In June, just a week after James was born, an old post of Mike’s was picked up by the Huffington Post. It was his love-letter to nurses, and it got a lot of attention for giving praise to an often-overlooked profession. However, some readers took exception to Mike’s words about the way the doctor in charge handled things the night Madeline died. In a nutshell, those people thought Mike was needlessly harsh about the way the doctor in charge acted the that night, and that we are just a big family of doctor-haters.
Now, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that’s not true. I mean, my General Practitioner’s nickname on this blog is Dr. Looove because I LOVE HER. I cried when I left my last appointment with Dr. Risky because I wasn’t going to see her again. I have genuinely liked almost every doctor I’ve come into contact with, and I’ve dealt with a large amount of them in my life. It wasn’t hard for me to ignore the commenters that called us doctor-haters because it’s not true.
However, the comments opened a lot of old wounds for the members of my family who were there the night Madeline died. They’d witnessed the head doctor’s callous behavior and the comments defending him enraged them. I’ve written about my feelings toward that doctor, and they weren’t pretty. I have done a lot (A. LOT.) of work in therapy to erase that man from my thoughts. Not forgive – forget. I don’t waste time on him, and that is what works for me.
Since James was brand-spanking-new when this post was republished, my family was at our house a lot, and of course they wanted to talk about it. I paid very little attention, more consumed with resting and cuddling my new baby. While I was nursing James in another room, I could hear them all rehashing April 7th, 2009. After Maddie died that night, I was unaware of anything else going on around me. At the time, I hadn’t realized that the doctors were having their post-mortem only a few feet away. I didn’t hear anything they discussed, so I had no idea that HE (the thoughtless head doctor) said, “Well, we kept doing everything we could to save her, but she just wasn’t trying to live.”
He said that Maddie didn’t try to live. MADDIE. The little girl who was supposed to die the day she was born, who fought every day of her seventeen months. He said she didn’t try. And I didn’t find out he’d said that until over four years later.
I felt like I had literally been gutted. I cried like I had in those early days, loudly and from deep inside. I could not stand the idea that anyone thought that little girl hadn’t tried, hadn’t fought like hell, to live. It wasn’t luck that kept her alive for almost a year and a half. It was the skill and dedication of the doctors who cared for her (like Dr. Looove), her family, and Madeline herself. How dare he say she didn’t try.
My postpartum hormones did not make this new discovery an easy one. I felt very low, and it was hard to recover. I was upset that I had (even unwittingly) let this man back into my brain. It took even more work to get him out of my head this time, but he is now banished forever.
It’s taken me five months to get to the point where I can talk about this. On Maddie’s birthday, when Annie again asked me why her sister died, I gave her all the contributing factors she could understand but not trying wasn’t one of them. Annie and James will always know what a fighter their sister was. Not trying will never be an option for them – just like it wasn’t for Maddie.
After reading your post, I felt an irrational, or should I say ‘rational’ burst of anger. It’s almost impossible to believe that a Medical professional could make such an insensitive and incorrect statement. I want to slap his face!!!! If I feel this way, then I can only begin to imagine how you must have felt. I have no other words, except to say that I am so sorry you had to encounter such a soulless person at such a traumatic point in your life. I’m glad that you have put this evil being out of your mind. Hugs xxx
Same here. So furious!
OMG, me too. I want to punch that doctor for his callousness. I’m glad you realize many healthcare professionals are actually very compassionate and caring. This jerk is an exception.
I can’t imagine the pain of hearing what he said about Maddie. What. An. Ahole.
It amazes me why some people choose professions where they have to go out and interact with other humans. He is one that shouldn’t. Hurtful hurtful hurtful. I’m sorry Heather, i’m sorry you found out. I’m sorry you are hurting because of his callousness. What a bastard.
I don’t know if this will mean anything, but it was that Huffington Post piece that brought me to your blog in the first place in June. I stopped everything I was doing that week (eating, sleeping… breathing) to read your entire blog from the very beginning. You and Mike are incredible and have an amazing family – not just your kids (who I’m sure you know are just seriously something else), but your supportive extended family. Thanks for posting this today – I know it’s been a tough week for you.
Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food says:
My mom had similar stories about one of the doctors who cared for my dad when he had cancer… she changed care teams because of him and was so angry for so long about how he’d pretty much written my dad off when he still had fight left in him.
I think we, in general, ascribe so much… authority, and awe, to our doctors that when one acts in a manner we aren’t expecting, it’s such a huge breach of The Code that it cuts deep and hard. On the flip side, I can only wonder how doctors who treat very ill children manage to process loss after loss without it crushing them. Not an excuse at all for how your doc behaved, but just me trying to put myself in his shoes.
When my 9 year old son was in the PICU, I said to one of the doctors, how do you DO THIS EVERY DAY, gesturing around to all 10 beds and all the sick kids hooked up to all the tubes and wires… she said, simply, there but for the grace of God go I; and, sometimes, we have ice cream for breakfast at my house. And now, after that experience – so do we.
“Ice cream for breakfast.” That’s a beautiful statement.
Oh, Heather,,when I read that the doctor said that Maddie didn’t try to live I said out loud,,”OH…MY….God”,and was covered in chills as I cried for your family. What a horrendous thing for you to have to know. Some people should take a good look at themselves and maybe change professions. I agree with Shannon,,,,,”what a bastard”. Hugs to all of you, honey.
As a lawyer, I feel qualified to say that I have heard some pretty amazingly insensitive and heinous comments in my lifetime but my hand to god, that is the worst thing I’ve ever heard, even second-hand.
I won’t swear on your blog, because that is disrespectful, but man, [expletive censored] that guy. Wow.
I am so sorry that man re-entered your brain for even a millisecond. I am glad that he has once again been banished forever.
Anyone who knows (or has read) you and Mike or knew Maddie knows the truth – Maddie was always a fighter.
Sending hope and hugs. xo
Wow. This post has really resonated with me and I’m guessing many others. I have an adult son who has been living with a critical illness since he was nine (he’s 24 now) and through all of those years and all of the numerous doctors and medical professionals, we only had one truly bad experience with a callous, unfeeling doctor. His words and actions were devastating to the core (enough to still bring tears to my eyes 6 years later). Wounding the wounded and compounding loss is so polar opposite of what a doctor takes an oath to do. Morally and ethically it feels like negligence (by way of stupidity) to me. I have great admiration for the strength you’ve been able to summon to fight hard enough to banish him from your mind, from your present, and to leave him where he belongs in the past. Thank you for sharing this Heather.
That man doesn’t deserve the title of physician! How dare he say that about one of the toughest little fighters I know of!
Absolutely wipe that man from as much of your memory as possible–he doesn’t warrant the space.
He can never, ever tarnish the truth about Maddie’s life: she was a glorious child full of joy & spunk & beauty & fight. And will always be remembered that way!
I miss Maddie.
Sigh….really no words…..I guess maybe this insensitive fool felt the need to put blame somewhere. Absolutely no excuses for that kind of behavior. None.
EXACTLY. It says a lot more about HIS self-esteem then it will ever say about Maddie that he chose those words. Clearly he was grasping at straws to try and protect himself from any fault, and of course it is a ridiculous statement. He SHOULD be banished form your brain, AND banished from working with children and families!!!
Elizabeth McKinney says:
I remember, when Maddie was around a year old, you posted a picture of her “6 pack”. You had taken it inadvertently and posted to show how hard Maddie worked for every.single.breath. That picture has always stuck in my mind as everything Maddie was. She fought for such a simple biological process that most of us take for granted all the time. She didn’t know how NOT to fight, it was everything she was. (((Hugs)))
That doctor should have to go and work in the morgue for a bit. Sounds like he lost his care for humanity a while back. What he says means nothing, he didn’t know Maddie. She was a fighter!! And we all know that. I am glad to hear that you have banished him, that is where he belongs.
