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Having swollen ankle and pain in shoulder. When laughed feeling hurt and loss of breath. Should go to ER?

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Practicing since : 2002
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My 80 year old Mother fell while visiting London last week. It was near the end of her stay so she carried on with her trip. She visited Boots the chemist and got some topical pain cream. Came home with a swollen ankle and pain in her shoulder. The clinic here in Albuquerque put her in a sling for the shoulder and told her to take it off a few times a day so shoulder does not freeze up. I believe the visit to the clinic was on Wednesday. Friday she found it difficult to catch her breath when she laughed at something. And she clutched at her breast area saying it hurt. (The same side as her shoulder injury). Today we all got together for a barbecue and she laughed at something and could not get another breath. Her voice turned into a whisper and she struggled to breath. This was about 2 hours ago. I just called Dad and he said she is in bed resting. I think she needs to go in to the ER but need to know what a Doctor thinks. Thanks for your time.
Posted Sat, 22 Jun 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 13 minutes later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

I agree with the inclination that you have to take her to the emergency room. The symptoms that she is having are significant and worrisome for a possible underlying problem in the lung or possibly related to her heart. A visit to the emergency room will allow a doctor to do a comprehensive evaluation and perform diagnostic testing to rule out any significant and life-threatening problems which might be going on. I would not wait very long to take her in.

Thank You again for sending your question. Please let me know if you have any additional specific concerns.


Dr. Galamaga
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