Patient case study

A real life example – A 57 year old patient, previously healthy, patient has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One week after a successful surgical procedure where the pancreas and a part of the small intestine were removed, the patient is discharged home in good condition. Three days later, on a Saturday morning, the patient does not feel well. The patient's spouse is concerned, but does not yet want to bother the GP or the hospital. Later that day the patient becomes lethargic and a little while later they are unresponsive. The ambulance is called and the patient is immediately taken to the hospital. During an emergency operation the surgeons find major bleeding in the abdomen, possibly from a loosened vascular suture. The patient dies that night from the effects of prolonged and severe blood loss. 

Could this have been prevented? An alternative scenario – A 57 year old patient, previously healthy, has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One week after a successful surgical procedure where the pancreas and a part of the small intestine were removed, the patient is discharged home in good condition. Prior to discharge, the nurse explains to the patient that they will remotely monitor key vital signs daily with a wireless sensor patch placed on their chest. The patient is in daily contact with the hospital; and is also able to make contact at any time with any problems. Two days later, on a Friday night, the nurse receives a notification that the patient's vital signs show a sudden increase in heart rate in the previous two hours while the patients’ activity level is almost zero. The nurse calls the patient's spouse, who says the patient is sweaty, pale and looks very ill. An ambulance is sent immediately. After emergency surgery during which a bleeding blood vessel is secured, the patient makes a full recovery.