Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Titaniumsusan on Nov 9, 2014 12:20 am

I had surgery for scoliosis in March 2013 with a T3 to Sacrum fixation and repair of multiple degenerated discs.  In July 2014, I started to have some difficulty walking.  I scheduled an appointment with my PCP on August 7th, she sent me to the ED for admission.  I walked in the ED with a walking stick and was incontinent during the 8 hour wait in the ED.  Finally seen in ED, admitted to the hospital and 3 days later could not move legs.  Diagnosis was "psychogenic" or "functional" or "leg weakness with fibromyalgia" and sent to Skilled Nursing Facility.  I faxed a copy of the CT to my spine surgeon in another state.  She was on vacation, but when she returned, she called me and told me that my hardware was bent into my spinal cord (proximal junctional failure) and that I needed emergency surgery.  She called the university hospital (same one that thought that my leg weakness problem was in my head), talked with the spine surgeon and I was on my way to emergency surgery. 
    There was a 2 week time delay from my initial visit to the ED to my surgery to decompress my Spinal Cord.  Problem: I am angry with the doctors that missed the diagnosis and are responsible for my current situation of Being wheelchair bound with limited walking with a walker.  Can't stop ruminating about this.  Initiated a "concern" to the Patient Advocate at the hospital....bottom line, the University says that the 2 week delay in surgery did not make any difference in my outcome.  How do people get over their anger and move on?

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Nov 12, 2014 3:58 pm

What a horrible story! Unfortunately we hear stories like that too often. Of course you are angry. A colleague once described anger as a judicial emotion-a reaction to injustice. Anyone who has been injured or faced any kind of traumatic loss feels anger.
But for you to experience this at the hands of someone else even makes me angry.
But you are absolutely correct that the problem is your anger is much as anything else. What do you do with this emotion that is a normal and healthy reaction to trauma?

Many people file a lawsuit against their doctors and hospitals. And they do it for a variety of reasons. When I sued the well-known tire and rubber Company that caused my accident, I sued them because I was angry and I wanted to hurt them-at least have someone get fired. Of course, that never happened.

A friend of mine sued her hospital because she wanted to make sure no one else would go through what she went through and she felt better about that.

But there are other ways of dealing with anger, but timing is everything. This has only been going on for a couple of months and your loss has been devastating. And we know that the wounds to the skin, if they are kept healthy heal at a rate of 1 mm a day. Your life has been wounded, imagine what 1 mm a day means for you.

We do know this that with few exceptions our mood and sense of well-being eventually returns to baseline. So if you were relatively happy before all of this most likely you will be there again. Until then, please don't force yourself to feel what you don't feel. And please don't judge yourself harshly for feeling emotions that you don't want to feel.

But please do this: treat yourself with kindness and compassion, not self-pity or self-indulgence, just kindness-even love for this good person who has been injured and now suffers. Please be kind to that person as you would be to me or anyone else. And have faith that your heart and soul will heal. They always have in the past and they always will in the future. The process will be painful and slower than you want, but heal you will. And when you do, you will heal with scar tissue which is not as pretty as healthy tissue, but much tougher.

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Andres12 on Feb 7, 2015 12:20 am

Hello dear, I never knew about this problem until I came to know about celebrities with scoliosis and I always thought it is just a normal problem but I am seriously feeling sorry for you after knowing about what happened to you.

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Feb 11, 2015 3:44 pm

I would love to hear how you are doing these days. Especially how you are feeling about yourself and this life.. Keeping in mind that there really is no such thing as "aacceptance". There is always scar tissue on your  emotional  heart.  And that's what gives you depth and wisdom. But like I said in my other post, timing is everything. And now is the time to be angry.

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Friday on Feb 26, 2015 2:39 pm

Titaniumsusan.. you'd asked how do people get over their anger and move on? For me, it not only took time, and me finding ways to feel empowered, but.... and this might sound ridiculous: I prayed for the well being of the Dr who messed up my surgeries. I just asked the universe to let his family (and him) know peace, and asked for well being for myself.. to be freed from anger. It seems ridiculous and counterintuitive, (especially for someone who doesn't even pray!) but I had heard that praying for my 'enemies' could help free me from anger. It was also the passing of time that helped also. And having a good support team and finding Drs who I can trust and believe in. Your question reminds of a dilemma I face.. how to vent the natural frustrations that I used to get out by walking 6 miles on a whim or by lifting weights. Physical exertion gets the good brain chemicals flowing. It's an important part of feeling alive... so I try to get some form of increased heart rate and core strengthening when my body allows for it. Talking and crying it out and doing some grieving turned out to be important too. Life is a strange adventure. I hope the Pacific NW winter weather wetness is treating you alright.. Spring is around the corner... when hopefully we hurt less as the weather 'improves'. Be well Titaniumsusan. ;)

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Pedro59 on Oct 1, 2015 3:21 am

Oh, that is really bad. I am also very disappointed with those doctors. I also need to have the treatment for scoliosis but I would like to go for the natural treatments like acupuncture. Very soon I will visit the acupuncture lorne park for the consultation regarding my treatment.

