Is this a normal procedure done in the ER?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TFD, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. TFD

    TFD New Member

    This will be a rather long post but you need the details to understand my question. Forgive any spelling errors. It is late and I am on pain meds.

    On Sunday,Jan 7th, I noticed a lump under my left arm about 2 inches down from my arm pit and about an inch from my left breast. It was about the size of a pea. On Monday, this thing had blown up to the size of a lemon and my whole arm pit area was red and swollen. By Tuesday, the redness was spreading across my left breast. I went to my PCP, he said it was something along the line of a boil. My eyelids were also swollen and infected and I had a blister on my lip. He said I was full of infection and gave me a shot of an antibiotic in his office along with a strong pain medicine and a script for an antibiotic. I treated the place under my arm with heat as instructed to bring whatever infection to a head to start draining. Maybe I shouldn't have but I tried to help it along by squeezing and what came out was alot of gross stuff. Thursday nite I go to bed and tell my husband that I can tell I am running a slight fever and I am not feeling very well. At 3 am, my husband wakes me taking my temp (ear temp)and it is 101.9. After arguing with him for 30 mins I agree to go to the ER. Here is where it gets interesting.

    They took me right in. Living in Tampa, you could wait up to 8 hours to be seen unless you are having a heart attack or die waiting to be seen. The doc was very nice and explained that I had a severe infection from what appeared to be a cyst and they were going to have to drain the abscess and it would be very painful but..he would give me enough pain meds that I would be out and not really feel it. The nice doc had to leave so another doc took his place. He introduces me to a nice young man who is a med student soon to be deployed and asked if I minded the hands on training for this student. Of course I said he was more than welcome to assist. What happens next is the meat of this question. First, they pads placed all around my arm and chest. They give me 4 mgs (or whatever) of morphine. Then, the student begins to try and numb the area. The pain was terrible just from the small injections. I knew then, this was going to be bad. This place was like a burnt, raw abscess. It was so infected that it did not numb. Then, the doc like it was nothing, to a knife and just opened it up right there. That wasn't the bad part. Then he began pushing and pushing and mashing this area which was quite large at this point to get the stuff out. I can't even describe the pain. I am not dramatic and I can tolerate a significant amount of pain but never, never in my entire life have I experienced something like this. Then....Then...when it got a little "hung up" the doc took a pair of scissors and simply cut my wound open even more like he was cutting a piece of paper! At this point, I know they heard me on the 5th floor. I begged this doc to stop. My husband told him to stop and put me out. He said "there is always a risk when someone is put to sleep." I shared with him that I would take the risk. He refused. He started again and I said "stop now!!!!" to which he replied "can't, we have to get his out".He ordered 4 more "whatevers" of morphine which still did not touch it. The pain was so intense that my blood oxygen level was dropping and my bp was through the roof. This lasted for approximately 5 minutes which is not a long time unless you are in that type of pain. When he realized that if he continued, he would have additional health issue to content a heart rate of 137 along with a bp of 167/110, he said "well, I didn't get it all out but it will have to do. He left without said nothing as well to me as well. I was put in the hospital on demerol, oxy and heavy IV antibiotics for 4 days. Apparently, this infection which turned out to be staff was not far from going into my blood stream. I was released with oral antibiotics and the packing STILL in and had not been changed, and instructed to have my PCP change the packing in 2 days. He does not do that so, my wonderful PCP called a friend surgeon who agreed to do this for me. I saw the surgeon yesterday. He was shocked to say the least that they had not changed the packing and the infection is no where near well AND I see him tomorrow again to see if he is going to have to do the sanme thing all over again. I shared with him that the only way I would let anyone do this again would be to put me out. So we will see.

    You know, they put people to sleep to pull a tooth, am I wrong to request that they do the same for me in this instance? Has anyone ever had this happen to them?

    Again, I cannot explain to you enough so you can imagine the level of pain I am speaking about. Embarrissing as it is to tell you but the pain was so bad I actually wet on myself during this.

    Is this how these things are normally done or did I just get a sadistic doc? All I know is, I will take my chances before I ever go through that again.

    Any thoughts our similar experiences would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the long post.

  2. dragon06

    dragon06 New Member

    Sorry to hear about that treatment. I haven't been to the ER since I moved to the US so I can't really say anything about treatment...seems to me they should have done more for you though.

