Woman whose lung collapsed on a night out claims ‘careless’ doctor sent her home after failing to spot warning signs on X-ray
- Medics were later shocked she hadn’t been treated with her lung shrinking 80%
- READ MORE: Fully intact fly is found buzzing around inside a man’s INTESTINES
A woman whose lung collapsed claims a ‘careless’ medic sent her home because he ‘just wanted me out the door’ of a busy treatment centre in London.
Olivia Smith was glammed-up and enjoying a night on the town enjoying cocktails with friends when she suddenly felt a distinctive pain in her chest.
The 22-year-old, having suffered two previous lung collapses, including one where the organ shrank ‘to the size of testicle’, was confident she was experiencing a third.
But a medic at a London urgent treatment centre dismissed the social media marketer’s symptoms as she ‘looked fine’ — failing to spot clear signs her lung had collapsed on X-rays, Ms Smith claimed.
Giving in, she returned home only to be forced to return as her symptoms worsened.
Medics who saw Ms Smith the second time discovered her lung had shrunk by 80 per cent and were shocked she had been sent initially sent home.
Olivia Smith was glammed-up and enjoying a night on the town enjoying pornstar martinis with friends when she suddenly felt a distinctive pain in her chest
Despite being confident she had suffered a collapsed lung, having experienced two other similar collapses, she was initially sent home by a medic only receiving the treatment she needed the next day. Here she pictured with a chest drain to help re-inflate her lung
Ms Smith, examining her initial x-ray after being sent home, said she couldn’t understand how the doctor couldn’t have spotted something was wrong with her lung. The image shows her collapsed right lung circled in yellow in comparison to the functioning left one (on the right of the image)
Ms Smith’s ordeal started on October 21 while she was out in Shoreditch celebrating her friend’s birthday.
But shortly after ordering cocktails she felt a ‘distinctive pain’ that she was confident was caused by her lung collapsing, a condition technically called pneumothorax.
‘I ordered myself a pornstar martini and as soon as I ordered it I just felt the pain, it came on really suddenly,’ she said.
‘I texted my boyfriend who was at the other end of the table saying I was 70 per cent sure my lung had collapsed but not to tell anyone.
‘We were with 20 people, and I didn’t want all of my friends panicking or thinking I was overexaggerating.’
What are the symptoms of a lung collapse?
A lung collapses, medically called a pneumothorax has variety of symptoms.
The common symptoms area sudden shortness of breath and chest pain.
This pain may be sharp and become worse with coughing and breathing.
Patients can also experience a dry cough.
In some cases, where air has leaked into the muscles and skin in the chest wall, patients may notice a swelling and ‘bubble wrap’ sensation as they press on their chest.
If the leak of air from the lung is very large people can also feel faint or lightheaded.
Making a swift exit, she attended the urgent treatment centre Queen’s Hospital in Romford, East London, run by the Partnership of East London Co-operatives (PELC).
While not part of the NHS, PELC is contracted to run some urgent treatment centres on behalf of the health service.
After being sent for an X-ray, Ms Smith said she waited three hours at the ‘overcrowded’ centre only to have her concerns dismissed by a doctor.
An unnamed medic told her there was no sign of a lung collapse on the scan results and advised her to go home and only return if the pain got worse.
Ms Smith recalled: ‘I felt frustrated, I knew that he didn’t know what he was talking about.
‘There was no point in trying to win the battle, and I couldn’t even talk properly. It was 1am, people were waiting behind me, and I looked okay to him.
‘I had make-up on and I was standing up alright and putting on a bit of a front. I think he just wanted to dismiss me.’
She added that his priority seemed to be to get rid of her.
Ms Smith added: ‘This person just wanted me out the door. I was exhausted. I asked him what it was and he couldn’t answer me, I just felt defeated.’
Before leaving the hospital, she took a picture of the X-ray.
Looking at home it when she got home, she was shocked that the medic had apparently missed such clear signs that something was wrong with her lung.
