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Dr. Brims
Dr. Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9616
Experience:  U.S. Licensed Physician, general surgery and internal medicine experience
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I am desperately seeking an answer to a medical question

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I am desperately seeking an answer to a medical question about my husband.
My husband has high cholesterol, hypertension, a history of heart attacks and diabetes.
A while back, he started complaining about shortness of breath. It got to the point where he could only go a few feet before having to stop to catch his breath. He also complained of symptoms of a sinus infection. (For the record, I use supplemental oxygen at night for a paralyzed left hemi-diaphragm but I can go without it if I have to.) I finally gave it to my husband to use but it didn’t seem to be helping him.
He got to the point where he seemed unconscious most of the time. I had to get in his face and scream at him to get a response. Then he would just roll his eyes and go right back into an “out-of-it” state. When he was awake, he dropped and spilled things constantly. Finally, his doctor ordered O2 sats, a Doppler and a chest x-ray. The Doppler and x-ray were fine but the 02 sats were about 82% with him just sitting and talking. His doctor was informed so he ordered the O2 sats be repeated the next day along with a CBC.
The next day’s O2 sats were lower still. When the RT put him on 4 lpm of supplemental oxygen, they went up to about 90% as long as he just sat there. The RT didn’t want him to leave but his doctor told her to send him on over.
I made sure that the doctor understood all of the problems he was having – being “unconscious, dropping/spilling things, etc., despite being on my supplemental oxygen. The doctor only ordered him his own oxygen and sent him home. The doctor refused antibiotics for a sinus infection; he wanted him to get a CT scan of his neck to make sure he didn’t have a mass causing his glands in his neck to be slightly swollen. He did, however, give him Lortab for his ear pain.
Three days later, my husband is fighting for his life with his sats down to 70% and not moving air. He had sepsis and was in multi-organ failure and having seizures. He was flown to a larger hospital 80 miles away.
He was 64 years old at the time. He hadn’t smoked or drank since 1991. He has no history of illegal drug use. His drug screen at the local ER was clean. However, at the larger hospital, his drug screen showed positive for several drugs.
How is this possible? I guess some of the positive results could have come from the drugs they gave him at the local ER. However, the positive result for marijuana has me baffled.
Any ideas on what caused all the positive results on the second drug screen?
Dr Brims :

Hello, welcome to Justanswer, I will try to assist you with your medical question, and any medical information you seek

Dr Brims :

Did they run the tests more than once?

Customer:

No. Just once at the local ER and again at the bigger hospital. We've been together since 1975 and I can assure you he had not take any illegal drugs. We are together constantly so there was no sneaking around. He has never done illegal drugs.


Dr Brims :

Okay, this may be due to a lab error, I strongly recommend the tests be repeated

Customer:

It happened two years ago so there's nothing we can do now. I just don't understand what happened to him that would make all the false positives turn up.

Dr Brims :

Lab samples may become mixed up and it could have been someone elses's specimen, that is why the test should have been repeated

Dr Brims :

If there were positive opiates then it could be due to pain medication

Dr Brims :

Are you there?


Customer:

They gave him Valium in the first ER and stuff to keep his blood pressure up. I'm not sure what they gave him for the seizures. It's my impression the Valium was to keep him calm on the bi-pap machine (set at 21 with 15 lpm oxygen).


Customer:

He was pretty much unconscious upon arrival at the first ER and for the next 38 days.


Dr Brims :

Are you having computer problems? It took you a long time to reply


Customer:

No, someone at the door.


Dr Brims :

ok


Dr Brims :

I'm sorry I'm not sure what you are asking in your last reply

Customer:

Just letting you know what they gave him at the first ER.

I just don't like the idea of having people thing we use illegal drugs when we never have. My husband would even take all his pain meds when he had his back worked on because he didn't like using them because they were too strong.


Dr Brims :

I understand, but if it was years ago that this occurrd then it is not possible to repeat the test to prove it was a lab error

Dr Brims :

occurred*

Customer:

OK. Just hoping there was an explanation for the two different results.

Thank you.


Dr Brims :

You're quite welcome

Dr Brims :

I hope this was helpful

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