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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Jane K

Anger anyone?

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Hi All,

Humor is the best medicine but it doesn't always work. I'm curious how folks combat their deeper emotional feeling about how they became an amputee.

I pursued legal action against my original Doc who fouled up an elective arthroscopic knee surgery back in 2004. The suit went through the 1st part of the NH's malpractice process but ultimately was withdrawn after my lawyer spent $35k and the odds looked uncertain what the outcome might be should the case go to a jury trail. The details are long and rambling but there was one part of the panel that really stuck with me. During testimony my Doc was asked would he, "knowing what he knew now, do anything differently in my treatment?". He hesitated but then said that "no, he wouldn't do anything differently". Those words have stuck with me more than anything else. How could anyone not say time and experience helps our knowledge? To keep learning!

I ended up coming face to face with this doc in Dec 2011 (the suit ended in 2007). My Mom landed in the same hospital were he practiced and it was on one evening we came face to face. After refreshing his memory who I was I asked him for a few minutes to talk. I told him how his words (above) so upset me. How what happened to me didn't at least help him didn't understand more and maybe help another person not undergo the hell I had been through. He then said he meant what he said and that, no, he hadn't been told to say it by his lawyer. But then in the next breath he said "of course we have to keep learning". "Time teaches us, improves us". Completely floored by this absolute contradiction I was just about speechless. Just before the conversation ended he asked how I was doing. I told him that I had had seven surgeries to date on my leg and then I lifted up my pant leg and pointed. Boy did his face drop. Hopefully he won't soon forget what he saw.

I was lucky because I got to at least choose when I had the amp done. Not if but when. And I was able to have it done without more trauma / infection. So many folks on this site haven't had that choice. Besides humor - when possible - what other means to cope do you use?

I apologize for my lengthy tale. If you haven't fallen asleep yet your input would be appreciated.

Postings seem to be quiet but maybe this topic might interest some folks. In the meantime keep smiling and keep trekking. It sure beats doing nothing!

Jane

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Jane, I'm certain that you're far from alone when it comes to going through angry times. Even though I had major input into whether or not to amputate, when to amputate, how to address rehabilitation issues, etc... I have times when my anger flares over just how very long it took to get to the point where we all could talk about the possibility of amputation. And even though I've had an extremely good experience--both physically and personally--post-amp, there are still times when I wish all of that "good experience" could have come without so many surgeries and so much pain. And, obviously, if I could have had all those good, growth-filled experiences without losing my leg, I would be ever-so-much happier! So yeah, I think everyone goes through anger.................sigh..................

I can understand your anger and frustration at hearing your former doc's comment that he'd "do the same thing" if he encountered your case again. And hearing him confirm that opinion years later would be especially galling. I'd hazard a guess, though, that, in reality, he "learned" plenty through your case and even though he might have still decided to do what he did again, I bet he'd think about what to do a whole lot more.

But, of course, he's not likely to tell you that. I'm sure his lawyer didn't have to tell him to say what he did in his testimony either...he may even be convinced that he did the "best possible" for you. If he had to admit that his treatment was not only inadequate but actually harmful, not only would it be devastating financially, it could have been personally and emotionally devastating as well. Not excusing him...just saying that he's human and humans are good at protecting themselves from consequences.

At least I think you can take some degree of...comfort?...satisfaction?...revenge?...in seeing his response to your action in revealing your leg. The kind of doctor who would "do the same thing in that situation" is likely to see "seven more surgeries and an amputation" as an abject failure of modern medicine...including his treatment. The fact that you're doing OK post-amp probably won't even register with him..........

If he wasn't thinking before then, I'm sure he's thinking NOW. Unless you happen to become aware of someone else who seems to be in the same situation you went through with this doc, try to store him away in some dark, forgotten corner of your brain and just keep on keeping on............ :wink:

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Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for the input. Finding some deep dark corner to stuff him into is good advise. Figuratively - not literally that is. It is my hope that he learned so another patient of his doesn't go through a similar mess.

I haven't done it yet but I've really thought about getting a tee shire with an "add" for his care. Something like "1st surgery done by Dr..... referrals given. Very tempting to do and it shouldn't get me sued because it is the truth. Even without the shirt folks that have asked who treated me get his name. I do say to folks the point that where ever they get care if they feel in their gut that not enough is being done medically go get another opinion. Two heads better than one.......

Thanks,

Jane

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I also have anger over my amputation....several years after amp. was done, my husband had a slight stroke & the Dr. on duty was called. I was very surprised when it turned out to be the Dr. that had mis-diagnoised me & weeks later I had to have my leg amputated. I did not sue him, but I did order he send me my complete files.

I then informed the hospital he was {NOT} in any way, shape or form touch my husband.....end of conversation.

YES, there are doctors who will not change their ways....they continue to spread their medicine in a bad way., then again there are more that are very deducated. Every anniversary I get on my knees and ask GOD to please help me forgive him., it IS getting better in my mind.

Thanks ladies for bringing this up in our forum. :happy:

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Hi Ann,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I've put on file with this hospital "a stabilize only and ship to Dartmouth" order for myself and my boys. This gives me peace of mind in the event a accident lands any of us on their doorstep.

I do respect the time and dedication most of our medical professional give to their work. I've been very lucky to now be connected with some great docs. My local doc isn't afraid to say "I am not sure - let's get another opinion". My Dartmouth docs have done this too. No one is perfect and knows everything. Getting professionals to feel this way, and admit it, is crucial.

Jane

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I guess I could be angry with the elderly woman who didn't pay attention and hit the motorcycle my husband and I were riding. Left us laying on the ground and would have left the scene if her car hadn't been too damaged to run. Thankfully help came soon and I didn't bleed out from all my injuries. I was angry for awhile - mainly that while my husband and I now have to face the rest of our lives with amputations she received a traffic ticket for $186.00. Fortunately she did have a good insurance policy and hers and ours both paid out fully and promptly but we would give it all back for our legs. Anyway, anger is pointless and takes away from what I have and what I have is a lot. So I have forgiven her and just pray that she no longer drives.

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i was let down by the nhs here, all i had was a broken leg, which, after the surgeon had finished with, ended up having to be amputated. i took them to court, took 11 years to get there, & the courts ruled in their favour, on the grounds that , they didn't know any better in 1985!! its a difficult thing to do, to sue the nhs here, they seem to be a law unto themselves. now i have accepted that i am an amputee, may as well get on with it, no good being bitter anymore

cheers maggie

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Good cheers to all. The glass if half full and will go on to be while are all here to enjoy another sunrise.

Thanks all! Jane

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