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Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So just for your reference, when I make those quick tips, I really read out emails or frustrations we get from readers. Sometimes, I share case studies where I talk to clients directly. So, it’s really a mixture, but everything is real world questions from readers or clients. This is what people want to know about intensive care. You get it here at this channel.
So, today’s question comes from a reader who says, “My mom was in hospital for a pneumonia and had chest tubes. She was sent home the same day the chest tubes were removed, and now, seven hours after going home, she’s back in ICU with fluid still in her lungs. What happened?” That’s a great question.
Look, from experience when someone has chest tubes, for example, for pleural effusions or for a pneumothorax, or for hemothorax, when you take out the chest tubes, number one, you need to make sure there’s no more fluid coming out.
Number two, they should have done a chest x-ray before taking out the tube, making sure there’s no more fluid there, or no more pneumothorax. You haven’t shared why she had the chest tubes. Let’s assume she had either pneumothorax, which is a hole in her lung, or she had a pleural effusion or pleural effusions to drain fluids out of the lungs.
Next, before you remove the chest tubes, maybe they should have done ultrasound as well, making sure that, again, there is no fluid in the lungs left or that the pneumothorax is gone. One way or another, some diagnostics should have taken place before the tubes were taken out.
But even next, after the tubes were taken out, about four hours later there should be a chest X ray done as well as part of the checkup because if you are taking out a chest drain, you could cause some damage. Again, you could potentially cause another pneumothorax, making sure there is no damage.
It doesn’t sound to me like either has been taking place there, and you should probably ask those questions. Have they done a chest x-ray after the pneumonia? It also sounds very unreasonable to me that someone is sent home from ICU directly after chest tube removals after pneumonia.
I’m not surprised that in this day and age, ICUs are bed blocked. They’re short-staffed. I’m not surprised that people are being sent home the same day. That’s really dangerous and clearly in your mom’s case, it backfired. Now she’s back in ICU. Maybe she needs to be intubated, I don’t know. You haven’t shared any of that, but just as a quick tip today, if you take that away, that when chest tubes are removed, there needs to be a follow up chest x-ray done four hours after chest drain removal, and only then after the chest x-ray has been removed and cleared, then maybe going home. But again, it sounds to me like your mom has been discharged home prematurely anyway.
So, that’s my quick tip for today.
If you have a loved one in intensive care, go to intensivecarehotline.com. Call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website or simply send us an email to [email protected].
Also, have a look at our membership site for families in intensive care at intensivecaresupport.org. There, you have access to me and my team, 24 hours a day, in a membership area and via email, and we answer all questions intensive care related there.
If you need a medical record review while your loved one is in intensive care or after intensive care, you should contact us as well. We can help you with reviewing medical records in ICU or after ICU.
Now, like the video, share the video with your friends and families, and subscribe to my YouTube channel for regular updates for families in intensive care, click the notification bell, and comment below any questions or comments you have or what you want to see next.
Thanks for watching.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.