Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tonight we meet a lawyer

I feel like Alice must've felt when she fell through the rabbit hole. I look around and wonder what has happened to my life. Surely, this is all just some nightmare and I'll wake up and everything will be as it should?

When I was sixteen and I worked at Discount Drug Mart, one of my managers, Frank, had finished his first year of law school and quit because he realized it just wasn't what he wanted to do. I remember him saying, "Some of the dumbest people I've met are lawyers." I thought that was funny...and rude...but I remembered it. Frank was right. I don't particularly care for lawyers as a group. There are exceptions, and I count those people as friends. But generally, for every good person who is a lawyer, there are two or three who are like the sleazy characters you see on television. I hope this guy is normal and not sleazy.

Funny, I haven't thought of Frank in years. He died suddenly when I was in college (more than ten years ago now). I remember crying when I heard the news he had died. You know, I can't even remember Frank's last name now. I wonder which class of lawyer he'd have put me in.


We're seeing a lawyer to find out if there is any recoverable action against my doctors for failing to diagnose my uterine infection (that led to Alex's death and stillbirth). I wasn't interested in lawsuits and such until my doctor lied to me about Alex's cause of death and the perinatologist subsequently said, "Sometimes, even though we're not in Afghanistan, even with all our medical know-how, these things get missed." I suspect my OB knows she missed the infection because I apparently exhibited classic symptoms, and she would have let me believe the lie about an intracranial hemorrhage as the cause of death ("but we still don't know what caused that hemorrhage") for the rest of my life...in order to save her some money on malpractice insurance. Never mind the fact that it puts me in the high risk category should we decide to try for another baby. Never mind that she's my doctor and she's supposed to care about my health first and foremost. Never mind that I think it has got to be against some code of ethics or some law to lie to you patients. I think I owe it to Alex to find out if there is a case here. I also owe it to all the women who are in the care of that OB...to make sure this doesn't happen to them.

The perinatologist said something very telling during our consultation last week. "With your next pregnancy, you need to see someone who isn't seeing thirty patients in one day. You need to see someone who will be involved and take care to manage your pregnancy to the best possible outcome." I think that's what happened to me. I think I got lost in the shuffle of a big healthcare provider, and they will never admit they made a mistake unless I stand up and demand it. Fact is, my OB needs to slow down and take CARE with her patients...not just cram as many into one day as she can. The lives of babies rely on her. And right now she's not doing her job the way she should. Whether that amounts to a good legal case or not has yet to be seen. If there isn't...that's fine. If there is...that's fine too.


Lorem ipsum said...

Wait, back up... why are you seeing a lawyer?

ps You inspired me to post another hummingbird pic. Cheer up, please!


NervousKitty said...

I can't imagine what it would be like not to trust your OB - I didn't actually like mine all that much at first, but after J. died, we became very close with him. I really do feel like he cared and that he'll do everything he can for us next time. I hope you can get some peace from whatever happens with the lawyer, and that you can find a wonderful, caring doctor.

vixanne wigg said...

I understand these feelings very well, and I think you're right to consult a laywer...no matter what you decide to do in the end. I feel like if I had felt more comfortable with my doctor and he or some nurse had been easier to reach and more accessible, I would definitely have noticed that something was wrong sooner. I am also amazed after all the ultrasounds we've had during this pregnancy that I had 3 ultrasounds and not one of the techs noticed that the baby just didn't move and that it was strange.

I guess I understand how people get lost in the shuffle, but it's people's lives...I think the OBs in general are so used to positive outcomes that they forget that sometimes weird things happen.

Is there a loss group in your area? You might want to check with them to see who the women in the group go to....then you know which docs are patient friendly.

Lorem ipsum said...

I hope you meet with a lawyer who will truly go to bat for you. The answers may be gone, but perhaps you can get someone on your side who will vindicate your emotions and bring your little boy's memory to a happy place knowing you did all you could.

Sweet Coalminer said...

Although my loss was nowhere near as devastating as yours, I was saddened when we met with a lawyer who said that the cost of bringing a suit against the OB that misdiagnosed a miscarriage and then butchered my ute in a D&C would far outweigh any allowable recovery. It's so unfair - I feel like there's no recourse. I hope your doctor really gets a message.

Don't give up like I did. I wound up writing the doctor a letter, which he clearly didn't take seriously. If your med mal laws don't work for you, file a complaint with the medical board. I hate myself for just letting everything go, as if that baby didn't matter.

Also, I don't know what kind of law you practice, but I was surprised how much I didn't like med mal lawyers... Go figure.

I hope that however it goes, you do what you need to do. I agree your doctor acted highly unethically, and with total disregard for the health of you and your baby and any future babies.

gabesmama said...

Hi Catherine,

I'm glad that you are seeing a lawyer. Whether you proceed or not, you are fighting for your son and for women with loss by seeing this through--a quest for truth or an apology!

Jill said...

I am in total support of your decision and will be however it proceeds. There are some major issues that the OB and the practice as a whole need to address.

And your son deserves justice, or at the very least acknowledgement of the truth - the ENTIRE truth by the people who made those fatal mistakes.

Sending you strength Catherine, this will be a long hard road but I will be behind you all the way for what that's worth.

Holley said...

Big Hugs. I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you.

And I'm keeping my fingers and various body part crossed in hopes that you'll be able to take some sort of action against the doctor.