Post Mortem - he would have lived

Today I had a morning appointment (phone) with my GP to discuss the Post Mortem of my husband René and his previous medical records. I made sure I was showered before 9am and ready with my notepad. He called just after 2pm and I got answers I didn’t want but I did ask for.

I am so angry and upset and I don’t know who to turn to so I came here hoping for what I don’t know but I just have to get this out because no one else will listen to the end of my sentence.

René died of a sudden unexpected heart attack. The Coroner had explained that to me already and no doubt due to my new always-out-of-control distraught state told me lots of comforting lies about how it would always have happened blah-de-blah.

The Post Mortem showed all arteries were severely diseased and what finally happened was that the lovely healthy walk we had gone to on the Sunday, when he had gone to get my mums hat because I was too tired and come back with his back pain was the start of a blood clot, this then overnight got stuck in an artery 85% narrowed and blocked it. The heart attack expanded into another part of his heart and it went into a weird rhythm. If someone could have got to him within seconds with a defib and restarted his heart that could have saved him but it would have had to be seconds.

That made me feel better about that I hadn’t forced him to hospital the evening before because the doctor expected it would have had to be literally seconds so unless his bed was next to the machine and someone was there it was too late.

BUT it seems it wasn’t so unexpected after all. René had gone for a cardiogram/heart scans 4 years ago due to high blood pressure at a standard health check and it showed an enlarged heart and a flickering heart muscle (this was news to me, I don’t know if René knew but chose not to tell me, he usually told me all details of his appointments though). The doctor had prescribed him tablets for BP but after 6 months he stopped taking them and told the doctor it was because they were having no effect (his BP didn’t drop…).

They also prescribed him statins but after reading on the internet/books/articles about them (and we watched a lot of documentaries on the subject) he decided not to take them in favour of a lifestyle overhaul, he lost weight, stopped smoking, regular exercise… this year he reduced sugar heavily too.
The doctor had written in his file “he won’t take statins because he thinks corrupt people in government have family with shares in the companies that make them and it is just a con to spend public money to inflate their personal profit when healthy lifestyle could do the same”. I agreed with René then and it was me who showed him these documentaries i remember after an ex-paramedic friend at work at the time had recommended one to me when i was telling him about René.

The doctor said healthy lifestyle could have worked but he would have recommended to take the pills and IF René had continued taking both pills he probably would have lived. He also conceded that if someone had recognised the back pain as Angina instead of back pain when René went to the doctor about it they could have assessed whether to do a heart bypass and since every other part of his body was revealed to be healthy in the Post Mortem then chances are he would have lived a long time still.

I know we shouldn’t do IFs and nothing brings him back but my mind is whirling again.

It’s his birthday tomorrow and I’ll have a “birthday toast” with his brothers and sisters on WhatsApp, They had been saying he was too stubborn not taking his medication last time we had all met (with him and he was arguing with them) and I had defended him but now I feel like I supported the wrong side and I feel ashamed to tell them, my mum or anyone as if I hadn’t have supported him he probably would have taken those pills.

I have been looking to the birthday toast for many weeks (since the funeral) but now I feel like a sham… I participated in this, I was evangelical about the healthy lifestyle after all I read.

If we were wrong about that were we wrong about this house, and so many other things I had started to feel a bit more settled about. I keep trying to anchor myself but just when I think I’m making it for a few hours something rips me up and chucks me again.

I was a bit dazed after the call and the bins needed putting out (learning to do it the evening before now as René used to do it in the morning but that’s not working for me anymore) so I went out and I was crying, not really concentrating and then of course right in front of me looking into my eyes was one of those anti-social men we had reported to the police in the past, I managed to stop crying and he smirked and continued walking past our drive. They will all be very glad René is dead if they know. They also take illegal drugs and do god knows what else but they are all alive and well enough to smirk at me. Seeing his stupid face angered me even further. Also the home automation stopped working again. I keep getting back up but feel so trapped in this new life that totally stinks.
Last night I felt comforted by our house but tonight I feel alone, cold and like it isn’t where I should be but I can’t think where I should be.

I need René to talk to about this but he is not there.

