A patient comes into the hospital with dizziness and trouble breathing.
The story about how he developed those symptoms was a little more involved.
The patient needed some major work done on his teeth. He was having a lot of pain and couldn’t take it any longer. So he sold his favorite Harley Davidson motorcycle and had about $6,000 available to fix his teeth. After calling around to multiple dentists and clinics, the best price he could get to have all of the work done in the US was about $14,000. He read about medical tourism in a newspaper article, so he made some phone calls and sent some e-mails and found a place near a resort town in Mexico that would do the same work for $3,000.
So he took the trip to said resort town and had the work done. With the extra money he saved, he figured that he would spend a little time relaxing with his wife at the resort. So he booked a week at the resort and still had money left over.
During one of the days at the resort, he decided to do some jet skiing. But he had never been jet skiing before, and during one of his jaunts, he hit a wave, went airborne, and came down on his ribs on the side of the jet ski. Ouch.
He went to the nearby clinic in Mexico, was diagnosed with a bad bruise, and was given ibuprofen.
The following day, he had more trouble breathing and went back to the clinic. The bruise was hurting him more when he took a deep breath. Just take more ibuprofen, they told him.
The next day he got on the plane. By the time he got home, he was having a lot of trouble breathing. He almost passed out while dragging his luggage through the airport. By the time he got to the hospital, he was saturating at 84% and his blood pressure was 80 systolic.
A few lab tests and a chest x-ray later, we had our diagnosis: Hemopneumothorax with a hemoglobin of 7.6.
A chest tube and a couple of units of blood later, he was smiling enough to see that new dental work.
The hospital bill … now that’s another story.
This and all posts about patients may be fictional, may be my experiences, may be submitted by readers for publication here, or may be any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate. If you would like to have a patient story published on WhiteCoat’s Call Room, please e-mail me.