Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letter #20

Dear Future Physician,
I congratulate you on your choice of career, it is a difficult path for you and your family. As the mother of a child who suffered a serious injury, spent five weeks in two hospitals, and who is still under a physician's care two and a half years later, I know there are things that would have made the experience easier.

Since my daughter's injury was an accident we were thrown into the hospital world unexpectedly. In fact my husband wore his swimsuit for three days straight. We were frightened and confused. The fact that this occurred while we were on vacation out of state made it even more difficult.

1. Please do not repeat painful tests if the answers aren't worth the pain and don't contribute to better care.

2. Please do not use words like amputation around a child unless you speak to her parents first.

3. Please do not make jokes about the circumstances of the accident.

4. Please don't question why she is in ICU when she is on a ventilator, it shows that you aren't even looking at my daughter.

5. If we want to fly our daughter home and it can be safely accomplished, please try to help us.

5. Don't be afraid to tell us you don't have all the answers, otherwise we might feel like you are misleading us.

6. Please don't be offended if we ask who is the best in the field of care required.

7. I know you have a lot of patients, but if possible please look at the record and call me Mrs. Gxxxxx and not "mom."

Do keep us informed.
Be polite.
Show concern if you are concerned.

Thank you and best wishes!
Jackie G
8/1/2005 14 year old daughter was pulled by a ski rope wrapped around her leg. Cut two arteries, resulted in 8 debridements, muscle transfer and skin graft, and second skin graft a year later.


heartshapedhedges said...

This letter points out that some things are purely subjective.

A couple of our oncs refer to me as "mom", instead of my name, and I dont mind it at all. I know they know my name. The ones that do call me by name call me by my first name, to call me, "Mrs. ...." would seem way to formal and cold.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt you spent countless hours with your daughter during and after the surgeries, but you seem to be questioning the doctor's judgment instead of giving good advice for future doctors.

Jackietex said...

To Anonymous--our daughter has received outstanding care over the last two and a half years and I don't question the doctors ability or judgement--most of the time. When our daughter arrived at the second hospital, over seven hours after her accident, every doctor wanted to check her foot for blood supply. We never disagreed until they were about to take her into surgery. What was the point of poking her foot when it was too painful to even cover it with a sheet? The surgeon agreed with us and left her alone.

When my daughter suffered a rare and sometimes fatal reaction to blood transfusion and ended up on a ventilator, the doctor knew that I was sitting there with a computer researching the subject and he asked me what it said. I didn't mind, I respected that he would allow himself to appear vulnerable.

I question the judgement of a resident who felt the need to repeatedly remind us that amputation was a real posibility--in front of our daughter.

The last thing one of my daughter's plastic surgeons did before we flew from Michigan to Texas was give me brochures on prosthetic legs. Ariel's next big surgery was going to be a huge contributing factor in whether she kept her leg or not. It was not an everyday surgery and we wanted to hear if the doctor felt that he was capable of salvaging her leg or not. We have supported him in every way we could.