How can we get female heart patients past ER gatekeepers?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

Sometimes, people in my women’s heart health presentation audiences ask me if I’ve ever gone back to confront the physician who had misdiagnosed me with acid reflux and sent me home from the E.R. – despite my textbook heart attack symptoms of chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm.  No, my heart sisters, I never did. But what did happen was, I think, even more satisfyingly juicy.   

Months after surviving that heart attack, and freshly fortified with Mayo Clinic cred after graduating from their annual WomenHeart Science & Leadership training for women with heart disease, I received an invitation to share what I’d just learned at Mayo to local docs and nurses working in Emergency Medicine.  I was offered one hour on the agenda of their annual Staff Education Day to talk about my own fateful misdiagnosis – and how, according to the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic, that scenario might be avoided for future female heart patients like me: women who present with textbook cardiac symptoms but “normal” diagnostic tests.  Continue reading “How can we get female heart patients past ER gatekeepers?”

“Gigi”: An E.R. doc’s warning to his residents

by Carolyn Thomas

An experienced E.R. physician is supervising a regular training lesson for residents in his hospital’s Emergency Medicine program one morning. The class is reviewing EKGs, going over interesting cardiac cases from their E.R., and reviewing subtle abnormalities in lab work or x-rays.

His residents are willing to put in this extra time to become better E.R doctors.

On the EKGs shown overhead on the big screen, the name of each heart patient being discussed is whited-out to protect patient confidentiality. What isn’t hidden, though, is the name of the EKG tech who performed the EKG procedure on the patient. And there, in the left lower border of EKG #6’s information box, the E.R. doc spots the technician’s name.

“Gigi”.     Continue reading ““Gigi”: An E.R. doc’s warning to his residents”

‘Gaslighting’ – or, why women are just too darned emotional during their heart attacks

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

I came across the term gaslighting the other day, and I immediately grasped its practical application to everyday life. (Very similar reaction, in fact, to first hearing the word mansplaining!) But I digress. The concept of gaslighting may ring bells for any woman who has been misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack, patted on the head and sent home from the E.R. in abject embarrassment. Continue reading “‘Gaslighting’ – or, why women are just too darned emotional during their heart attacks”