What's the coldest thing a doctor has ever said to you?
Michael Mangold, M.D. Medicine and Healthcare & Psychiatric Treatment, Rosalind Franklin University of Health Sciences (1990)
My then-wife Angie and I went to the OB clinic at United Hospital System hospital in Kenosha because we received a call from Radiology that Monday morning that the doc needed to talk to us about the first prenatal ultrasound results obtained the previous Friday. Getting that call was distressing enough, but nothing compared to how we were treated by the OB/Gyn.
This was the doctor whom I refer to as having “the worst bedside manner in medicine.” He backed us into a far corner of the room and stood near the door, probably hoping to make a fast getaway in case things turned ugly. “The ultrasound results show your baby is going to die,” he exclaimed. “Just go home, conjugate the data, and come back when he stops moving.” No sympathy, no compassion, just rudeness and bad English.
I'm not normally a dramatic person, but his words were toxic, poisoning our souls and destroying our dreams. The count was 9, but we somehow struggled to our feet, and fought back.
Thanks to God's miracle and the best doctors and nurses available at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, our son Jon is a living testimony to love. He was born dead, but resuscitated. He had open-heart surgery at two days old, belly surgery at five days, and a second cardiac surgery at 10 months. He has Down Syndrome, which is not an unhappy issue at all.
Quora has an issue with self-promotion, but Angela did write a good book about it all called “A White Rose for Jonathon.” Search her name on amazon for more.
NB: The following is an excerpt from her book as it relates to encounter with the Dr. From Hell:
We entered the office waiting room and registered with the receptionist. As soon as she saw our name, she got the nurse. We were ushered back immediately. The nurse put us in a room and stood in the corner, The secondary obstetrician walked in with our chart in his hand. He was a thin, short man. He stood as far away from us as he possibly could, his back against the wall, the chart closed in his hand. The entire world stood still for this moment in time. I could feel my heart racing. My only comfort in all of this was my God and my Mike. I could feel Mike standing tall and strong, nestled closely against my back. He was trying to protect me already from what he knew would be unbearable news.
The doctor began, "Everybody wants to be happy. Everybody wants a live baby. Well, that is not the news I have for you. You are going to have a dead baby. Your baby will not make it. Everybody always want everything to be okay but that's not for you. This raises many questions. Sometimes the more questions ask, the more questions you get. Sometimes there are no answers…” On and on he droned. I wanted to see what was in the chart. He had yet to give us any reasons why this was all happening. It was all vague generalities. We sat very still and completely silent.
There came a point when I could no longer bear to hear him go on and on without really telling us anything. I leaned and forward and grabbed the chart out of his hands. Mike leaned over my shoulder to read with me. At the bottom of the page it read:
Two-chambered heart. Unable to visualize remaining chambers.
Malformed abdomen of unknown origin.
Nuchal translucency well beyond normal limits.
I didn't understand what "nuchal translucency" meant. Up until this time both Mike and I had not said a word. We were just trying to take it all in.
I looked at Mike and asked, “What is nuchal…?” I didn’t get to finish my sentence. The doctor said, “This is highly significant of a chromosomal abnormality."
"Oh, my God." It came out softly and was all I could say. My mind was flooded with the possibilities of what this could mean. I knew that some chromosomal abnormalities were fatal and some were not. My mind was overcome -- would my baby be disfigured or permanently disabled, would he suffer endless surgeries, would he even live?
The obstetrician moved from the wall and knelt in front of me. Thank God, finally this cold man was going to show some kindness. He put his fingers just inches from my nose.
“Don’t give me that ‘Oh my God’ business. This is nothing but data. Now you go home and conjugate it. That’s what you do with data.”
“A White Rose for Jonathon” by Angela Mangold https://amzn.to/2OnQyp9
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