciated.
AHAASAKatie, December 17, 2018 8:35am EST
Good morning, I am so sorry that your family is having to experience this. I can share the information that we have on Ischemic Strokes (Strokes caused by clots) with you. Please know that we are here for you, thinking of you and her at this time. Best Katie
AmbassadorMR, December 17, 2018 9:22am EST
First off, my condolences to you and your family regarding your Aunt's recent stroke. Katie forwarded you some AHA information on ischemic stroke so hopefully you have had a chance to review the background info on your Aunt's condition. Beyond that, it is very important that you take an assertive approach (calm, reasonable but firm) with the doctors and nurses who are treating your family member. All of your questions should be answered in a manner that you clearly understand. If they are not, I suggest you persist until they are.
It is impossible to advise specifically on what type of treatment and intervention your Aunt should be receiving because every stroke case is unique to the person involved. The use of anti-coagulant drugs, stents, clot removal procedures, etc. are very dependent on your Aunt's specific condition at the time. That being said, you should not feel "left out" of the information stream as decisions are being made for her treatment. If a particular doctor or nurse are not answering your questions to your satisfaction then ask to speak to a nursing supervisor or physician staff lead so that you can get the answers that you seek. It is not inappropriate for you to pursue information in this manner.
I wish you and your family great strength and a good outcome to your Aunt's stroke recovery process. Please reach out for additional encouragement and support as things progress.
Very Best Regards,
KimberlyG, December 17, 2018 9:48am EST
Hi Steve.I read Katie & Mark responses; excellent advice.
May I also suggest that you reach out to your Aunt's doctor or nurse re; receiving additional support from the hospital's social worker or patient advocate
Please keep us posted with any updates.
JeffB, December 17, 2018 11:09am EST
My best friend and father figure had a stroke last year back in August. Unfortunately he was not found as quickly as your aunt was. I made sure we had a circle of people to share the burden of care. We divided our roles up amonst us and made every effort to be there for him while he recovered. I would read to him while he was still in his coma. Trying to keep speach and voice comprehension, even if it was a long shot, active.
Keep on the medical staff to keep you folks informed. But also, take some time for yourself and recharge.
Wishing you and your aunt the best possible outcome. The next 12 months will be a critical recovery window. Make sure she stays as active and engaged in her recovery as possible. Even if she fights it a bit.
GoREDGAIL, December 17, 2018 11:11am EST
It makes sense that you would be concerned. I am proud of you for reaching out to the support network.
I am not a doctor but I did have a father who had 2 heart attacks and a stroke. If this was my Aunt I would get a second opinion from the head of neurology. I had my father transported to a better hospital for better care. Sometimes with a brain injury/stroke, medications are given at the wrong dosages. Not only is their decreased brain activity but if your Aunt is elderly the dosage needs to be reduced. This may be why she is coma like. She may need this rest to let the brain rest. The point is that you need another opinion, there are too many unknowns.
There is no question in my mind I would get her evaluated by another doctor, I would get the chief.
Your Aunt is very lucky to have such a caring nephew.
Go Red Gail Spokesperson and Life Coach
AmbassadorB, December 17, 2018 4:30pm EST
You've received some outstanding advice and suggestions:
1. Katie: Where there is some good information on ischemic strokes. Katie has solid information on all aspects of strokes (AHA resources).
2.Ambassador MR: Don't give up on getting the right information! Ask nursing supervisors and other physicians. Experience with similar cases gives these folks some valuable insight. Identify yourself as a key caregiver for your aunt and the fact that you're not comfortable with your lack of understanding of the program being followed for your aunt, nor any sense of her prognosis.
3. Kimberly: Who else can I go to for information - at the hospital? Who else in the hospital can help you get the information?
Steve; I have the pleasure of knowing each of these three responders to your message. Each of them has "been there and done that" and you have some outstanding sugggestions from them. I don't have anything further to add to their support comments, other than, "Do what has been suggested."
Finally: Your persistence and "on-site" care and concern - that your aunt's getting the finest care and medical treatment, will help reinforce with her attendant medical personnel, that this lady has an involved Care-giver. They'll be well advised to Keep You in the loop!
Good for you, Steve ! You are a very important aspect of her recovery!
Bernie Ambassador B
jerzeycate, December 26, 2018 11:19am EST
I pray that things have stabilized with your Aunt and she is well on her way to recovery. I thought I could give you some information that might make you feel a bit more confident in her doctor and the decisions he has made.
I am also on an anticoagulant. When I had a Stroke I also could not be given the Clot-busting drug because of the medication I was taking. While we ordinarily assume that all patients believed to be having a Stroke are given clot-busting medications in an emergency, that is not the case. Since your Aunt is taking an anticoagulant, she cannot be given those medications since it could cause a life-threatening bleeding episode.
My other thought had to do with what seemed to you to be an unwillingness to answer your questions. Doctors are closely regulated in terms of who they can and cant share information about a patients condition--The HIPPA require they have permission from the patient before speaking with anyone not directly involved in her care. While it seems you are her family and are involved in her life on an ongoing basis if she did not give permission for the doctor to speak with you he is in a difficult situation.
If she is still receiving care, I'm sure this issue has been addressed however it's important that you understand the Why of this behavior and policy.
Please drop a note and let us know how she's doing...