I don’t know what to say other than tears keep streaming down my face! My sister is a nurse and tells me countless stories of careless doctors and how much it hurts her emotionally and makes her ill physically.
Sending lots of love and hugs to you and your beautiful, brave and always “fight on!” spirit!
Wow, I’m so sorry you and your family heard the doctor’s hurtful words. I hope your family knows that we all can see she was such a fighter. And I’m so glad you have banished him from your thoughts. That is a very good thing. Wishing you and yours much love and peace. p.s. that picture of James is beyond adorable!
Lisa F. says:
Wow. I don’t even know what to say, except that a**clown should have his medical license revoked (and go back to bedside manner school).
We all know that Maddie was a fighter. No ones words can change that fact. The End.
I’m so sorry, again, that you had this additional pain heaped on what was such an awful day in your life. And I’m sorry that the memory of him still comes to your mind from time to time. Maddie was a beautiful fighter and no one can ever take that away from you or her!
I’m so sorry to hear that he said such a thing. I’m wondering if he knows how callous he was and how much his words hurt the family? Maybe he should know. Maybe he should know just so that he won’t do something like that again. I doubt very much he’s going to change on his own.
I’m glad that you are finally able to banish him from your mind once again. Your girl was such a fighter! You and Mike know her better than anyone, and I’m so glad to know that you aren’t letting some doctor who knew her all of a few hours cast a doubt about that.
I work in healthcare, concern handling specifically. I speak to people every day who are upset, angry, and dissatisfied with the health care they have received. I hope you took the time to write a letter to the hospital or to the physician licensing body about the words the doctor spoke and the profound impact they had on you. I am often put in the position of **explaining** (not defending) the actions of others. Most often they are thoughtless, and certainly not intended to be hurtful. All care providers, doctors and nurses, and heck, even the guy standing in the corner holding a mop, need to know that the words they speak can have a lasting effect on patients and families. Positive words, actions of support and kindness… well, those have a lasting effect too. I believe that doctor should have been given the opportunity to learn from his terrible mistake, and that might help him when dealing with patients and families in the future. It’s not too late.
That being said, I was experiencing bleeding during the second trimester of my first pregnancy (which later was miscarried) and the callous words of an ultrasound technician who came in to the room to speak to his colleague (“Is she supposed to be pregnant?”) still make me shudder. There is an opportunity to help and heal, and there is an opportunity to hurt based simply on word choices. Some care providers get it, but some don’t. And it’s tragic.
This article is about cancer, but still relevant I think. The point is we can’t make people feel like their loved ones failed them or didn’t fight hard enough…. http://healthydebate.ca/opinions/when-dealing-with-cancer-lost-battle-language-is-inappropriate
Having just lost my mom a month ago to cancer, I really appreciate this article. My mom’s cancer was extremely quick, diagnosed and over in what feels like a blink of an eye, but as I told everyone had her memorial service, she will always be one of the strongest people I will ever meet because even during the toughest battle of her life, she would not let the cancer beat her spirit, even if it took her body. So, thank you for sharing this.
As for the doctor, that is downright inexcusable and is not something that should EVER be said. I’m so angry right now for you, and it sadly only reminds me of how my mom was sent away from urgent care after being scolded and basically turned away for going to someone besides her primary care doctor for IBS and how she had to burst into tears just to get an iron infusion scheduled for her severe anemia, all in the week leading up to her stage four ovarian diagnosis. For all those in the medical field who truly care for and respect their patients, there will always be a few who never see the people behind the illnesses when sometimes that can make all the difference in the world.
I am angry for you and your family. How completely unprofessional to have that discussion ANYWHERE NEAR where your family sat grieving such an incredible loss. I was not allowed in the room when my baby passed away, and I thank God for that actually. I could not imagine the additional memories that would have haunted me had I witnessed every last detail of the fight to bring her back to life. Once again, I am amazed at how far you’ve come in the last couple years. You are a much better person than I am, that’s for sure. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You have no idea how much your blog help so many other still grieving families. God bless and take care.
