The last word I ever heard my mother say was “anticoagulants.” Back in February my father called me from Florida, explaining that my mom was in the hospital because doctors had discovered blood clots in her neck. In an attempt to clear the clots, they were going to give her “coagulants,” my father said. In the background I could hear my mother, a retired English teacher, correct him by saying, “No, they’re giving me anti-coagulants.”
Sharing as we do an appreciation for black humor, all three of us laughed. Less than 12 hours later, my mother was dead.
Best we can tell—or that the doctors can tell us—one of the blood clots broke free and traveled to her heart, causing a pulmonary embolism that killed her. We’d been told the procedure to clear these clots would be more or less routine. Certainly we hadn’t prepared ourselves for the possibility that my mother was going to die that day. But that’s just it: There’s no such thing as a routine procedure when doctors and hospitals and surgery are involved.
I was reminded of this when I read the news that actress Mia Amber Davis, the attractive, plus-size girl who seduced DJ Qualls’ character in the movie Road Trip, died Tuesday following complications following routine knee surgery. Yeah, knee surgery.
Here’s the report from TMZ:
TMZ spoke with Mia’s husband–-Michael Yard—who told us the actress went under the knife Monday to correct an ongoing issue with her knee stemming from an old college basketball injury.
Yard—who was in New York at the time—tells us he spoke with Mia Tuesday morning and she sounded normal and in good spirits.
However, hours later—Mike says he got a phone call from Mia’s cousin informing him that she was taking Mia to the hospital because Mia had been suffering from a bout of dizziness.
Soon after, Mike says the unthinkable happened—he got another phone call informing him his wife had passed away.
Mike says he immediately hopped on a plane to L.A.— and he wants answers … telling TMZ, “I want to know what happened to my wife.”
I know plenty of people who are deathly afraid of doctors and hospitals, thanks in part to hearing about—or even experiencing first hand—instances of routine procedures going awry. Which isn’t to say that the majority of doctors and nurses don’t do wonderful work, because they do. But if people ever tell me that they refuse to see a doctor, or they refuse to have a seemingly minor operation, I don’t make a knee-jerk assessment and consider them ignorant. For all I know they’ve had some bad experiences with “routine” procedures. God knows I have.