I could not wait to get out of the hospital. I hadn’t showered in a week. I hadn’t seen my dog. My chest was constantly dripping with blood. This was such a lame surgery. It wasn’t useful like when I got the port put in. It didn’t improve things cosmetically. It was just a hole in my chest. And it was going to take FOREVER to heal.
I started to believe that I might never get released from the 8th floor.
But that was just as well, because we weren’t leaving until I had words with the interventional radiologist who had caused this whole mess in the first place. These were my mom’s objectives when it came to rectifying the mistakes made:
I didn’t hear back from the administrator today so I called to see what was happening. I was told that risk management gathered the information and I should expect to receive a call.
Within minutes the call came – risk management explained that the situation was being investigated and that the hospital board was meeting on Monday to go over next steps.
I told her the next steps I wanted the doctor who performed the procedure to:
- be bedside as they clean my daughters wound
- understand the rare disease my daughter has
- see the impact of her actions on the patient she was negligent with
- but most of all, learn that all patients are “real” people and not slabs of meat that you cut into without listening to their voices and their concerns.
I told her point blank that I don’t want to sue them.
No amount of money can take away the anger when I think of my daughter alone screaming for her rights to deaf ears. If this horror show can be a catalyst to effect positive change, than I can live with that.
What I can’t live with is knowing that she would continue her career without seeing what she did to my daughter.
So anyways. Six days go by. Seven. Nine. And this woman STILL doesn’t come up to watch the dressing change, to apologize, to see the wound. Finally the day comes when my doctors think I can be discharged and the hospital’s rep shows up at my hospital room.
“Is there anything else we can do?” She asks.
“Yeah. You can send Dr. Classified* up here to see the wound and answer some of my questions,” I shot back.
“She still hasn’t come up yet?”
“Uh…Really?” She says. “Well, she might not be able to come up today. What…What else?”
“I’ve been in here nine days and she hasn’t found the time? She knows she screwed up. I’m sure everyone in her department has told her by now that she’s majorly screwed up. And for her not to come here and even see me is pretty disgusting at this point.”
“What do you want to do if we don’t manage to get her up here?”
“I’m not a litigious person, but she had a deadline.”
“I’m not a litigious person, but she had a deadline,” I repeated.
And lo’ and behold! Guess who shows up at my hospital room an hour later?
I’m not going to go straight into quotes, but I could. I’m not going to say which one of us desperately needed a lip wax, but it wasn’t just me. I’m not even going to go into very specific details—but lets just say this was not a friendly conversation. R.J got upset. R.J—the epitome of calm and gentleness—started firing questions at her right along with me after she became defensive and kept snapping at me. And she just sneered and shirked responsibility and finally walked out, walked back in and declared that she was not having this conversation anymore.
And that’s when I was like, “SURE! Let’s watch a movie instead,” and pulled out my laptop to show her the gruesome video of them changing the dressing on my wound that morning. Nothing.
I’ve never met a more unprofessional and moronic doctor in my life. I can’t believe this woman had a knife over my chest. It literally gives me chills thinking about it.
So the big question: are we launching a mega lawsuit on this woman?
No. Probably not.
Why? Because it’s not going to give me what I want. I don’t want money. (Unless this scar heals up and I am truly, incredibly disfigured, but right now I’m not sure that’s going to be the case.) Because it’s extremely difficult to fight for emotional or even physical distress that’s temporary in court. Because suing her would mean alienating the hospital that all my doctors belong to, that is closest to my home, that has been (otherwise) wonderful to me.
Most importantly, I’m not suing because I know this woman got chewed the fuck out. Situations like mine don’t stay quiet in a hospital. I’m sure by this point she’s been checked by every department and has fresh eyes over her shoulders on any surgeries. And the next time she can’t figure out whether or not to close up an infected wound she’s going to damn well make sure she asks.
Something that slipped out during our little conversation was that she is a relatively new doctor. It isn’t like she’s been practicing medicine for 25 years. She’s a surgical infant who NEVER should have operated on me alone and had they given me a MINUTE to do my research before wheeling me into the OR, it never would have happened.
I’ve lodged my complaint with the hospital and I have doctors on my side who will monitor the situation.
Does it sound like I’m trying to convince myself that this is the right move? Yeah, that’s because I am. I know a lot of my readers here were really adamant that I launch a lawsuit just for pain and suffering alone. It’s just not a little thing to do. Especially for a rare disease patient who will have to rely on the willingness of doctors who will take on their case for the rest of their lives.
Right now, just healing is taking all of my energy and trying to continue working through all of this has taken all of my brain power. (And I have been working: for GG, my edits for my book, and my next project which is now 300+ pages.)
I’m not fully off pain killers. I still have a very, very uncomfortable midline in my arm. I’m still crazy allergic to all the bandages we’ve tried so if I’m not dozing on benadryl I am in a constant state of itchiness. My wound still makes me gag every time I have to look at it in the mirror. (Although R.J gets a weird, science-y kick out of it.) I’m missing my sister-in-law’s wedding, and I’m trying so damn hard to do every naked moon dance that will keep me from missing my sister’s wedding in Seattle at the end of next month.
This was definitely a learning experience—one I hope has helped others through my writing about it.
Oh, and you made it clear that you did want to see that gross picture. You are sick fucks! Ha 🙂 Eat your heart out.
(*Names have been changed to protect the negligibly incompetent.)