When we moved back to the state in which we now reside, we need a new pediatrician. The one we had previously was wonderful and I loved her so much. The guy we tried first seemed to be repulsed by my son. He recoiled when my (we would later learn, autism spectrum) child was acting just like he always did. And as he barely examined him, he asked if he was in daycare, which he was. He grabbed our chart and announced that there was no way he could be since we didn’t have the state health waiver signed. He was calling the police and stormed out.
I had asked out previous doctor to sign it and it turned out that it was perfectly legal and legitimate.
When I mentioned the incident in a blog post, people told me I was crazy and that their experiences were so positive.
To this day, I can’t think of his name without feeling stabby….and my experience was nothing like yours.
It just made me think of him because I could see him treating someone like that.
Doctors are human and some humans are not very nice people. The nurses Mike mentioned worked with that guy every day and they know what an ass he is. They probably overcompensate because they are good people.
I am so sorry you had to hear any of that and that it came back around again. One day, that doctor will need care and we know that God will give him someone like himself. Maybe then he will understand how to treat people with sensitivity.
Maybe Maddie’s body was done fighting after fighting for so long. We will never know. He said that to rid himself of guilt and he probably said it loud enough for your family so as to recluse himself from legal responsibility and that is the saddest statement of them all. You lost your child and he was thinking about blame.
I am an angry for you and your family!!!!!!! To me Miss Maddie will always be the biggest fighter I never met. She will always live in my heart.
You let that guy fade back to the obscurity he deserves– with that poisonous attitude, he’ll get his eventually.
I’m a NICU nurse and this makes me sick!!! I’ve seen some questionable bedside manner in my day but that is a new level. Why were they even discussing what happened in front you after your baby passed? Seriously ridiculous! I have a primary baby that is six months old now, after being discharged from the NICU at 4 months she’s been in the PICU for the last month. I go visit her every few days and just imagining a doctor acting that way up there is horribly unsettling. Those sweet premies are such fighters!
Maddie was a little warrior. She was the strongest little girl for enduring during her far too brief time. And all the while with a smile on that beautiful face. She fought as hard as she could. Anyone who knew Maddie knew that.
It also seems very unprofessional to hold a post mortem within ear shot of a grieving family. You and Mike are such bigger people than me, I would have, even years later, wanted to pummel that doctor into the ground.
I’m a nurse. I’ve worked with children, the ER and all over the place. I think I would have had to slap that doctor if I had heard such words. He goes beyond callous. That must be a man that has skill but absolutely no common sense and needless to say courtesy. I am so sorry for your open wound. You knew your Maddie better than anyone…and you know her not being a fighter is ridiculous. That’s all you need to remember from that night.
I am just so sorry that man came into your life.
I am really glad you wrote about this. Your anger needs a voice. What that doctor did is wrong. It is extremely, extremely wrong. It is also too common. That doctor was witnessing a horrible tragedy. And in the face of horrible tragedy, bystanders have a choice. They can either feel empathy with the victims, or they can protect themselves from that empathy by blaming the victims. Feeling empathy for Maddie’s death was excruciating for the nurses and everyone around you, as you know. And this doctor didn’t want to do that–or perhaps, isn’t capable of that (he wouldn’t be the first unempathetic doctor, that’s for sure). So he found someone to blame for the horrible tragedy of a dying child. He may like to think his medical expertise makes him a kind of god–gives him godlike powers to save others. And when those powers fail, as they did for Maddie, he may totally lack the humility to admit it and feel the sorrow that results. And he made the choice to absolve himself of guilt by doing this absolutely evil thing. I am glad you spoke up about this. You have emboldened me to demand empathy from all my doctors. But most of all, I am so, so, sorry for this terrible suffering he caused. I am so, so sorry for you. You deserved better. You deserve all the empathy and compassion in the world, and so does Maddie.
So very well said. He was quite honestly a freaking asshole. How differently he would have dealt with the situation if it were HIS child or grandchild… Shameful.
