I need an opinion immediately due to the condition of the hospital due to COVID.
Female, Age 58, Caucasian, Non-Smoker, Non-Drinker, Weight: ~150 lbs., Height: 5'6
My mom had a TIA (transischemic attack) which is a mini-stroke in her eye last Saturday. Her left forearm also went numb during this. She went to the eye doctor and he diagnosed her with amarousis fugax, and immediately referred her to a cardiologist to get an ultrasound of her left carotid artery.
My mom also has a recent history of some chest pains that extend down her left arm. She also was diagnosed with mitrovalve prolapse years back, but doctors here are saying her heart imagery shows no evidence of that.
The cardiologist told her the tests were too expensive since she doesn't have insurance, but this ultimately won't be an issue since we are blessed to have a family member that has agreed to paying for all of my mother's medical expenses.
The cardiologist advised my mother to call around to all the local hospitals and get the best price quotes before he would order her tests. He urged her that it was important she do this A.S.A.P.
Well, due to COVID my mom was unsuccessful in getting callbacks about pricing.
So, on Wednesday at 11:00 at night my mom yawned and had a severe debilitating pain in her left jaw/left neck area. We know that is a symptom of heart attack in women so we rushed to the ER.
The ER got her a room. So far she has had a CT scan, an echocardiogram with a bubble study, but still has not had the carotid artety ultrasound.
The cardiologist said she has a blockage in her heart (calcium), her LDL cholesterol is 164, and her heart rate has been consistently high (100-114). Her heart rate has been like that all her life, though. She also has high blood pressure.
Since she has been admitted to the hospital, though, she has received a beta-blocker for her heart rate and blood pressure, lipitor for her cholestrol, and a blood thinner. Her blood pressure is now steadily about 120/77 and heart rate 71 bpm. She also was on birth control pills for hot flashes, but quit them after her TIA after learning about blood clotting risks.
So our cardiologist has TERRIBLE bedside manor with my mother. He was recommended to her by my grandparents, who he is apparently very doting and nasty nice with, but he has been horrible to my mother.
She has been in the hospital for four days and hasn't visited her once. He acts insulted when she asks basic questions anyone would ask about the procedure and her condition. In fact, he told her "you sound uncomfortable so maybe you should get a second opinion" just because she asked where her blockage was. We still don't know what are of the heart her blockage is in. He also laughed in her face when she asked how often he places stents and said "I've only done it twice." He clarified his sarcasm, but his attitude has not been nice at all and he keeps scaring us by repeating the risk of death from the procedure, etc.
The cardiologist also said he was not sure that her blockage is in a place where the stent will be able to be reached in there and she may end up needing open heart surgery by a different physician.
I wonder what is thie cardiologist's deal? What's with the attitude? We have been nothing but kind and respectful. Perhaps he is kind to my grandparents because they have insurance and we don't? He seems very concerned with pricing.
**Anyway this is the URGENT ISSUE:**
He wants to give my mom a heart catherization surgery Monday and likely place a stent in there. But, I wonder if this is necessary? She hasn't even had her carotid ultrasound yet. He hasn't even visited her in person yet.
If it weren't for COVID I would send my mom to get a second opinion immediately before getting this surgery. But I am afraid they won't take her at another hospital because of COVID, and she is currently in a room at her current hospital.
Please I don't want my mom to have this risky and invasive surgery if unnecessary.
Her cardiologist repeatedly says "carotid is not my specialty because it deals with the brain."
Please help your advice could be saving my mother's life.