Sucker Punch

According to Wikipedia: “because sucker punches come unexpectedly, people at risk of such blows must be alert to the proximity of potential opponents.”

Ah, that was my mistake, then.

That dull thumping sound, followed by an “Oof!” you heard yesterday morning? That was me. I was unprepared, I didn’t expect it. I didn’t know it was coming. Not that morning, at least. I was relatively happy, even whilst having yet another pathetic period, knowing that somebody would be looking up there and trying to treat it soon. At least there would be progress. Our house is on the market, we’ve found where we want to move to (despite the fact that it isn’t built yet) and my course is going well. As I said in my last post, I was starting to feel like myself again.

Then they (the universe/the baddies/whoever) tried to take it away again. And I swear blind I will NOT let them. Sucker punched I may be, but my God they picked the wrong person. Try to knock me down? Not this time, matey.

The Australians replied to my second complaint letter. I was pleased with the letter that I sent. I quoted much research, and even their own consent policy, to demonstrate how their care was lacking. I thought, perhaps naively, that I had left them little room to manoevre. Unfortunately I had counted without their lies.

Apparently the non-discussion of Asherman’s Syndrome is “fine”. Apparently, according to an “Asherman’s expert” they found (who I’ve never heard of so he can’t be that good) women don’t need to know that their fertility is at risk. Apparently Asherman’s Syndrome is “easily treated” and “not serious”. Apparently, all the published data is wrong, because this “expert” treats less than 15 cases a year, and that must be the correct figure, despite the fact that his “figures” are unpublished, unproven, and nothing more than hearsay. I beg to differ, you twit. Just ask all those women spending thousands of pounds or dollars to try to get back some remnant of hope. Just ask those women who can no longer carry a child, or who have to go through several painful and emotionally traumatic surgeries just to be told that there is no hope of future pregnancy. But you haven’t asked them, have you.

Apparently, it isn’t the fault of the surgeon after all. Apparently, trainees usually master this operation in their first year so there is no need to supervise them. To this I ask: How the hell do you know this, if you a) can’t see what they’re doing if they perform the operation blind, and b) can’t be bothered to supervise them anyway? Apparently, according to this man, it’s not because they remove too much endometrium after all. Despite the fact that actual, world-renowned experts have stated this. Oh no, apparently it’s my fault. For miscarrying in the first place.

I know why they asked this “expert” to comment. It’s that old chestnut in the medical profession: if you can find someone who agrees with you then you can’t be negligent. I know full well if they had asked the very nice man I emailed, he would have been of a different opinion. He widely publishes on the subject, on exactly how common it is. He is the man that women go to see, from all over Australia and the South Pacific, even Asia. He definitely treats many more cases. But they asked the man they did because he would disagree with me. Charming.

They also lied. A lot. Apparently the registrar who did perform the operation did consent me in the anaesthetic room. No, she didn’t. Apparently they did discuss Asherman’s Syndrome with me. No, they didn’t. It is their word against mine, so obviously I must be the one at fault.

So, apparently you do have the right to complain about your medical care, but they will not listen. They will lie, falsify medical records, and ignore the published evidence in order to get you to go away, and to try to prove themselves not at fault. They will never apologise. And that is what makes me absolutely disgusted with them. I know they didn’t mean to give me Asherman’s Syndrome. If they had apologised, sincerely, then OK. But now that they have done this, it will never be OK.

So here lies the question: what to do now? I have the right to appeal, but I threw everything I had at my last complaint letter. They ignored the bits they couldn’t explain, lied and found an “expert” with a viewpoint that matched their behaviour. I don’t think it’s appropriate to appeal, as they will simply do the same again. What’s the point?

We could try to sue them, but they’ll just trot out the same “expert” and the same lies. Negligence is notoriously difficult to prove, which, to be frank (now that I’m on the receiving side) disgusts me. It is all about protecting the doctors. Nobody wants to listen to or protect the patients. Plus there is the fact that we are here (we are NOT going there again!) and logistically would be a nightmare. It would be too emotionally exhausting, and I don’t want to give anymore of myself away to this. Although I do love himself for suggesting it, and saying he’d look into medical malpractice lawyers if I wanted to go down that route, and just being so generally supportive.