I know you don’t need unsolicited advice, so I’m apologizing in advance for this. I wondered if you could ask your family members who shared what they overheard with you to write the doctor and the hospital a letter. Perhaps they feel that they need your permission to speak up. I can understand that, for you to heal, you need to do everything in your power to forget. But if others feel angry for you, it might be healthy for them to express it. You can also ask them to keep discussions of the letter to themselves, and to protect you from further mentions of this doctor. The fact that they are still talking about it though, shows that they have some healthy rage that might need some assertion for them to put it to rest (and then feel comfortable no longer talking about this incident around you).
Maddie was a fighter…as are you! as is Mike! as was Jackie! hugs to you all! xx
I don’t think he was saying that Maddie wasn’t a fighter. But at some point, even the best fighters have to hang up the gloves and step out of the ring. You can see it in people, when they just don’t want to fight anymore. Maybe he saw that in her that day. And if he’s the attending at that hospital, he’s probably seen it a lot – the difference between someone who’s got fight left, and someone who is finished.
Should he have been saying it near a grieving family? No. But was he insulting her? I don’t think so.
Wow. You have about as much tact as the doctor.
Heather, I’m sorry you have to read insensitive comments like this.
Actually, he shouldn’t have said it at all, even if he was thinking it, even if it was true. It’s called empathy, i.e., understanding that your feelings (disappointment at? Not getting another ‘win’?) do not trump those of other people.
I just can’t. I can’t imagine hearing those words years later about my daughter…the same little girl who courageously and willingly fought every day of her life. I have tears in my eyes and I truly just want to hug you. I admire you so very much. I’m so glad you have erased him from your mind forever.
I don’t understand how people like that can go on and keep their jobs and have respect of the people below them. You can’t continue to do your job, at least not remotely well, if you blame other people. Blaming a 17 month old for your lack of ability? He needs his head examined. I would say I feel bad for him because he must have been in such a bad place in his life, blah blah blah, but I don’t. I hope something happens in his life that brings him compassion and understanding of the people that he’s supposed to be helping. One of the Friends of Maddie banners brought me here years ago and I, like one of the PPs, also read from beginning to end without stopping. She fought even before she was born and kept fighting. Her pictures and the stories about her express very clearly how much she loved every minute that she was allowed to be on this planet. Thank you so much for sharing her with us. I’m sorry that piece of crap didn’t see what we all see: a beautiful, strong, courageous fighter.
Heather I hope reading these comments is empowering for you and doesn’t restimulate the pain. Thank you for giving others a place to share their outrage at the hurts that people inflict on others, and a place to feel recognition for humanity. I am also trying not to rent space in my brain for an outrage, perpetrated by my husband for whom I feel both hatred and love, and it is hard and yet I think it is the only way forward. Thank God for my therapist helping me to see the path, even if I am not there yet. Hugs to you, lady. You are awesome!
Suzanne L. says:
The physician that “cared” for my dad during his battle with cancer may not be in the same ballpark as Maddie’s doctor, but he was pretty close. Like you, I struggled after his death with how to deal with what I saw as a complete lack of humanity regarding my father’s life. And like you, I just choose to let it go because it could still eat me up if I allowed it to. I know my dad wouldn’t want me wasting a minute on a man who neither knew may dad nor cared to know him. Sorry that you even had to think about it again.
Fucker. That’s the word I have for him. Heartless bastard.
OMG! I’m incensed by his callous attitude and that he would dare infer that a child wouldn’t TRY to live. What an asshole.
Okay – he is now banished from my head too.
Sorry for the language.
sitting here with tears in my eyes, i’m so sorry. your maddie was a lovely little girl who was such a fighter, his words will never take that away.
There is a special place in Hell for that doctor. He’s a soulless pig.
That said, good for you for writing about it and banishing him. He doesn’t deserve an atom of real estate in your head, or in anyone’s.
