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Why Was My Sister Given Heparin?

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Little Elm, TX"My sister had been disabled for years but she was managing well and was a vital member of her community," says Ollie, "then she had a fall and went to hospital." Ollie couldn't understand why her sister's health deteriorated so fast, until she read the medical records and death certificate—she was given massive amounts of heparin.

Heparin InjectionOllie got a call one morning that her sister, Ivory, had fallen. Ollie phoned for an ambulance and met Ivory at the hospital. "She was feeling OK so we just expected the doctors to look at her and send her home—no bones were broken," says Ollie. "Ivory had a good sense of humor, she was even flirting with the attendants—at 74 years old.

"They thought she had pneumonia and kept her for a few days for observation then sent her to rehab at Prairie Estates to get her strength back. They were a big help and started an exercise routine for Ivory. But I got a call from them saying she was breathing irregularly and they wanted to send her back to hospital. Again, I met Ivory at the hospital and she was still in good spirits, expecting to get a check-up.

She has a history of congestive heart failure—the whole family does—but we are all active. They put a tube in her gallbladder to see if it was infected but nothing showed up. They left the tube in and they also put a catheter in. As well, they decided to put a tube in her arm so she could get medicines and nutrients. I told them I was concerned because she wasn't getting any better—by now she was on a breathing apparatus. They decided to put her in another facility.

But she got an infection at that facility and she couldn't stay there, so she was moved back to Centennial hospital. They called in a hematologist and he told me that she had a blood infection; her platelets were down so she couldn't fight off an infection. He said it was heparin-induced. She had swollen like the Pillsbury dough boy and had a yeast infection under her breasts. The tube to her gall bladder was black—it was awful.

Ivory just got weaker and weaker until she couldn't even speak. Her body shut down-they said she had infections in her organs and they didn't expect her to live much longer. They put her in a hospice and she died December 8th, 2008. Ivory went into hospital to get better, not to get an infection and die there.

Ivory's death certificate states she died from heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Her IV lines were flushed with heparin and they told me she had heparin to prevent blood clots but she didn't have major surgery so I don't know why she was given heparin. At this point I had never heard of the heparin recall or heparin contamination…

They also said she had a significant kidney disease but her kidneys were functioning before she went into hospital. Why were they being so evasive? I had no idea what caused her kidneys to shut down.

I am a Christian so I am trying not to get angry but I am also trying to use common sense; I have read that heparin should not be used unless something major happens so why was it the cause of her death when it wasn't even necessary?

Here in Texas they don't send your primary care doctor to the hospital—they just get notices. I told Ivory's doctor what was happening to her and I mentioned heparin to him but I don't think anyone is going to talk about drugs causing death because they don't want anyone to be at fault.

I didn't know heparin was dangerous until I did some research and the jury is still out on this drug—they should have known. For all I know, she was given contaminated heparin; she went into hospital from a fall and had a cold; she definitely did not have an infection. They gave her heparin and I watched her body change—it was horrible. Ivory was looking forward to moving into a new apartment; she was not ready to die. I hope by getting legal help that I am doing the right thing by Ivory—I think she would have wanted that."


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What was the outcome of the legal help... Because I have a similar story and can't seem to get legal help.


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