Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Birth Story Final Edition: Mtg. with the Chiefs

Gross... I really am tired of talking about it, but I have responded to the many questions and emails about it saying, "I'll give you details when I blog about it," and I don't want to let any of you down... so here goes...

A couple of weeks ago now, Justin and I met with the Chief of the hospital we delivered in and the Chief of Obstetrics which was our primary care doctor throughout my pregnancy. As you know I was super anxious about our meeting and wasn't quite sure that it would really do any good. I knew what kind of meeting I thought it would be although, I secretly hoped that they would surprise me and the meeting would go exactly how I would want it to... I even had a dream the night before about the meeting. The dream went something like this... "we are so sorry for all that happened, we know what pain we've caused you and even though you didn't ask for money we would like to present you with a $10,000 check... " WOAH! Nice dream, huh?

Truth be told no amount of money would make things better for us and no amount of apology or amount of sadness or reaction from the doctors could have changed our story. It is written in HIS-tory, done! My whole reason for doing all of this in the first place was to change some one else's story, to allow that doctor to choose the opposite path in the fork in the road next time she encounters this same type of situation. The process was supposed to also provide me with an outlet to deal with my anger and sadness; a way to heal!

The meeting went as well as could be expected. Justin and I sat in the big comfy chairs in the big cushy office of the chief. He in his street clothes and our doctor in his fancy white coat we sat and chatted. Of course emotions ran high as we replayed the delivery over AGAIN... they admitted to some mistakes and to A LOT of miscommunication. The mistakes they admitted to were charting mistakes and perhaps a misuse (although not entirely) of pitocin (could have used a smaller dose and waited longer to administer to give my body more time). Of course the kicker in the pitocin thing is that supposedly it was administered because of the meconnium, but they reminded me several times that the doctor was not aware of the meconnium because it was not charted correctly... so hmmm If she didn't think there was meconnium based on the charts then why, based on the charts, would she administer pitocin? What a mess! 

The chief, he was a little bit of a pompous type... he wasn't too eager to listen to my side of the story, and often was accusatory and just down right condescending... luckily my doctor was there to soften his blows and try to help him out, because I am sure the look on my face was saying, "whatever, dude... say what you want but I'm not buying it and in fact I am a little disgusted by what you are telling me." 

Example, he kept telling me how great the doctor thought I was. How intelligent and wise. How wonderful my family was, what a great bond she felt with us. She thought I was SO intelligent that she didn't need to explain anything to me... that I knew exactly why she administered pitocin (apparently, she thought I was smart enough to monitor my own dosage too, since she was at home and no one was monitoring it). Apparently, she was confused when she read that my occupation did not say OB! (Maybe ANOTHER charting error? :) ) I guess it was his futile attempt to wow me with flattery... nice try. There was no way that would work, especially since she may have said two words to us the ENTIRE delivery... not what you would call a personable doctor, which they admitted was a weakness of hers that they would work on.  Although, when I visited her in the clinic she was GREAT... so personable... the only doctor to ever ask what his name would be. Perhaps in the clinic she was in her 8 to 5 routine and not being taken away from her family?! Sigh! This was a minor issue though compared to the rest! I can deal with a cold doctor if they do a good job!

My doctor was the one who coughed up the hard stuff... like the dosage of pitocin was higher than what they normally start with and that she could have waited longer to see what my body would do. He told me her communication skills were lacking and that all doctors should tell their patients what it is and why it is that they are doing it... of course the chief interjected and said... some people just don't want to know or are well-researched like she thought you were (again... apparently reading WebMD equals a medical degree)... and then my doctor said, well too bad, we need to be telling all of our patients, whether they want to know or not. 

I had to agree with him. If she would have explained to me why she did what she did. If she really did administer the pitocin because she was worried about the meconnium and needed to speed up my labor then tell me that... don't keep telling me everything is fine and you're not worried. And if you're worried about the meconnium than you better be ready when he comes out to do something about it... but again she wasn't that worried because no other doctors were called in. Baffling, isn't it? But see if she had talked to me, tried to explain... when I looked back on things... I wouldn't have had to wonder... I would know!

So of course there were several more things that looking back that just don't make sense... apparently all of that talk about how intelligent I am was just lip service or else the chief wouldn't have tried to pull all of the things he did... fooling me with flattery, talking in circles, etc. 

In the end, I decided it was in my favor to agree that yes miscommunication was the issue... thank you for you time... I won't be seeing you for baby number two! We shook hands and hugged... and we were on our merry way. It became very clear about 30 minutes into it that there was no point to this meeting. I was just going to be more upset... they obviously were taking this seriously, and had talked to the doctor about what she could do better... so there you have it... the rest was out of my control.

Today on Oprah they are talking about medical mistakes... they are going to be interviewing Dennis Quaid about the near-fatal mistake that was made with his twins and to a woman who under went a mastectomy only to find out that she didn't even have breast cancer. Dr. Oz is going to tell us how we can avoid these types of mistakes by asking a series of questions. I know I am going to watch and see what he has to say... I don't think we can be too careful. I would rather be seen as a crazy, paranoid woman than be on Oprah as the next medical mistake... what about you?

Okay, so here's some perspective... we all make mistakes. People make mistakes. By God's sweet grace we are forgiven from those mistakes... and I am so thankful for that. I think that the doctor that delivered us is probably a fine doctor and 9 times out of 10 I bet she is pretty close to perfect... but to be that 1... it's tough! It's hard to see doctors as human, when it is our lives that they have at stake... I respect and admire the medical profession (all types) so very very much. I know that I would never want to take on that burden and honestly don't know why so many do? I don't want you all to think that I have gone through all of this without a sense of empathy or acknowledgement in the impossibility of expecting a doctor to be perfect. But with all do respect you'll have to understand the difficulty for me to find that empathy because I've experienced the imperfection first hand... to me this is a serious business. This is not retail sales, or numbers at the end of a quarter... these are people's lives, plain and simple... But truth be told, we are all entrusted with the lives of others... our children... and we too make mistakes... and will continue to... inexperience or not. The REAL truth when it comes to all of this is that we have to put our lives in the hands of the ultimate healer... the one who holds our plan in the palm of His hand. When all else is said and done, He is the only one we can truly trust... His plan is perfect!

At the end of the meeting my doctor said something that I think summed up my entire experience. He said, "Katie, you are absolutely right...you cannot trust anyone to be a better advocate for your child than you! You are their only advocate... don't forget that!" Amen!

I'm not going to be afraid to speak up... and I would encourage us all to do the same! We are our only advocates! And at the end of the day when our advocating hits a dead end... we have to look up, and ask God to intercede...He will! 

Done! Over... I have a healthy little boy, who is going for his two month check up and shots tomorrow! We'll keep you posted on our progress!

Thanks again to all of you for your support, thoughts and prayers throughout this journey! It's good to know we're loved! If there are ever ways in which we can support or pray for your family and friends, please let us know... we'd like to return the favor!

Much love!

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