The night my mom died, we had all left the hospital for the night. They called us back to tell us they thought she was going to go soon (much, much sooner then expected.) she was gone before we got back but we all spent time in the room with her. My father went first and then left distraught. When I was done, I headed out down the hall behind a course of the nurses. The one was talking about my dad who had asked her, “what do I do now,”. She was mocking him. I was furious with her lack of compassion. She then realized I was behind her and I could tell she was terrified. I didn’t have anything left in me to give to her then and I try to give her compassion because she was probably lucky enough to have yet to be on the other side. I have to hope that she will grow and mature. Maybe that doctor was not yet ready to deal with failure and I can only hope that he will grow too.
Yes, initial reaction here too of wanting to punch his f’ing face in and pummel it bloody… . But what you are probably needing is to work to forget him again.. just make his memory go away.
I am so sorry. Your baby girl was a fierce fighter and so strong. Your beautiful girl.
Oh heck no. I would write that man a letter and tell him everything you just told us. That way he can’t get a chance for closure. It’s your story, not his. There are jobs in this life where empathy and compassion are a must. Pediatrics is one of them. I’m sorry you have to deal with these memories. Hopefully some day you will find some peace with it.
That doctors comment just leaves me LIVID… Sounds like a person pushing the ‘blame’ on another when a death is involved on his watch. Shameful and completely sickening.
On top of all you have both endured THIS was completely out of line and frankly disgusting.
Dammit. That girl WAS a fighter. Full stop.
It fills me with rage that anyone could even think that.
Some people aren’t fit to be in their chosen professions. Though not tragic, like you losing Maddie, my parents recently changed doctors because they felt they weren’t being listened to. On the day they saw their new doctor (who is now mine and my husband’s as well), he saw something in my mom’s results that didn’t gel and discovered that afternoon that her gall bladder is non-functioning and that she had H. pylori (GERD). The GERD has been eradicated and she has surgery Tuesday to remove her gall bladder. Already, she is feeling better than she has in nearly a decade!
Her other doctor kept telling her it was just plain old reflux, even when she landed in the ER thinking she was having a heart attack. He also kept my dad on an anti-stroke medication long after it was recommended to do so. Years longer. Now dad is off the meds, losing weight and I’m so glad that there are doctors like ours and Dr. Looove and Dr. Risky out there.
This is just gut-wrenching. I’m so sorry this happened to you guys, all of it. You have had such trials in your relatively short life and seem to handle them with such grace. Words fail me here but I just wanted to say how sorry I am that this (guy) happened to you and your family. You are an inspiration.
I am so beyond sorry that you had to hear that information, a sentence that hurts to even read. How that doctor could have been so callous, so hurtful regarding Maddie.
From reading your blog, I always got the impression of how much ‘Looove’ and respect you have for your team of doctors, and that they must feel the exact same about you and your family.
My entire life I always held doctors in such high regard, to trust them without question but that all changed the day my twin son died. After being told by a new high risk OB that my son died at 29weeks, I was admitted to the hospital and had to wait for transport to the closest children’s hospital to deliver both of my boys. During the hour I waited I was in shock, grief, and the anger I felt towards my regular OB for her mistakes that lead to my son’s death started to bubble through the pain I was in. When this Dr. entered my room to sign off on some form, she looked as grief stricken as I felt, and the only words she could say was, “I’m so sorry.” Gone was her callous behavior and rude comments of past appointments, the only look on her face was pain. In the days that followed I made a firm and final choice, I would choose Better over Bitter in terms of her. I knew I could not get through mourning my baby, while being there for my surviving twin son during his NICU stay or the past few years.
My son has had some amazing doctors and surgeons that I love and rave about. Now, I know they are fallible and I have been able to better handle the rude and uncaring ones that I’ve encountered along the way.
That doctor knew nothing of Maddie, a fighter (She was a NICU Graduate, these are some of the toughest children I have ever met!) and how courageous and brave she was. You are a wonderful mother, and Annie and James will be strong and brave like their big sister too!
I am a doctor, so I’ll admit that upfront. There is a difference between what a soul can do and what a body can do. Her body just may have just may have been done, and that is tragic, but he probably knew that going into the situation. That says nothing about her spirit.
