Three weeks ago, I called the hospital. I talked to a complaints officer and shared with him what had happened to me. He was a little bit skeptical I think about what I had to tell. I also told him about the antibiotics. After having initially talked about ‘restoring my trust in healthcare’, he (understandably from his point of view) turned around and said ‘but a doctor may not trust you if you take antibiotics yourself’. I told him I had no choice. He suggested I write down three questions for the doctor and he’d take them to the doctor.
He called me yesterday. From his tone of voice, I heard that a lot was talked about over there… First of all, the doctor denies ever having diagnosed an ovarian cyst. It’s literally in my medical file. So that doesn’t add up. The doctor also emphasized no cyst was seen during surgery. They indicate there are therefore no images of the cyst, at all. Secondly, they cannot explain my illness. (“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”) I told the complaints officer that the doctor added the cyst-diagnosis two weeks after a resident did an ultrasound on me. The resident reported that nothing was seen, but two weeks later, a note is added to my file: ovarian cyst. That was on the day I came for an intake for surgery, at 12:12. I had the appointment from 11:20-12:20. The only way she could have diagnosed a cyst two weeks later, is if the ultrasound images are still in my medical file. And now they point blank refuse to acknowledge it. It doesn’t make sense.
The complaints officer hesitated. He acknowledged that “it may have been a good thing that you have taken antibiotics..” and “if an abscess was present, it may not have been seen during surgery after taking antibiotics”. He also said: “It sounds like you didn’t receive much recognition for this, did you?” He suggested that further avenues can be explored. In other words, some recognition there. I thanked him for that. Someone realizes something went wrong there. I can only guess what they have discussed among themselves. I admit I cried again. He wished me luck and then hung up pretty quickly..
I then sent him an e-mail asking him to put the doctor’s response in writing. I then asked him about the “ovarian cyst” diagnosis on the “diagnoses” tab of my digital medical file. He replied that this wasn’t an official diagnosis and was therefore not part of my medical file. (Even though it’s in there..)
I sent him a third e-mail, asking what he meant when he said other avenues may be explored. I also asked one last question for the doctor: Who added that note to my file? If it wasn’t you, who was?
Lastly, I formally requested a copy of that ultrasound. In the “reason” field, I entered “second opinion”.
Someone advised me to seek out legal help. I think I’m going to indeed investigate what my options are.
Let’s see what happens.
The funny thing is this: All I want is for the doctor to recognize what I know she knows. To send my GP a letter saying “We missed a diagnosis, this was actually what was going on, we realized it during and after surgery when talking to the patient”. That’s all I want. Recognition. And a good conversation, two human beings, over a cup of tea. To hear the doctor’s side of the story, in all honesty. To be able to tell her mine. To share and to hear what will be done next time someone comes in with some or all of my symptoms and a ‘cyst’.
Here’s an interesting paper.