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I’ve read your post over and over and I can’t find the words to write anything near a good reply but I wanted you to know I’m listening, as I’m sure many others are. X

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Dear @FleurDeLis,

After reading your post, I noticed there were just too many factors at work, would you both have come to the same conclusion without those recommended documentaries? Would he have changed his lifestyle if he chose to take the pills? If he didn’t change his lifestyle, would he have suffered from other life-threatening conditions? Can you say he’d have definitely changed his mind if you were agreeing with the “right” side? The doctor said ‘probably he’d have lived’, it’s one of those probabilities that we always wish for…

Moreover, René made the primary decision himself and we all have to take responsibility for our own health, we cannot physically feel their bodies and he might not have told you some signs that could have worried you, I often wonder about that about my partner.

One decision always leads to another and with our limited knowledge and intellect it is impossible to foresee the outcome of so many intertwining variables.

I often thought of the ‘coulda, shoulda, wouldas’ myself and came across this article about coping with those. Here is a quote:

"Because we want order.

This is a big reason for why we experience guilt and blame, though as grievers we often fail to see this connection. The bottom line is this: without someone or something to blame, we have to accept that the universe may be unpredictable and chaotic. If we think we could have done something differently that would have changed the outcome of a loss, that can provide comfort that there is a rational order to things and that we have some control. If we accept that we never could have known or changed the outcome we must accept that some things that happen are complete outside our control. As long as we hold on to guilt we have hope that we could have controlled the outcome. A perception of control (however inaccurate) is often more comforting than considering that we have no control. Talk about the lesser of two evils . . ."

You can read the whole topic at this link:

We are here to listen and I am sorry for my rambling.

Love,
Riley

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Hi Fleur,

I read your post and completely get your anger and frustrations.

Although the coroner gave bad news, you can take some comfort (maybe in time) that you know what caused Rene’s death.

My mums post mortem gave no reason for her brain bleed but I learnt that my mum had suffered a historic heart attack which none of us knew about, she had a 95 percent blocked carotid artery, blocked arteries around her heart etc etc

The facts I had to face were that my mum wasnt going on much longer anyway. The same with my dad who suffered a massive fatal heart attack aged 53.

And like Rene, neither my mum or dad followed medical advice, only saw doctors when they had to and werent great with their medication.

Having administered CPR a number of times in my job I have seen very few people suffer heart attacks in public places and survive.

I am sorry for the pain you are going through every day and agree that the people that abuse themselves with drugs etc all seem to last forever.

I hope in time knowing what caused Rene’s death brings some comfort.

Cheryl x

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@FleurDeLis I think generally men are not particularly good at seeking medical advice or following the advice when it is given. If Renee was seriously worried about his health he would have continued to take the medication and gone to any follow up appointments. It is certainly not something you can blame yourself for, it’s a trait I see in myself and many of my male friends
I hope the WhatsApp call goes well today

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Dear Fleur
I am so sorry that you have been distressed by the post mortem results…it is a very difficult situation and I feel for you.
We live in a world which often seems unbelievably cruel and unfair…today’s society expects there to be a solution for everything and imagines that we are in control but, as the current pandemic is teaching us, that is far from the truth.
I believe that each life form has an allotted span and when that span has been completed our time on this earth ends. The cause and manner of one’s passing is incidental although,of course,to those of us left behind it assumes immense significance. Nothing you do now will bring Renee back…everything you did before you did in good faith and because you loved him. That is what is important…you loved each other in life and will continue to love each other after death.
I hope you will find comfort and peace in the days ahead…it is a long struggle but we are all here to help each other along.
Take care…God bless you x

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Hi Fleur,

Hmmm. As for the scan 4 years ago, that should have triggered at least six monthly follow ups if not immediate investigation. Was Rene told to take 25 mgm aspirin daily? That alone could have prevented the clots from forming.
I know many doctors who refuse to take statins for various different reasons, mainly they are notorious for causing muscle cramps. Also the benefits unless Rene already had high levels of bad fats in his blood are limited. You need to ask for the blood test results.
Also, given the scan results he should have been flagged in the GP records as having heart disease, so why the pain was misinterpreted as back/muscle strain remains unanswered. If Rene was given anti-inflammatory drugs they have a similar effect to statins and aspirin.
I think you need to ask the coroner to hold a formal inquest because there are so many unanswered questions. I might do that for Jim. There’s a charity called Inquest who can help you, and also AVMA, which I’ve mentioned before.
The chances are that statins would have caused muscle cramps, so Rene might well have stopped them anyway for that reason. The fact that the BP pills didn’t work should have been investigated - there are several different types so there are alternatives. That also should have triggered a referral to cardiology.
Please don’t blame yourself. Many people think as you do.