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Oct 14, 2015 9:36 am

Friday is absolutely correct about 1 Very Real Way we can get past anger. So here is how it works:

when we are injured unjustly, anger is a natural reaction. We want to lash out and sometimes hurt the one who caused this pain. But when you said the anger itself is the problem, you are right about that. Anger by its self is really poisonous to our body/mind if it is held onto long term. In addition, our anger keeps us powerfully attached to the one who hurt us. As long as we are angry, we are and relationship with that person.
Making matters worse, our anger actually puts us in a powerless position so that we still feel like a victim.

By praying for the person that hurt us, we take back power. It is counterintuitive just like Friday said, but if you feel it in your gut, it's a very different sensation. Anger clenches the viscera, wishing well for someone does the opposite and opens us up as we experience genuine kindness as opposed to rage.

for those who don't pray or don't believe in a higher power, simply wishing peace for ourselves and those who hurt us does the same thing.

Thank you for bringing this up Friday. I wish you the best.

Daniel Gottlieb PhD

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Theycallmenemo on Jul 30, 2016 7:31 pm

I've made a couple of interesting observations since my right leg was paralyzed last year during a routine microdiscectomy for a badly ruptured disc. What was supposed to b a simple day procedure turned into something surreal... With mistake after mistake.... Looking back I would get angry thinking about how many bad decisions or lack of decisions in a short 24-72 hrs impacted my mobility for life. While I was out if it and unable to help myself... Someone who was supposed to b caring for me in the most important way, neglected to take steps that would have prevented or at least minimized the level of trauma my body suffered. It's enough to drive a person mad. 

I was too busy trying to figure out how to survive and handle basic daily things in the beginning to process what had happened, the errors that were made, that time was of the essence. Why didn't my dr do these things for me?? I'll never understand. 

So while at times I have to process and grieve that unfortunate chain of events... I mostly just got on w living and figuring out how to do things with this damaged body. I didn't have much mental or physical or emotional energy for anything else. 

But ive been quite saddened by how much the way my paralysis happened has impacted some of my friends and family. Naturally they feel anger too at the dr. Many of them more so than me. And the same is true for my other Drs who knew me before and who treat me now. I know they feel that way in part because they care for me. That does make me feel very loved and protected. 

I guess the most humbling experience I've had was about a year after the surgery, my surgeon opened up to me about how sorry he was that this happened and how he's thought about me everyday. He expressed genuine respect for how I've handled things. He was quite emotional. IN the preceding months I'd often thought about what he must b feeling. Now I knew. We had compassion for each other. I tried to assure him that I wanted him to b free of guilt and that I felt no ill will toward him... Honestly no one knows for sure exactly what happened or who is responsible and we likely never will and ultimately it doesn't matter. I don't want his life to b ruined. In those moments where he opened up to me I felt so fortunate to be privy to his innermost thoughts and feelings. He shared a bit of his soul with me and that is a very special thing. It was a gift. It brought some healing to my soul. It changed me. 

I'm human and I know that at times anger will resurface and I'll let myself feel it. But then I'll practice gratitude. And I'll practice forgiveness. And I'll remember how very human we all are. and I'll remember that compassion is more powerful and healing and life-giving than anger.

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Smurf on Aug 1, 2016 11:34 pm

Being misdiagnosed is getting more common as insurance providers play Dr. A Dr. I had missed my issues and after 2 1/2 years later his nurse called and told my that I had an appointment with a orthopedic surgeon and in the same sentence said he was retiring that Friday. I had no Primary Care Doctor as my insurance company requires and the surgeon did rotater cull on one shoulder and said nothing he could do but trim tendons and the petroid mussel was completely gone as it was torn and withdrawn so much that it just wasn't there. All because of misdiagnosed symtoms. So I am very upset, there's not a thing I can do and  after my inital injury I had a cervical discetemy in the 3-4 cervical with fusion and could walk and got out of my chair for a little while, then I fell again because of the shoulder injuries that ruined all the fine work that the surgeons had done putting me back in square one. I think I have a right to be mad but I play the cards life deals me or give up and I am not a quiter

Re: Angry with doctors who misdiagnosed my problem

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Aug 10, 2016 2:57 pm

Hi Smurf,

Thanks for telling your story. Yours is awful, and I agree they are are many many awful stories in medicine today. And people get hurt and doctors get sued and everybody is miserable. Of course you're angry, you have experienced a tremendous injustice. And anger is a normal-even healthy response to injustice.

Even when we see it on TV, we get upset. So the reason anger is a healthy response to injustice is because with anger comes energy. And with that energy, we can pursue justice-either for ourselves or the larger world. The problem is that when anger is not turned around, it festers inside of us like a poison. And the more it festers, the more helpless and victimized we feel.

I'll bet almost all of us know about that, I certainly do.

So be angry, pursue justice. And when you cannot, see what you can do to help all of the people behind you get better, more compassionate and humane medical care.

I know, I know it's a big job. But we all do what we can and when we do, the anger turns to passion-and compassion


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