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my Mom just died 3 months after getting her gall bladder removed

I wrote almost a month ago asking if any one had extreme weight loss after getting their gall bladder removed. Well, since then, I watched my mother die in front of me without even knowing it. She never recovered from her surgery. She was told to watch what she eats, but after 2 weeks, she was still unable ti eat. Almost everything tasted tart to her. That included strawberries, ketchup, mustard.(that's all I can think of now). We've been to several doctors and emergency rooms, with all the test showing up normal. Finally on Monday, after almost passing out trying to take a bath, she brushed her hair and a big clump came out. My Dad took her to the Doctor, and he told her all of her vital signs were normal. You could tell something was s=wrong. He again took her blood pressure sitting up, after the first one she was laying down, and this one should her blood pressure being low. He admitted her in the hospital and was treating her for dehydration. She was scheduled to take a cat scan at 10:00 that night, but as she was drinking the medicine, she started to vomit, then threw her head back and went into cardic arrest. Thank god somebody was in the room with her. She never recovered. She ended up dying the next day. They said her body went into septic shock. We are still waiting for the autopsy, but so far, they ruled out heart failure as the cause. Can anyone give me some closure? Again her systems included extreme weight loss, (70 pounds in 3 months), nausea, vomiting yellow fluid, She had no fever, up until the last day, and no stomach pain.
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28293 tn?1213140550
I am so sorry to hear about your mother.
I don't know why this happened, but I can refer you to some information on Septic Shock (sepsis).

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Avatar universal
Thanks for responding. Is this something that could have been prevented. We again heard back from the Doctor about the autospy, and what they listed down for the cause of death was all of her symptoms. It amazes me that they still couldn't come with something. They said all of her organs were ok, so then why did they all shut down? If it was Septic Shock, wouldn't there be any proof once they did the autopsy?  Thanks for you help
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28293 tn?1213140550
My husband went into septic shock after a kidney stone operation. To make a very long story short.....he had lots of problems immediately following this "simple" ( ! ) operation. First they said he was going into heart failure, then they decided it was SEPTIC SHOCK. He was put into Intensive Care, and given massive doses of anti-biotics, along with 2 blood transfusions. After 2 weeks, he was sent home. (August 2000).
He never felt "right" after that, and on Nov. 1, 2000, he got very very sick. (Vomiting and fever that night). I rushed him to the hospital again. They told me that he was in "SEPTIC SHOCK" again. The doctor told me that it was commonly called "blood poisoning". He spent a week in Intensive Care on massive doses of anti-biotics.
While I was there, I became very uncomfortable.....noticing that the only other 2 people in Intensive Care, were also suffering from "Septic Shock". (SMALL LOCAL HOSPITAL).
I began to read all that I could find on the subject. I decided (I am not a doctor---but it seemed obvious to me)----that he MUST have an infection going on somewhere in his body, to be having all these problems since the August kidney stone operation. His doctors only seemed interested in giving him enough anti-biotics to get him well enough to go home. (Not finding the cause.)They told me that the septic shock seemed to "INSULT" his liver, and now he was in liver failure, and that he only had a limited amount of time to live. (Unbelievable, but true.) (All from a "simple" kidney stone operation!)
When he was well enough to leave there, (Nov. 7, 2000), we went to a much better doctor (130 miles away, in a large city), and had a liver specialist look him over. He ordered lots of tests, including a CT Scan....which showed that fragments of kidney stone had perforated my husband's liver, and were in all the surrounding tissue in my husband's abdomen. (During the "lithotripsy", when they busted up my husband's stone...apparently fragments went flying everywhere.)These stone fragments were causing an infection, which in turn developed into "Septic Shock", which almost killed him twice so far.
We are very fortunate, that the anti-biotics saved my husband's life twice so far.
But what is unfortunate, is that my husband's liver has been irreparably damaged, and that now he needs a liver transplant to survive. I'm told that there is a SHORTAGE of organ donors. Not enough donor organs to go around. We are hoping and praying that we will get a liver SOON.
Septic Shock is very very serious. It can shut down your liver, your heart, etc.  It is caused by an infection. (Lots of times, it's caused by a "simple" surgical procedure.)
If you are fortunate, a doctor will recognize the symptoms QUICKLY, and administer massive anti-biotics, to get it under control, before it shuts down your heart or liver.
I have been told (in our case) that because we signed the paper before surgery (the paper that states you "understand" that complications such as injury or death can occur from the operation)--- that we have no legal recourse for all of this trouble we have now.
NEVER in a million years would I have thought that a simple kidney stone operation would lead to septic shock and liver failure.
But it did.
I truly sympathise with you, for all you went through with your mother's ordeal.
Our doctors (local) will still not admit that the operation caused the infection.
When I read your post, and you said that since her operation, she didn't feel right (loss of appetite, things tasted "strange".....then vomiting yellow fluid, low blood pressure when she sat up), it gave me chills. All of that, I recognize.
I truly sympathise with you and your mother.
God Bless.