Lots of love,

Kirsty

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Dear Fleur you must calm yourself you will turn into a bitter person, people that take drugs do so to shut the world they live in out. My husband became ill 2015 with prostate cancer had 37 radiotherapys his last one Xmas that year . He went on to have his 2 heart attackes defibrillator and pacemaker put in, pulmonary fibrosis, diabetes, and vascular dementia. He was on 165 tablets a week to keep him going.They told us one day he had a cyst on his kidney but doctor said it was a tumour that couldn’t be operated on after he died.He had 5 organs that was packing in on him but I had him with me for 5 years I have been on statins for 10 years I have very bad back pains I blame them, but it keeps my arteries from furring up. No one can put anything in your mouth that you don’t want so your hubby did what he felt right for him. Your only on this earth as long As the time your given not a minute longer. You and your husband must have had wonderful times together don’t live the rest of your life with regrets and what ifs.Be the sweet lady I am sure you are and you said he did every thing to stay fit you carnt ask for any more he did that for you like my husband did for me.Will think of you often be strong and be happy take care Florence xxxxx​:mask::mask::kissing_heart::santa:t3:

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My husband died from a heart attack which we were told could have been caused by a blood clot, no pm was done so we will never know for sure, but he had bp tablets and statins among other medications which he took regularly, and this still happened. Please don’t torture yourself with ifs and could haves.

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My dearest FleurdeLis,
my Da wasn’t a well man xx
He had every form of arthritis known and was taking Methatrexate x he also was diagnosed most recently with Addisons Disease which played havoc with his blood sugars :disappointed:
But never had there been as my mention about issues with his heart xx I never agreed to a pm as I felt he had been through enough however my Gp said with his ongoing problems and the fact he was on such a large amount of steroids would of had a massive impact xxx

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thank you very much for your replies. My whole life is in disarray as are many of you I know too and this just feels now like another task I am failing at, René often used the small claims court to fight companies he thought were trying to screw the little guy or being negligent. He thrived on fighting for what was right. He also reported several big companies to the European Court of Human Rights (or something like that, I cannot remember exactly). He reported our Gtr Man police and since his death I have had 2 replies now from our MP in response to complaints he had sent. He was a real champion of justice.

Since my post I have spoken to a colleague he used to tell about his health appointments (even telling him he had a boil or something up his bum at one point, he didn’t have shyness like Brits!!!). He didn’t tell any of us about the enlarged heart and flickering heartbeat so I am convinced the doctors never told him. If this situation was reversed he would take it to the end of the line with the NHS I know for sure, and he would do it calmly just to stop it happening to other people and so the ones negligent were struck off or learned. Maybe I will one day manage, I like to hope so but for now this is just one of the many things I should be doing that I am failing at. I am sorry René.

@Florance your comment about me turning into a bitter person is something I have thought about a lot. I am definitely going in that direction, I hate the world, I don’t want to though. Thank you.

Thank you all for your stories too, this makes me feel a little easier that I am not taking this further (at least right now) as maybe then the outcome would have been the same as in your cases. Thank you for the great support every single one of you xxxxxx

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Hi Fleur, it is totally up to you what you do. You are not a medical doctor, you are devastated by the death of your beloved Rene. So you can take all the time you like before you make the decision. After all, you have no idea at all of what Rene’s medical records mean.
Christie xxx
ps with a humongous cyber hug!!!

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Hi mrsT1

I blame Methotrexate for my mums death. She was as strong as an ox until she was started on that a year before she died. Initially it reduced her swollen hands and joints due to rheumatoid arthritis, but she aged dramatically and I believe it weakened her heart. She had a brain hemorrhage aged 74 and her PM showed severe damage to her heart and arteries.
What did you think about the effects of that drug?
Cheryl

Hi @C1971,

My husband had been taking methotrexate for a number of years as well as very strong painkillers , Gabapentin, amitriptyline, tramadol (even liquid morphine).
As you are aware the methotrexate lowers the immune system and each time Dave was unwell he had to stop the injections , which would then lead to flare ups of his rheumatoid.

More recently he developed a condition called Addisons disease which left him with adrenal deficiency - this gave him episodes of his blood sugars being very erratic. One time he was out clay pigeon shooting with one of his friends and they had to bring him home as he couldn’t get his words out and was unsteady on his feet.
Once home he got worse and became unresponsive, he was breathing but was in a trance like state , I thought he was having a stroke called 999 and was admitted into hospital,
After this episode he was put on steroids’ and this is where his health as far as i am concerned seemed to take a turn for the worse.

