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Thread: Friend's Strange Postop Complication

  1. #1

    Friend's Strange Postop Complication

    A good friend of mine had an inguinal hernia repair on January 4 of this year. He had a hard time coming out of the anesthetic and was still sluggish when he was discharged (same day). On January 5, he collapsed and lost consciousness. EMTs reported his heart rate at 220. He spent three days in the coronary ICU at his local hospital, where no diagnosis was made (though they put him on four cardiac meds). He has amnesia for the day of surgery and two weeks thereafter. He has never improved, and now he is having focal seizures (where he just goes blank) every 40 minutes like clockwork, for 20 seconds per episode. He has an appointment with a neurologist (out of town) next week.

    What in the world! Does this sound primarily like an anesthesia complication with cardiac repercussions, or vice versa? His doctors claim to be stumped. Unfortunately, my friend's wife is not medically savvy and she cannot even tell me what meds he is on. On the telephone, he sounds spacey and his memory issues make questioning him seem cruel - so I don't. In any case, he is no more medically savvy than his wife. I have a sinking feeling that he could actually die from whatever is going on.

    Has anyone here ever heard of a syndrome like this? I'm not asking for a diagnosis, of course, just trying to get my mind around his symptoms.

    Edited to add: Neither my friend nor his wife know the name of the anesthetic he was on. I'm assuming that it was something like Halothane, but maybe something else is typically used for hernia repair.
    Last edited by Bonnette; 04-04-2018 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Addition
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  2. #2
    They can get all his records from the hospital. Start there, then a second opinion from another doc, then lawyer.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    They can get all his records from the hospital. Start there, then a second opinion from another doc, then lawyer.
    I hope and pray that they will do this.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  4. #4
    What a nightmare.

    Is he going to a good quality major academic hospital for his care?

    He needs a brain MRI, EEG, lab tests and possibly medications as soon as possible. He should see a doctor immediately for his new symptoms which are serious enough that he should go to an ER. Has he at least seen his primary care doctor or cardiologist? They can at least start ordering some tests.

    Agree that they need to request all of the detailed records of the surgery including the anesthesia notes and carry those to every doctor they see.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Fortunately, many things do improve with time. He may benefit from intensive rehab - OT and Speech. Is he getting that now?

  5. #5
    Thank you, hlh.

    No, he is not going to a good quality major academic hospital.

    He has seen a cardiologist, who has referred him to a neurologist in another city (not a major center). He is on cardiac meds. I don't know what tests he has had, and of course I agree with everything you say about what he needs. I wish I were in charge of what happens next and had the means to facilitate it. At least he has insurance.

    He is not getting any rehab, as far as I know. He walks hesitantly but is not hemiplegic. He can use his upper extremities. His speech is slow and very measured. He lives in another city and the only information I have is secondhand.

    I know it's unwise to discuss legal matters on a public forum, and I do hope that at some point he'll consult with professionals who can help him. I am really just trying to understand in general what might have happened. At first I thought he'd had a stroke, which is of course a known complication of anesthesia, but now it's sounding more like an electrical situation between his brain and heart. I'm just so sad about all this, he is one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet. His wife is, too - sweet, perhaps to a fault.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  6. #6
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    That is awful! I hope your friend can find some answers and improve!
    When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by lynnifer View Post
    That is awful! I hope your friend can find some answers and improve!
    Thank you, lynnifer...I sure hope so, too.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  8. #8
    Senior Member bigtop1's Avatar
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    It sounds like a hypoxia or, an anoxia event at some point during or, shortly after the surgery was done. Defiantly an EEG and MRI should be scheduled if not done already.
    I refuse to tip toe through life, only to arrive safely at death.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bigtop1 View Post
    It sounds like a hypoxia or, an anoxia event at some point during or, shortly after the surgery was done. Defiantly an EEG and MRI should be scheduled if not done already.
    That sounds right, bigtop1...it would explain a lot of his symptoms. He might never recover what he's lost, but perhaps he can get better from here (assuming he receives the right care, which is a big maybe). The op and anesthesia notes and intraoperative EKG could tell the tale, and I hope he and his wife will request those records.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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