Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Neverending Story...with a happy ending?

There's light at the end of the tunnel, my friends, and I no longer think that means I might die.

Well, eventually I will....but I no longer think it might be something that comes soon due to medical malpractice and negligence.

I'm definitely not fully recovered, but I feel that I'm on my way. I'm sore, still very tired and wear out easily but I no longer feel very, very sick. I can tell a lot of my soreness is from the procedure itself, and I'm sure my uterus was very inflamed when they did the D & C, but I no longer feel like I'm in mortal danger.

That sounds so odd, but the fact is, I really believe the doctors I'm dealing with were truly in danger of letting me die before things were resolved. A lot of the symptoms I was exhibiting were signs of becoming septic and I was still pushed aside because I wasn't bleeding profusely and experiencing high temps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Then when the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea hit I was told that it could be a stomach bug or perhaps even a drug fever.

Now, I looked up drug fevers after the fact and they're pretty rare. They are also a reaction to antibiotics that I would have most likely had LONG before now if I was going to. In other words, the ER doctor was completely full of it.

Along the way I've been amazed that the number of times doctors have failed me along this path. Toward the end of this I honestly started to worry that mine would be the story that started with "she kept saying something was wrong" and ended with "this could have been prevented."

In my reading I've discovered that mistakes were made from the very beginning.

  • Due to some of the circumstances of the little's birth (I'm almost ready to talk about it) written protocols suggest prophylactic antibiotics.
  • The nurses who managed my aftercare failed to do the uterine massage that was done after my daughter's birth.
  • When I started running a temp before I left the hospital and feeling crappy, it was attributed to the cold I had - with thoughts it had turned into a sinus infection.
  • Instructions to take my temp postpartum were buried in a book the hospital gave me, with the instructions "read this when you get a chance, no hurry."
  • When I felt very sick again, my regular doctor's office gave me a prescription for a different antibiotic, for a potential sinus infection.
  • The first doctor at the OB's office who saw me 12 days pp when I was running high fevers and in severe pain gave me an antibiotic that's NEVER advised to be used for postpartum infections and failed to give me a med to make me pass what was suspected to be a clot and tissue in an area of my uterus to which there was no blood flow.
  • The next time I saw my doctor he knew the antibiotic I was given was not strong enough to fight the type of infection I had, commented on that, and gave me a medication to make me pass the clot as I was still in pain.
  • A follow up ultrasound showed what was believed to be the clot was gone, but they did not recheck the area of my uterus where they had seen no blood flow prior. This would be the ultrasound (done 2/18) that all subsequent doctors would point to as "proof" that nothing was in my uterus.
  • Each time I came off a dose of antibiotics, I would start to feel sicker again, having temporarily felt better for a bit but never out of pain and CONSISTENTLY running a low grade fever. When I am examined, despite crying in pain from speculum exams I'm told that I don't seem "that sore" when my abdomen is pressed. I occasionally pass tissue.
  • Mid-march I see another doctor in my OB's practice, she confirms with speculum exam evidence of infection and recommends another two weeks of antibiotics. This will be my fifth round. "If that doesn't work, then maybe a d & c will be needed"but then says it's doubtful it would be - the infamous ultrasound was clear, you know. I pass tissue again when I get home from the exam.
  • I call my regular dr and my RE to run the scenario by them. Both suggest I push hard for a D & C.
  • The next week I see my doctor, I tell him this isn't working and he suggests taking a look, asks me if I've been stressed and I tell him THIS IS MY STRESS. He again points to the ultrasound and I remind him it was done over a month prior and I passed tissue after the last exam. He schedules a d & c for that friday.
  • Wednesday was the day I posted about fever, nausea, vomiting and the ER trip. The on call dr from my OB clinic instructs the ER doctor to give me a bag of IV fluids, a shot of morphine and send me home. She never even laid eyes on me. Speculum exam done by the ER dr was excruciating and I was told "sorry that was uncomfortable." The dr suggests that either I had a stomach bug or perhaps it was a drug fever. I spend the night in sweats, chills, and feverous delusions. (By the way, when I called the OB's office before going to the ER they said I should do that and they would most likely admit me. The failed to notify the ER or on call dr I was coming). When we were still at the ER and the on call doctor hadn't come, my husband called the clinic only to be told "She is aware of the situation and must be doing something more important."
  • The next day I bring my sister up to watch the kids, with the intention of parking myself in the doctor's office if I have to, to call news stations if I have to, whatever it takes to get SOMEONE to treat me.
  • I call my OB clinic one more time and his nurse listens to what's going on and pages him. He asks her to schedule my surgery for that night.
  • That night I had my D &*C. Despite weeks of being told that despite my symptoms there couldn't possibly be anything left in my uterus, my surgeon's words to my husband were that there was something on the back wall of my uterus and he believed he got it all.
  • Pathology for the tissue removed showed very inflamed endometrial tissue, consistent with infection.

I told you so. Assholes.

I'm waiting for copies of my records and some input from a few people, but I think ultimately we're going to contact a lawyer. The time frame I listed actually is missing a few things, and when it's all written out it is simply appalling how many times this was brushed aside because I was not presenting in a fashion they expected. The fact is, you do not have to be bleeding to have something in your uterus that doesn't belong there.

At the very least, we're filing a complaint with the state medical board and shopping for a new OBGYN clinic.

1 comment:

Claire said...

Wow, when you list it all out like that (and I know there was even stuff missing!), it's appalling. I'm still so grateful that finally you were taken seriously, or at least seriously enough that they got that CRAP out of your uterus once and for all. I'm shocked, utterly shocked, at how poorly you were treated, at how many times you were brushed aside and how close you came to something truly awful happening because these doctors were too stupid to see how sick you were.

I know you've generally liked your OB, and thankfully he eventually came through for you (more or less), but I'm glad you'll be looking for a new clinic. And I think that some sort of complain, whether formal or not, is absolutely necessary. This kind of thing should NOT be brushed aside and these people need to know how badly they dropped the ball.

Assholes is right.