‘It’s obvious to every doctor. It’s obviously deflated, he was being careless. He just didn’t believe me,’ she said.
‘I was crying. I had to leave all my friends out having fun to try to get my lung resolved, and someone tried to tell me it had not collapsed when I knew it had.
‘He didn’t look at the X-ray properly and I don’t even think he knew what he was looking for. If he knew, he would’ve seen it.’
As the pain worsened, Ms Smith returned to Queen’s Hospital urgent treatment centre the next day.
The 22-year-old was out enjoying cocktails with friends and her boyfriend Callum Murphy, 28, when she felt a distinctive pain in her right chest
She said a repeat X-ray showed the lung collapse had gotten worse, shrinking to just 20 per cent of its original size.
Medics were ‘shocked’ she hadn’t already been treated in A&E, Ms Smith said.
She was then whisked away to the NHS St Bartholomew’s Hospital in central London, where she had to be treated for 10 days before the lung had recovered enough for surgery.
‘I’m grateful for the NHS but why did I have to deal with a doctor who doesn’t know what he’s talking about?’ she said.
‘I don’t know this, but I reckon I would’ve had my surgery sooner as there might have been a space. But I will never know.
‘This is the only doctor or nurse that I’ve had to deal with that hasn’t believed me.’
Ms Smith said it was a huge shock to have her lung collapse again, after having surgery to fix the issue nine months prior.
Medics have yet to determine the cause of the social media marketers repeated lung collapses but she said tests are underway to see if it could be linked to her endometriosis
‘My right lung collapsed for the first time the day after my 21st birthday,’ she said.
‘The next day I had this heart pain while I was opening my presents, it felt like I was having a heart attack.’
Ms Smith’s second collapse was worse, with the lung shrinking to a twentieth of its capacity.
‘My lung collapsed again the day before New Year’s Eve. I was at my boyfriend’s and I was talking to my mother-in-law and I just got out of breath all of a sudden,’ she said.
‘I went to A&E the next day and my lung had collapsed to five per cent capacity so it was smaller than a man’s testicle, it was tiny.’
About one in three people who suffer a pneumothorax go on to suffer another lung collapse within a year, according to the NHS.
Pneumothorax can be caused by various respiratory conditions, congenital defects in the organ that are only cause issues later in life, or traumatic injury.
However, in many occasions it is spontaneous with no apparent cause.
READ MORE: Mystery as fully intact fly is found buzzing around inside a Missouri man’s INTESTINES during a routine colonoscopy
The above image, which the patient gave permission to share, shows the fly as it was found inside his intestines. It did not move when it was prodded
It occurs when air leaks from the organ and becomes trapped between the chest and the lung, preventing it from inflating fully.
Medics have so far failed to determine the cause of Ms Smith’s condition but she said she is undergoing tests to see if it is linked to her endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, similar to that found in the womb, grows in places where it shouldn’t.
This most commonly happens in the other parts of the reproductive system, like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, where it can cause immense pain.
But cases where it occurs other parts of the body, such as the lungs or diaphragm, can cause breathing difficulties and lung collapse.
This type of endometriosis, called thoracic endometriosis, is very rare and women often struggle for years, sometime decades, to get diagnosis.
Ms Smith said she initially went to the urgent treatment centre as that she had done in the past for previous lung collapses before being referred to A&E.
She has since filed a complaint about her ordeal.
A PELC spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry to hear this patient was unhappy with the service she received at our urgent treatment centre and we apologise for any anxiety or distress she may have experienced.
‘We are unable to discuss individual cases but we always strive to provide the highest quality care and all complaints received are thoroughly investigated so any issues raised can be addressed and any lessons learned can be fully implemented to help drive improvements.’
The spokesperson added PELC’s urgent treatment centre at Queen’s Hospital ‘can get extremely busy at times, with high demand during peak periods.’
But they added: ‘All patients are medically assessed as soon as possible following arrival so they can be prioritised in line with clinical needs to ensure that those who need care most urgently can be seen first.’
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