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28293 tn?1213140550
Alternative names:
bacteremic shock; endotoxic shock; warm shock

A serious, abnormal condition that occurs when blood flow through the body is insufficient, resulting in low blood pressure and decreased urine output. It is caused by an overwhelming infection.

CAUSES, incidence, and risk factors:

Septic shock occurs more often in the very old and the very young, and in people with other underlying illnesses. Many bacterial organisms can cause septic shock. Toxins released by bacteria can cause tissue damage and interfere with normal blood circulation.

The risk factors include underlying illnesses such as diabetes; hematologic cancers; and diseases of the genitourinary system, liver or biliary system, and intestinal system. Other risk factors are recent infection, prolonged antibiotic therapy, and a recent surgical or medical procedure. The incidence is approximately 3 out of 1,000,000 people annually.


Prompt treatment of infections caused by bacteria is helpful. However, many cases cannot be prevented.


low blood pressure, systolic usually less than 90
drop in blood pressure when sitting or standing
rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
cool, pale extremities
elevated temperature
restlessness, agitation, or confusion
low urine output

Additional symptoms:
swelling, overall
joint pain


blood gases may reveal low oxygen concentration and acidosis
blood cultures to detect infection
cardiac monitoring is consistent with high output



The objective of treatment is to:

provide oxygen and treat respiratory distress if present
elevate the legs to maximize blood flow to the brain
administer intravenous fluids to restore blood volume and vasoactive drugs to treat low blood pressure
treat underlying infections with antibiotics
Hemodynamic monitoring to evaluate the pressures in the heart and lungs in treatment of shock requires specialized equipment and intensive care nursing.


Septic shock has a high death rate, exceeding 50%, depending on the type of organism involved.


Respiratory or cardiac failure can occur.

This info came from these sites:





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Avatar universal
I am truly sorry for your loss, and the suffering you and your mom went through.

Many years ago, while I was a student nurse at a big city hospital, I saw a case where an older patient had his gall bladder removed. He said he didn't want to go "under the knife". After the operation, he got sicker and sicker, became "jaundiced"(yellow), lost much weight, and finally died, never leaving the hospital. I was a student nurse helping to care for this man. I kept asking for help from the doctors & nurses for him, but couldn't get anyone to seriously address his problems, until it was too late.

A "resident" doctor at that hospital later told me that the man's PANCREAS had gotten inflamed ("pancreatitis") due to "manipulation" (trauma from handling). Experienced surgeons can avoid this COMPLICATION OF GALL BLADDER SURGERY, BUT, because it was a teaching hospital, inexperienced surgeon/student(s) had HANDLED the pancreas TOO MUCH during the surgery.

No-one would take responsibility, and the hospital covered up this incident. The "resident" doctor said that if the family had known what really happened there would have been a big lawsuit, and the doctors protected eachother in that case.

I'm telling you this, not to hurt you, but to help you find peace in knowing possibly what happened, and to make people aware that they MUST do whatever they can to prevent this problem. Don't blame yourself, when even I couldn't save the man. But NOW, I am sadder and wiser, and when my husband was hospitalized for other problems, I was there, to protect him as much as I could from incompetence and malpractice, that is all too common.
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