I could just let this go. I may do this, and focus on getting my life back (and hopefully a functioning uterus). but I have such a sour taste in my mouth. it feels a bit like doing what they want me to do, like rolling over and dying. I don’t want to do that. I really don’t want to do what they want me to do.

So there is one last option, perhaps. I have had an idea. I thought about writing a letter, to the hospital and to the complaints commission, telling them exactly how disgusted I am with their standard of care, their lies, and their general lack of respect for the patient. For the fact that you can complain, but they will weasel their way out of it with lies and inappropriate statistics.  I could copy it to the NSW government. We also think we might, while we’re at it, send a copy to the media. After all, what have we got to lose? And then move on with our lives.

Whatever we do, I’m not doing it yet. I’m going to sleep on it for at least a week. Revenge is a dish best served cold, after all. Any letter I wrote now would be full of vitriol, and it needs to be measured, calm even.

So, you may sucker punch me, but I will not be knocked down. I deserve more than that. I have too much self-respect for that.

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5 responses to “Sucker Punch

  1. Bastards. It sounds as though they are not going to budge and inch on this one.

    You’ve got to decide what is going to be best for you. If getting further resolution and taking this to the complaints comission is going to help you or if it is going to be just as fruitless and cuase more stress and pain. I don’t know the answer, but as you say the heat of the moment isn’t the right time to make that decision.

    Good luck.

  2. But… a proper appeals process should go to a neutral, disinterested party? An Ombudsman, or some such? Surely they don’t just get to have another go at being slimy, and decide their own words are the right ones?! How absurd!

    Difficult to know what to do. I have been on the receiving end of a medical error (IUI sperm replaced into wrong uterus – ie, the one without a lead follicle attached) that mysteriously never made it into the official figures for that clinic. (My clinic is not the Ladies Unit by you, but rather more to the East, with C and O and V in the name! I would have loved a cuppa had it been otherwise!) My money was immediately refunded, and responsibility was taken by the clinician, but I remember how it felt; particularly in the 48 hours it took for him to ring me to apologise. And I had only wasted one cycle: a couple of months of my life and some discomfort. I HUGELY begrudged the mere 2 months wasted time, so I have a vague inkling of what you must feel, with your far deeper repercussions, and I’m so very sorry.

    The road of Least Stress is a good choice. It would also be good to know that you have made your point, and ensured that they become aware of the risk they are running with other women’s health… but not essential. Sympathetic noises from here: whichever.

  3. I am so angry and sad on your behalf I think my head just exploded. The lying, oily, vile little TWATWEASELS.

    Definitely send your letter, and copies of the previous letters to the complaints commission or local version thereof. I’d send it to the health minister in government as well.

    I wonder about the media, I mean, it’d be SO satisfying to see them shouted at by the press, but still, it’d be stressful for you both, and if the media want more info, or if they (and they often do) get the story muddled, and then trying to correct their muddle, and then the TWATWEASELS giving their version and try and smear you back, well, it could be insanely stressful. Not that the TWATWEASELS don’t thoroughly deserve to be tarred and feathered and chased through the streets by jeering crowds, the pathetic little excuses for human beings and doctors that they are.

    As for the fact they even began to think about hinting it might possibly be even considered that maybe the miscarriage was the problem rather than the botched D&C? Well. I hope the persons who thought that was a clever suggestion to make in that letter wake up every night at 4am for the next year in a cold sweat of remorse and self-loathing. And resign. And go rebuild hospitals in Haiti or something useful like that.

    My dear, no wonder you are completely winded. I’M completely winded on your behalf. I’m almost in tears of rage that they are treating you so shabbily. I shall now go and growl and roar and kick furniture.

  4. Definitely letter. Strongly worded non-emotional one, so they can’t tut and mention hormones.

    I also lean to media. We have found immeasurable success when dealing with assholery to mention that not only will you go on many forums and contribute, but that you won’t hesitate to share your story to both journalism and blogdom alike. They could smear you back but that’ll take time and effort, most of which they can’t be bothered with.

    When I get pissed off with individuals I like to sign them up to receive adult bedwetting email advice. Juvenile, yes, but benign and plenty fun. I suspect that is not helpful in this instance.

  5. Oh, that’s funny! That’s Bloody Marvellous! I shall obtain the email addresses of everyone who has ever pissed me off, and I shall sign them up to more humiliating spam than they could ever dream of.

    I’m…. nice. Really!

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