I’m sure it could have been handled been handled better, but how easy can it possibly be to tell parents that their child is going to pass? Haunting. PBS did a special about children with cancer (Heather and Mike…don’t watch) but for those who slam the doctor, it’s an interesting look at medical professionals who have to navigate difficult issues.
So glad you are able to banish the guy from your being. Your Maddie was a strong lil girl that put up an awesome fight! Some doctors just shouldn’t be doctors. We have a doctor at our local hospital…one night I went into the ER with immense pain, everywhere, joints, skin, head, everywhere, in tears, doubled over, could hardly stand to be touched even by clothing, and because I am a recovered addict, been clean for several years with only one month long relapse, this guy refused to treat me. Said I was drug seeking and he wanted nothing to do with me. Told me it was all in my mind. I couldn’t believe how callous he was. I was begging for help and he just looked down on me and told me suck it up because of something well in my past that wasn’t even an issue anymore. He wouldn’t even listen to me. Turns out the pain was caused from a drug I was taking that had been prescribed to me, the levels in my system were too much, the dosage was too high and I was having a severe reaction to it. It wasn’t all in my mind after all. Then a few months later I was back in the ER, suicide attempt. Same doc got me stablized and concious again and then realized who I was. From that point on he refused to even talk to me. Even when I asked to specifically speak to him he refused to even come in the room. I was transferd out to another hospital by ambulance where I spent a few days recovering. I already had a fear of doctors. A hate of doctors. This guy just drove it home for me. I have anxiety attacks at the thought of having to even see a family doctor. Wish I could just banish him outta my head , but he’s always there in the back of my mind looking down on me and telling me how bad I am. It just never goes away and I hate him for it. Sorry to get so personal.
After my daughter was born I was furious and hurt by the actions and behaviour of one of the Drs. I tried to banish him from my mind and get on with my life, but the morning of my daughter’s first birthday I woke up crying from a dream I had about it. I contacted the Patient Liaison officer at the hospital and put in a formal complaint about him. When interviewed, 95% of the staff involved in the birth remembered his actions and words and said they were unacceptable. He had to do a training course in patient relations (pointless but as long as I wasted his time I was OK) and was interviewed by the head of maternity and his boss.
Whilst my experience is nothing like yours, I know a tiny part of the pain of a heartless Dr.
How is his explanation, apart from its obvious callousness, even close to being a legitimate medical diagnosis? This doctor–a representative of a major medical institution–seriously hypothesized that a toddler had lost her will to live? It’s hard to conceive of a colder (or stupider) explanation for a little girl’s death. No wonder you are horrified.
lisa smifth says:
Doctors can be such assholes at times, it’s that God complex thing some of them have.
I’ve just come from visiting my dad in hospital. Nurses were giving him little furtive smiles and thumbs up. A doctor walked by and flashed him a big grin. My mom explained that earlier in the day, some smug asshole doctor came up to MY dad, who has fought in wars, is the fixer of anything that is broken, has survived cancer, heart attack and stroke, this idiot came up to my poor dad sick in his hospital bed and curtly declared, “You’re not going home today.” No other explanation.
According to my mom, my dad said, “I might be lying here in this hospital bed, but I am still a human being with dignity. Show some respect, that is no way to talk to me.”
I could cry typing this out, so I can’t imagine how you felt when Maddie died. Most of the staff can be great, but it takes that one heartless bastard to make you want to scream and pull your hair out.
I don’t even feel anger at the doctor. Tears sprang to my eyes, imagining having to hear it as her parent. I almost lost my son during his multi month nicu stay several times – and even to consider how that would feel…
I’m just so, so very sorry.
There are no words to indicate how sorry I am that your grief was made even worse by this sorry excuse for a human being. I would respectfully suggest that you write a letter, detailing your experiences with this physician and describing the deleterious effect that they have had on you, to the point where you had to address this in therapy. It’s important that this individual not be able to subject another family to what you’ve been subjected to here.