Angela repeatedly saw a doctor because she was not feeling well. She was fatigued and had pain in her lung. After multiple visits to the doctor and finally being admitted to the hospital, Angela was told she was in heart failure and had suffered a heart attack without realizing it. She was given a heart catheterization and then told that she had three blockages in her heart and would require open heart surgery.
"They told me that there was a possibility I might not survive the surgery," Angela says. "I was frightened for a split second, but I thought, 'If not now, when?' So I decided to have the surgery. However, I am a diabetic, I had been without fluids the day before the surgery and I had not had food since midnight because of the other procedures and tests they did. I was worried about the surgery, but I figured I'm not the first diabetic they have done open heart surgery on.
"I came out of the surgery alright--on Wednesday, February 16, 2005. On the Thursday, I came out of the anesthetic enough to be aware that my daughter was commenting to my doctor about my output. I was also aware that I was extremely sick."
Angela says she was told she would recover from the open heart surgery in four to five days. She wound up in the hospital for another three weeks following the surgery.
"I remember the nurses saying to me, 'The surgery and the medications you get are very hard on your kidneys,'" Angela says. "I didn't make the connection that my fatigue was related to my kidneys. I had no clue what was going on with me. Nobody told me officially what happened, but people would say, 'That drug does affect your kidneys.' I thought that the problems were just me."
Angela says she continued to feel unwell for a long time following the surgery and was finally referred to a nephrologist, who gave her the devastating news that she was in end-stage kidney failure. She says she requested a second opinion, and got one, but the diagnosis was still the same: End-stage kidney failure.
"The nephrologist told me that I was right on the edge of dialysis. I might sit there for a year or I might sit there for a day. I live like this every day. If I feel sick, I wonder if it is the stomach flu or if I have to go to the hospital to get hooked up to a machine. I am fatigued every day and give myself shots to boost my blood count because I am anemic. I am usually in bed by 6:30. I have no endurance to do any activities during the week. I work [as a teacher] so that I have money to buy medications and see my specialist.
"I'm trying to find another profession to support myself. I'm going to go on dialysis—it's inevitable. As soon as dialysis hits I won't be able to teach five days a week. Without my pay I won't be able to pay bills, won't have a home, won't have a car, won't have food. I wonder all the time, "is today the day?" That's kidney failure for you.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
Angela is not the only person left wondering if Trasylol was used in her surgery. One of the problems with Trasylol is that many patients are given it during surgery without their knowledge. They may have reactions to the drug, such as kidney failure, but never know that Trasylol was used. It is possible that a person who has suffered kidney failure following open heart surgery was given Trasylol.
If you are not sure whether or not Trasylol was used in your surgery, a lawyer can help to evaluate your case.