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Kaiser Heart Horror Stories

Ten:  At the mercy of Kaiser Permanente
Surgery 3rd Pacemaker to be put in
October 1, 2007

Well here I am in Cat Lab

Getting ready for surgery, nurses having a hard time finding a vein and me complaining it hurts, by that time I seen my heart doctor Chander by my bedside and what a relief it was to see him, for I have asked him to be there to make sure all goes well before surgery and during surgery and after and he was a doctor of his word and this was on his own time.  How lucky I am to have a doctor like this.  He knew I was frightened because of what happened last time.  

I had a pacemaker put in at Fontana Kaiser.  It was a horrifying experience and I didn't want this to happen again.  See you aren't allowed to see your sergeant at all.  Maybe before going in he might see you and I did see him right before going in for surgery.  Well one hour after surgery they called my husband to come and pick me up.  I asked to stay over night in case something goes wrong but only if you have a wire put in and I didn't so off to home I went.  Being home I broke out in a rash and itched all over my body and rash and blisters under (Tagaderm) where doctor Ball had placed it over the gauss (- unknown word) and over an inch around on the skin.  I had to change it to paper tape later on and I got better but lost a lot of skin where the tape was.  

Now I find myself being zapped by the pacemaker when laying down.  My body would jump up off of the bed and lose my breath after a while of this trying to lay down off and on.  It scared me and rested sitting up in a recliner chair.  I made an appointment with Cardiology to check what is going on with the Pacemaker.  I had seen a doctor W. Chin on October 5, 2007 and he turned off my lead and sent me off for x-rays to see if wire is connected to pacemaker, after seeing x-rays told me lead is backfiring so we will leave it shut off but I feel bad since it is off, having a hard time breathing.  I told him, don't worry he said your upper part of your heart is working 95% with it off.  You will be fine.  If you have problems with the pacemaker call me and I will see you.

That evening my husband called 911.  I could hardly breathe and was it was like someone was sitting on my chest.  Well in the ER the doctor took of water out of my lung, mild congestive heart failure, he said.  The other doctor taking his place at the change in shift said, "The heart isn't working right and can't get rid of fluids in the body and I should call Cardiology and see a doctor about the lead and pacemaker.  Well, I was released to go home after I paid the $35.00 co-pay.

Being at home, I tried everything but standing on my head to get an appointment.  I was on the phone for hours and hours.  I have already passed out in the bathroom and another time in the driveway.  Cardiology told me and membership services that there wasn't a thing they could do.  They were all booked up.  Another nurse called me and said "I told you we are all booked up."

I got cocky and I replied "So if I'm having a baby now, stick my foot up there and wait till there is an opening, that is asinine. I'm dying and I have to put it on hold until an opening comes.  That is so asinine.  I can sit and feel ok, but walking a few steps feels like I ran a block just to go to the restroom."

Finally I started calling friends for help.  Finely, I got a number to call that would help me.  A government office which helps people like me in need and in 12 hours I had an appointment in Cardiology on the 11th of October at 10:10 A.M. with doctor Orens.  By the way there was an appointment on the 10th just to check in at 7:30 A.M.  When I arrived nothing was open and so I went home.  The appointment was wrong and they meant to tell me 8:30 A.M. instead.

Let's get back to the appointment on the 11th.  I drove myself to Kaiser and got a wheel chair to lean on to so I could get to my appointment.  It seemed forever, sitting and walking off and on to catch my breath a couple of times.  I thought I would pass out because of the lack of air but I made it.

A gentleman approached me while I waited in the waiting room and said my (name is?) ((He introduced himself))
He said that he represents the company that made the pacemakers.  He said "I will see you and then wheeled me into a room and explained what he was doing - checking the pacemaker out and then left the room.  Dr. Orens came in and said he will change the program a little for the other doctor who turned the lead on and set program.  Dr. Orens changed the program some what and told me the lead is fine.  He said that maybe the extra program is zapping me and turned it off.

Dr. Orens told me that I was now fine.  

I thought - sure I am but I didn't believe him really.  I went my merry way with the wheel chair to hold on to and after a short while I noticed that I didn't need it and walked out to my truck not gasping for air.  The next day I went grocery shopping and have just been enjoying doing things again.

It is a shame what one has to do just to get an appointment with Fontana Kaiser in Cardiology, because I knew that I would see the grave if not seen by the doctors.

Shame, Shame on Kaiser's policy.