Dave was no stranger to hospital, his health issues where many but never anything to do with his heart?

Back in March just as we entered the first lockdown , Dave had a really nasty chest infection, he was in the high risk group so decided to get medical advice. At hospital he was told he had symptons of covid 19 but they did not test him. Instead they gave him very strong antibiotics and sent him home.
This cleared and he seemed fine.

I have wondered many times , did he have it ? Had it affected his heart (as you hear that it can and cause Blood clots)? Was it to do with his medication, taking such a cocktail of drugs not just the methotrexate and pain killers , steroids’ the all the other things too, Dave had to take so many other things Cacit D3, Vitamin A, B12, Forceval , Zinc, Pro D3, Folic Acid, Iron … the list is endless!
Did all this put a strain on his vital organs?

I was asked if I wanted a PM , but he had been through so much pain in his life, I didn’t want him to go through that, it wouldn’t bring him back.

Prior to being given methotrexate he was on another drug, the name alludes me at this moment in time.

Dave Lived with his rheumatoid arthritis for over 20 years, I salute him for that. He was in constant pain but never gave up.

Take Care , Mrs T

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Dear @MrsT1

I also have type of rheumatoid arthritis, not as severe as Dave. It is an auto-immune disease, which means it is best treated by trying to suppress the immune system. unfortunately immunology is one of the areas that is, in medical terms, in its infancy. We simply do not know exactly how the immune system works, and so medics tend to through whatever they know works at it. (Compare with cancer treatment - any good oncologist will tell the patient that chemotherapy, especially combined chemotherapy, is really guess work, but they will keep trying until they find the right combination for the patient.)
Of the other things that Dave took, they are mainly essential vitamins and minerals that are intended to support his immune system, I’m fairly sure. I have a degree in medical science.
Dave did very well to survive RA for as long as he did, and Addison’s disease is notoriously difficult to control.
I can’t answer your questions, but I think Dave was a very brave and strong man.
Love,

Christie xxx

Hi All
Your stories and experiences on this Topic is heartbreaking.
I too have my doubts regarding my husbands death.
I will start by telling you that I am a great believer in Natural Therapy with lifestyle and diet. I started to become interested some years ago when my husband was in hospital and I found that the Doctors knew very little about diet etc. When my husband was seriously ill again a few years later and they then discovered that he had Cancer I had to up my game regarding lifestyle as he was written off by the doctors. Nothing they could do… Spread to far…Or so they said So no treatment was offered. He was incredibly fragile and thin so I put him on an even healthier diet, cutting out and including different foods, As well as vitamins for his immune system (they have never been known to kill anyone, unlike prescribed medication) and fortunately he was a keen Rambler, Cyclist and we did Rock climbing, I even got him to the Gym!!! so no problems with exercise. I received no encouragement or help from the medical profession as it is not what they are trained in, so of no interest to them. He went on to live another ten years and two months. In his last weeks I noticed he was taking prescribed medication but said nothing, it was obvious he was dying. I didn’t want to distress him. When he passed away I found empty empty medication packets all hidden from me. He must have been taking this medication for much longer than I thought. I also discovered he had stopped taking the vitamins I was giving him and throwing them away.
So I ask myself, how did he manage to live an active and healthy lifestyle while on our Healthy regime and deteriorated and died the last year while on prescribed medication. He knew I would ask a great many questions so he kept this medication a secret from me. I don’t dwell on it anymore. I will never know… The heartbreaking thing was that there was nothing else wrong with him and apart from the Cancer he was classed as a fit man.
So I would say don’t beat yourselves up. I didn’t want to know why he took medication, why he kept it hidden from me or what the outcome might have been if things had been different. He’s gone and that’s the end of it.

Pat

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Hi. Unfortunately my husband had a double heart bypass but he was one of the unfortunate ones. He had a very severe stroke 11 days after. 4 months in hospital. Made a good recovery but slowly went downhill. Was on Apixaban for heart but got Pulmonary Fibrosis as well. I believe Apixaban can cause this. Died 2nd December gone. Was bedridden for a year. So medicine for one ailment can have side effects leading to other serious conditions. At least he passed suddenly and didn’t die breathless with fibrosis
and I was with him. Hope u can find some peace soon. X

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