Name: caroline Fleming
Age at time of Dissection: 69
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 5 February 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

My dad was a fit, healthy and handsome man all his life – 69 years young, he was a picture of health and could have passed for 50.
Dad was a great father and fantastic grandfather. Full of positive energy and fun.

On the late afternoon of 5th February 2015 he complained of pains in his chest, lower back and abdomen. The pain was so strong that he was taken by ambulance to the A & E department of Tallagh Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
An ECG was carried out – this rule out the possibility of a heart attack. The focus after this was predominantly on my dads abdominal pain.

Morphine and anti acid medication was administered. The diagnosis was a bad case of indigestion – At approx. 2:00 am 6th February the medical staff offered my dad some tea and toast and then discharged from hospital – an odd time to be discharged, 2:00 am, but nevertheless – they were clearly happy to let him go. Within a half hour of leaving the hospital my dads pain worsened and he returned via taxi to the A & E at Tallaght Dublin – he was given more pain relief and a chest X – ray on 6th February at around 5:30 am – The X – Ray showed a widening of the aorta and it was this that lead the staff to the definitive diagnosis – Aortic Dissection Type B – My dad then waited for a CT Scan carried out at around 8:30 am.

It was decided that surgery was necessary BUT dad need to be transferred to the St James Hospital Dublin where they had the facilities to deal with such emergency surgery – Dad passed away during surgery – I feel saddened by the misdiagnosis – Medical staff seem to be ill informed about this condition and think it is a rare condition – I believe the condition is NOT so rare but rather medical staff and general public are not made sufficiently aware of the condition. For all those who have died of a massive heart attack – we have no idea how many were actually aortic dissection unless postmortem exams are carried out. Aortic dissection is often wrongly diagnosed – I am told because it presents itself in many different ways – Terrible pain to the Chest ,Back and Abdomen are classic presentation – A CT scan was not offered to my dad – Apparently the hospital can’t offer a scan to everyone who complains of a pain. His pain was extreme enough to be administered morphine.

Dad is dead now – but i can’t help thinking that if people were more educated and informed he may have been given chance – The misdiagnosis of this condition must stop. It is one of the most serious medical emergencies a person can have – So please STOP misdiagnosing this killer – as for rare…rare relative to what ?? More people die each year of Aortic dissection than we really know – and what we really know is that more people die of aortic dissection than of aids. We need perspective on this killer and all A & E staff the world over should be aware –
My dad TIM FLEMING was loved by many and he will be sadly missed – what a beautiful human being , who loved life and had so much more to give.