    I hope your infection clears up and you are on the road to recovery.
  3. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    First I'd like to say I'm sooo sorry your whole deal was so bad at ER. Four or five days ago I got a pea size lump in the same way you did and like you mine got big the next day and oh so very sore and red (about the size of a lime). I had an appointment with my doctor the next day because of itching skin ect from my pain med. Well My doctor drained it, he gave me a local around it cut a spot above it and said THIS IS GOING TO HURT wow did it hurt he pushed and pushed and showed me what he was getting out and said that's how staff starts. When he was done I ran out of that office! Man did that hurt:( Doctor said to call him if it looks infected. I had no packing or stitches. Well it hurt bad and drained for two days but it healed up great. Man I'm glad that is over:) I'm fine now and I hope you are getting better and hope you didn't have to have it drained again. Oh yes to be knocked out would be a good thing:)

    Tammie if I had waited any longer I'm sure I would have been in big trouble. Mine was in the very same place your was right under my armpit just a little above my breast to me it seemed to ran into my breast. I sure hope you are ok
    Love Dee50
    [This Message was Edited on 01/18/2007]
  4. abcanada

    abcanada New Member

    I sure hope you're doing better now. That was uncalled for. You were right though, in the future never squeeze anything like that, as you're just pushing it futher into your blood stream. You're very lucky. I really hope you feel better soon. I posted yesterday a rate your doc website. .You should think about adding that guys name.
  5. TFD

    TFD New Member

    Thank you so much for your quick responses. I learn so much from you guys and it always make me feel better just "talking" with you.

    I do plan on getting the Doc's name and writing the administration. I came out of it fine just traumatized. But...what if I had a heart problem...or..or...a stroke from the high blood pressure, which by the way I have had a TIA before.

    And Dee, isn't it strange how this nodule is in the same place. You wouldn't by chance be on Enbrel would you?

    Love you guys!

  6. HurtsToMove

    HurtsToMove New Member

    But her infection was in her abdomen area. They numbed her up and sliced her belly open like a fish and she didn't feel a thing. So much nasty stuff came out that the nurses thought a stink bomb was let off. The doc stuck his whole hand inside her to clean out the pus-like stuff and she still felt no pain, only pressure.

    I don't think that you should have felt any pain IMHO. Maybe it's different in the spot where you had your cyst, though. More ennervation or something like that.

    At any rate I would certainly file a complaint with the hospital.
  7. springrose22

    springrose22 New Member

    While the Dr. is right that there are risks with sedation, for him to continue in this case, was obviously a very poor choice on his part. They could have given you at least two other drugs there in the ER with an IV running, and this would have been much more comfortable and not caused you so much trauma. You definitely need to file a complaint at least. Very poor treatment. I hope this infection clears up real soon. Marie
  8. jake123

    jake123 New Member

    What about a smidge of Versed? Some Ativan? The Versed would have put Tammie into a light sleep. I've had it before when I had a colonoscopy and I didn't feel anything. They also gave me Fentanyl - in an IV. Our ER would have immediately put in an IV line.
  9. Kimba4318

    Kimba4318 New Member

    Hurtstomove: I had the same thing your mother did. I had staph generated from a stomach surgery. The wound was full of puss and well... dead tissue. The reason I only felt pressure and pulling was because it was dead and infected.

    Tammies was another kind of wound/lump. Hers was felt so much more than your mother and I. I saw them use the scalple (sp) and his hand as well & I cried because it did not seem humane. However, there was no real pain during it.

    Tammie - you should have been on Demerol or other meds as listed above. That was uncalled for! You have the right to be out of pain when in the ER. I hope you are recovering now. That sounds like an awful experience. I have been thru my share of them, but my goodness... I would see what you can do about preventing this from happening again. I am sure the other doc will make sure you are put to sleep or atleast in a twilight sedation.

    Best of Luck to you - I am so sorry...
  10. TFD

    TFD New Member

    Thanks again guys for your responses and concern. I did see a surgeon yesterday and I am healing nicely. He too, expressed how badly he felt the whole thing was handled. It has been a lesson well learned.

    Take care all and my prayers are with you all:)

  11. jodboga

    jodboga New Member

    In 1988 I had a boil that had went into my bloodstream , needless to say my temperature was 103 and I was rushed to the hospital with a nine day stay but the pain was not bad I was out of it because of the fever . these things are so dangerous if not taken care of properly . The dr . could have been more understanding to say the least . Hope you mend fast .
  12. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    No Tammie I was not on Enbrel. Only on Guai at the time. I had just stopped taking Ultram ER and cyclobenzaprine the generic for Flexeril. I'm so glad you are doing better now. I was having skin problem, itching and scratching in my sleep leaving big open sores all over my body. I don't no why-it may be the Ultram ER I'm not sure yet. I do not go to ER room. I've had bad times there too and the cost wow. I don't have ins.
    Take care,love Dee50
    [This Message was Edited on 01/19/2007]
  13. tandy

    tandy New Member

    you poor thing~
    I feel for you :(

    I can't say whos right or wrong.
    I guess sometimes when an infection is THAT bad,... they need to get it drained out asap!! ???
    My sister in law gets the same thing (or very simular)
    Always her left breast, she does run a fever too,
    feels terrible,. its very painful according to her.
    Her OBGYN has called it a breast abcess.
    Hers has reaccured 4-5 times. They lance it,..drain it and pack it right there in the drs. office.(shes given a shot to numb the area)
    I know she's sometimes on antibiotis for 5 weeks after!

