What is the scariest example of medical negligence you’ve seen?
I was 6 months pregnant with a very healthy pregnancy. I went to get out of the car which was not difficult at 6 months along. I swung my legs out and my feet touched the ground then all of a sudden I was hysterically crying, snot pouring out of my nose, screaming in pain. Pain level 9. My husband got me to the ER where I kept yelling at everyone that it hurt above my uterus and it wasn’t pregnancy related. Up to the maternity ward they take me despite my insistence that it wasn’t pregnancy related. I laid flat on my back and pain eased up to tolerable. Pain level 5. Red flag! A six-month pregnant woman won’t want to lie flat on her back. The baby checked out fine just as I knew he would. This same scenario happened eight times over the next month and a half and no one would listen that it was not pregnancy related.
Finally on that eighth time I was admitted because now I’m seen as a pain meds seeker and they wanted to do an early delivery because I’m now an unfit mother. Keep in mind that I have declined pain meds every single time they were offered. I wouldn’t be able to describe my symptoms if they covered them up with pain meds. A new sonographer comes in to my hospital room to do a long ultrasound to make sure the baby is making breathing motions so they could deliver early via c-section. This is my third kid and I’ve only delivered vaginally. Before she came in I could hear the nurses telling her how I was just after pain meds and they were going to have a social worker take the baby as soon as it was born. So at this point I’m horrified. My mom, husband and 13-year-old daughter had just stepped out to get something to eat so I was alone when I overheard the evil nurses.
The sonographer gets set up with her machine and looks at me in the most loving and caring way and asks about my pain. I tell her everything because I’m distraught, angry and confused. I need to let it all out. I tell her no one has even examined the area in pain and it’s been over a month. She asked if she can try to see something with the ultrasound. “YES, PLEASE!!!” She puts the wand above my uterus, squints at the screen and says, “What is that?” Then she says, “Bear down,” so I did and she completely freaked out, ran out to the nurses’ station and proceeded to yell very loudly at all the nurses about negligence and how could they do this to another human being. It turned out that an internal incision from having my gall bladder removed had ripped open and my intestines were bulging.
I finally got to see a general surgeon and get some answers. He left my room door open so I could hear him chew out the nursing staff and my midwife. It was glorious! I delivered at 40 weeks with a very very easy labor and delivery. The baby was perfectly healthy. The surgeon repaired the hernia and life is good again.
When my daughter was 5, she broke her arm.
We knew immediately that it was broken. She was jumping on the trampoline, bounced too high, and landed on her right arm as she came back down. I heard the “Crack! Crack!” of both her radius and ulna snapping, and her arm near her elbow swelled up immediately.
My daughter has always been stoic. Even as a baby, she rarely cried, and she did not cry then. I told her we had to take her to get her arm “fixed” and drove her to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which is considered to be one of the top hospitals in the US.
We explained to the receptionist what had happened, and she directed us to take a seat and wait.
After two hours, my daughter was examined by a physician. He barely glanced at her arm, which by then had a huge, red, swollen area, and said, “It’s not broken.” Wondering if perhaps he had x-ray vision, I explained about the loud cracking noise I’d heard and pointed out the swelling. He shrugged and said, “Well, broken arms are very painful, and she’s not even crying. But I’ll order an x-ray if you want.”
We waited another hour for the x-ray to be done. Then we waited another hour for the doctor to come and tell us what the x-ray showed.
He finally waltzed in, waved the x-ray in my direction, said, “Your daughter is fine,” and then started to leave.
“Wait,” I said. “That x-ray is of her wrist. Her wrist wasn’t injured. It’s her arm! Near her elbow!”
He grudgingly ordered another x-ray—but not before poking and prodding my daughter’s arm.
“Does it hurt?” he asked her.
“Some,” she replied. I could see sweat on her upper lip, and her face looked greenish.
“Could you please stop touching it until we know whether it’s broken?” I asked.
He didn’t even reply as he left the room.
Another two hours, and she finally got her second x-ray—this time of the correct area. And, you guessed it: both her radius and ulna were broken.
The doctor did not apologize. All he said was: “I’ve never seen a 5-year-old with a broken bone who didn’t cry.”
At that point, my daughter burst into tears—and then said something that explained why she’d been forcing herself to be so brave.
“My arm’s broken? So you’re going to cut it off?”
Apparently, her 5-year-old reasoning led her to believe that if she fooled us all into thinking her arm was fine, she’d be able to keep it.
Well, she nearly fooled the doctor, but she couldn’t fool her mom. I nearly cried myself as I promised her that the doctor was NOT going to cut it off; he was just going to “fix it,” like I’d told her in the beginning.
The doctor thought this was quite amusing and had a good laugh.
We ended up waiting another three hours to have her arm set, because I insisted on getting someone else to treat her.
American medical care: the best in the world!
I was administering an Anesthetic to a patient for a Hemi-Knee Replacement. The Surgeon had less than desirable skills not only in Surgery but in life in general.
The Patient was a Medicaid Recipient. He did an extremely poor job repairing the knee, such that her knee bent out at a 30 degree angle.
I came from an Orthopedic Background and was appalled by his actions. I finally spoke up when I realized that he was going to close and leave her knee like that.
I told him that I would refuse to wake this patient up until he corrected his mistake. Everyone in the room was scared at this point. He said just what do you think that would accomplish. I told him that I would required the Hospital Director and the Chief of Surgery to come to the OR and witness his Malpractice. He corrected his mistake.
If he cared so little about Medicaid Recipients he should not take them as patients and should not accept the Gov’t (taxpayer) monies he received.
The case law has shown that the Anesthesia Practitioner who renders the patient unconscious and therefore incapable of making informed correct choices must act as their advocate.