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When a Cardiologist (Heart Doctor) Should Be Seen

Posted May 10 2012 10:21pm

I was talking with a woman in her mid-seventies the other day and was amazed at what she told me. After a day of considerable hard  exercise, the woman suddenly had chest pain radiating down her right arm. This is a classical sign of a heart attack. She was a widow who was alone in her house, so she wisely called 911.  An ambulance  came and took her to the nearest hospital where tests were run. The woman was told there was a "blip" on her EKG or electrocardiogram. She spent the night in the hospital and the next day saw her famuly doctor. The doctor apparently wasn't impressed with the findings and said to come back in a month. I was appallled.

Didn't the doctor realize that her patient should be immediately referred to a cardiologist? What kind of medicine was she practicing? A cardiologist has several more  years of training than the usual family doctor and certainly should be the one to say everything was all right. The next episode of chest pain could be fatal! I am hoping that the woman really listened to my advice and would do what she promised, which was to get a referral to a cardiologist. I didn't understand why she would have any hesitation. It wasn't a matter of money becasue she had excellent insurance and plenty of money. I just hope she listened to my advice.

I have never understood why many doctors try to be all things to all patients and are loath to make referrals. When I heard a murmur in a child or teenager that I didn't like, the patient was immediately  referred to a cardiologist. Several times I was told that I probably saved the patient's life.


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