    I've had boils lanced.(ouch! no fun) and a bad tooth infection abcess that swelled up the entire roof of my.
    mouth. I know what ya mean when you say the hafta push,and sqeeze all the gook out,.... That hurts!! I saw stars!
    Rest alot,...drink water to flush out your body well.
    Hope your feeling alot better soon~
  14. RedHeadEMT

    RedHeadEMT New Member

    Hi Tammie! I am so sorry to hear about your terrible experience. If I may add my two-sense, here it goes... What you had sounds like MRSA aka Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It is a particularly vicious form of staph that is super resistant to most antiibitoics.

    Folks who get it and have a rather strong immune system, on the whole, show their infection through pimples or boils, filled with staphy pus and other dead tissue. If one does not get the boil lanced and drained, followed with heavy antibiotics, early on, they will have problems like you had, where you had to be hostpitalized because your case was so advanced, and have to undergo not only oral antibiotics, but also intravenous antibiotics.

    If someone just continues to ignore the boil for long enough, the infection can spread to ones's circulatory system and/or their respiratory system and things can quickly deplete from there, since it is much more difficult to treat at that point.

    People who have weak immune systems often times skip the pimple/boil stage and the MRSA immediately goes into the blood or resp system. I guess you can think of the boil as an early detection warning or alarm.

    WHAT your doc did, in terms of treating the boil was correct, but HOW he did it, was NOT. It is completely unethical to not listen to a pt when she/he is screaming in pain. Every medical professional knows that.

    Was there anyone there with you that could have advocated on your behalf? I've found that a few times when someone close to me, or even I, have been in the ER, it really helps and is almost necessary, to have someone as a go between you and the docs, most especially when you need better pain management.

    It looks more urgent and it is better received (although it should always be sufficient when a pt tell you) if that advocate says, "Listen, my ____ is in severe pain and she needs something for it. When is someone going to get something for her?" and stand watching them until they do.

    Anyways, I hope that you are on your way to a speedy recovery and that something so unpleasant never happens to you again.

    Many gentle hugs,

  15. TFD

    TFD New Member


    Thank you so much for the info. It was very informative.

    To answer your question husband was right there asking the dr what else could he do to help with the pain. He specifically asked the dr why he didn't just put me to sleep...and would he stop and put me to sleep now. It was almost as painful for my love to watch me suffer as it was for me. He now says if he had it to do over, he would demand another dr or some other action.

    Thanks again!!

    Hugs back

  16. Seascape194

    Seascape194 New Member

    Have just finished reading your account of your experience and feel like throwing up! I can believe the pain you are describing as I had a D&C and biopsy done under local anasthetic and it wore off as the doctor was finishing the D&C. Great doctor, I loved him - he was respectful and kind, but WOW was that painful. I think you were probably up there.

    I really think you need to file a complaint. The whole episode smacks of poor medical procedure, hygiene(sp?), empathy (FOR SURE) and consideration of your existing condition.

    Did they not ask when you went in what you were already taking? Here in Canada it's mandatory and even though my local hospital knows they have to be really careful with me because my whole immune system collapsed in 1999 so I react to everything in ways they may not expect, they still ask every time. I have three typewritten pages that I take a copy of with me any time I see a doctor or go to emerg. Page 1 is what drugs I'm allergic to as well as latex, food, and metal allergies (some drug fillers react like food allergies, you see). Page 2 lists my current medication regime and Page 3 is my diagnosed conditions.

    The other thing I do is that any time I see a new doctor I request to be copied on ANY report they produce on me. My medical file is about 4" thick but at least I have all my backup documentation if they question my diagnosis.

    Hope you don't ever have to go through this again.

  17. Seascape194

    Seascape194 New Member


    You are entitled to have a copy of any report a doctor prepares on you by law. It's your health, your body and your right so if anyone tells you differently, they need to be corrected and if they won't keep you informed, you should file a complaint with the appropriate governing body.

    I worked as a paralegal up till 1999 when I became ill and subsequently disabled and I know that this is regulation here in Canada and I can't see why it wouldn't be the same there.

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