Monday, March 26, 2012

Get a Lawyer

My records from my current RE came last week. There were really only two things in that stack of papers I wanted: my surgery reports. The night they came, I went up to bed and looked through them, even though I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.

The surgery report from this year was on the top. I read through it, making sure I saw every word. When I got to the end, there was an extra paragraph:
Addendum: Unfortunately as the laparoscopic tower was being moved, there was a lose power to the tower, and as such, images from the laparoscope from the laparoscopic surgery did not get printed. The machine does not have a memory in it and as such we have lost all of these images from the surgery and there is nothing to share with the patient except my op note.
I read and re-read that paragraph three times. Each time the anger welled up inside me.

I work for a company who develops the image capture devices in ORs, and I know how they work. Why? Because I document how they work for a living!

I was so angry because I know that even when power is lost to these devices, the images do not just disappear. And if there was no hard drive, how was anything from the surgery being temporarily stored? Why weren't the images printed during the surgery? Wouldn't moving the tower post-op to print the images anywhere else also result in a loss of power? If so, how have they been getting along without a hard drive in this surgery center all of this time?

In other words, I'm calling foul.

There were also notes in my records about discussions I know I never had with this doctor. Specifically around IVF cycles, protocols, how and when to give myself shots, etc. I have had ZERO interest in doing IVF, and he has known that since the first day I set foot in his office. So why would he discuss protocols around it with me? And I am damn sure he never told me how or when to give myself shots.

As if all of that weren't enough, I finally made it to the beginning of my chart (it was printed from latest to earliest visit), and the op report from my repair surgery back in 2010 is basically absent. The only thing about the actual surgery in there are some brief, handwritten notes that say who the surgeon performing the surgery was, who the anesthesiologist was, what fluids were used, and what type of surgery was being performed. That's it. There are NO surgery notes. There are notes about pre-op and post-op discussions, but no surgery notes. For all I know, he didn't do a damn thing two years ago.

The next day I asked my project manager about the laparoscopic tower, just to confirm what I know. One of my coworkers who knows a lot about our devices was walking by as my PM and I were talking about it, and my PM pulled him into the discussion. When I told them the images were conveniently missing, the first thing they both said was, "You should get a lawyer." They confirmed the way the device works, and that the images don't just disappear. But add to that the fact that there are no surgery notes from my 2010 surgery, and something smells fishy.

I have been doing my homework in the days since the discussion with my PM, and am trying to confirm the brand of equipment used in that OR, because if it was manufactured by my company, I know I have a case. Why? Because I write the documentation!!!

My PM and coworker told me I should at least get a letter from a lawyer requesting surgery notes and images from 2010. You can't tell me he didn't document the procedure other than those 10 handwritten words. Not taking extensive notes is negligence. Hell, loosing the images from my last surgery is negligence.

Luckily, I have both a lawyer and a doctor in the family and am going to consult both of them about this situation. I am also going to move up the later of my two new RE appointments and get their opinion on the matter. I know that most doctors don't want to give their professional opinion about other doctors because they don't want to get caught up in legal battles against their peers, but I am hoping that at the very least they can get the 2010 notes and images for me. Dr D would have a very difficult time telling another doctor no without having a really good explanation.

I don't know if Dr D is hiding anything. Maybe he is just negligent. I mean, I had another woman's lab report stuck in my charts. Guess what? She was pregnant! I kept looking at the Hcg count on that lab report wondering why I had been told I wasn't pregnant. It wasn't until I was going to put that page down that I noticed the name at the top wasn't mine. Do you know what that is? Its a HIPPA violation. And it makes me wonder if my surgery report is in someone else's chart.

Since getting my records, I've been sick to my stomach. I trusted this man, and now I wonder if he messed things up for me even more than the first doctor did when he shaved the septum rather than cut it. Did Dr D mess up? Is he trying to cover something? I can tell you, after my belly button got infected just before my business trip, I have said I am willing to undergo another laparoscopy with a different doctor just to make sure.

Oh yeah, and Dr D found a patch of endometriosis during my lapraroscopy that he sent out for confirmation. I never heard back on whether or not it came back positive. I got a bill from the lab week before last. In my charts that I just got, it says it came back positive. It was an endometrioma. Thanks for telling me Dr D. You're awesome.

I go between feeling sick and angry every time I think about how I trusted this man. What makes it even harder is knowing my husband did not like him from the get-go. But in my defense, my husband RARELY likes any doctor. He thinks they are all quacks. I quit making doctor/dentist/massage appointments for him because he never has anything good to say about the people I send him to. So I figured his dislike for Dr D was just like him with every other doctor.

For now our plan is to consult the new REs and get their opinion on everything. If I don't hear back from Dr D's office soon regarding the missing surgery notes (I called them on Thursday morning to ask for them and still have not heard back), I will have my lawyer write up a letter demanding them. Until then, I am trying to stay as calm as possible and ignore as much of it as I can until I absolutely have to face it.


Heather said...

Wow. Just WOW. There arent even the words! This is outrageous!

*Jess* said...

livid. I would be livid! I agree... this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Leah said...

I'm so sorry. I kind of understand how you feel, and it's such a sick feeling. Not only because we trust these doctors, but because these docs are our hope of a family!!! I remember finding out my RE was negligent, and I felt so helpless. I was already out of money for infertility treatments, and docs for the most part cover their asses with malpractice insurance. It's just sickening though, and makes you realize all doctors are not created equal.

I'm so sorry hon. Thinking of you.

Life Happens said...

Sorry that your dr was negligent. I'm glad you know a lawyer! Can't wait to see what the dr says when he gets the notice. Good luck!

Mazzy said...

Infuriating. I truly hope you find answers, resolution, and peace.

Suzanne said...

Oh .... I am speechless .... this is horrible! How could your doctor be so awful ?!?! I think you should definitely get a lawyer. If you lived in Maryland, I would recommend the clinic that I went to - Shady Grove Fertility. Our treatments did not result in a baby, but I would recommend this clinic to anybody. Everyone was very professional. If you want more information about this clinic, please email me. If you do decide to do treatments again, you may decide that it might be worthwhile to travel outside your state for treatments. Just a thought.

twondra said...

As someone who works in the health care field, I'm shocked. Wow. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better but I know there isn't. Dang, dang, dang.

Keep us posted. Sending you lots of love and hugs.

Journey Girl said...

This is absolutely not on - I can't believe how badly they have stuffed up. I am sooooo angry on your behalf right now. Great news that you have a doctor and a lawyer in the family.

I am really sorry that this has happened to you, it shouldn't happen to anyone, we put our trust in these doctors and it is such a violation. My thoughts are with you, my friend.

Fran said...

I cannot believe it! No wonder you are angry, I'd be fuming through my ears!I'll be here to support you all the way. Love, Fran

Sue said...

Hey Lady!
I have been thinking of you guys since the torando's hit, can you please drop me a line cause I can't get you, hubby and babybean off my mind. I tried to contact you via FB but I'm sure that you are superbusy but I am worried. Hope your all safe :)
(btw, I am unable to comment using my Wordpress blog page :()

Potters said...

I'm with Heather. My first thought was just WOW, that is horrible. I can't even think of anything else to say except wow. I'm so sorry you have to deal with his guy.

Barb said...