Recourse after error during Gallbladder removal and aftercare
I am a 30 year old female. I am healthy, I have run half marathons, I eat well, I have no history of gallbladder disease or any health problems for that matter. About 3 weeks ago, I began having strong pains on the right side of my abdomen. They were made worse when I ate. After about a week of the pain getting progressively stronger I went to an Urgent Care. I was given pain killers and the diagnosis "Abdominal Pain" (shocker, I know). I was told that I was just constipated and would be fine.
The next day the pain became more focussed in one spot and I began to get very nauseated. by that afternoon it was strong enough that I want to the ER at a hospital that ranks in the top 5 in the nation. They admitted me to the hospital. Upon being wheeled into my room awaiting a following day of tests, the Doctor came in to do my intake evaluation. She kept asking me questions that seemed irrelevant. Questions about my home life, my relationship with my husband, whether or not I was "happy". After telling her that I was in pain and needed pain meds I was told "Maam, you probably just have IBS it can't hurt that bad, calm down. I would be happy to give you something for your depression/anxiety but not for your pain." Clearly, I was furious. Other than some mild anxiety in my teens I was not suffering from any mental illness. Unless you consider crying from intense pain and being frustrated that I was being offered Tylenol and not Percoset, mental illness.
After 3 days of testing, and being given advise like "you need to drink more water, you just don't eat healthy enough, you are just imagining the pain, your mind is over-amplifying the pain, etc" I was told there was nothing wrong with me, go home. After explaining that despite the fact that they thought I was "making it up" I knew my body and was sure there was something wrong. I asked for a second opinion and was told I needed a Gallbladder removal. I had the surgery that afternoon and was in very strong pain. I was released the following day, even though my pain was not under control.
On my second day out of the hospital I began to feel worse and run a slight fever. The following day I was in excruciating pain. I could not eat, walk, drink water or even speak for that matter. I went to the same ER where they gave me a shot and told me to go home, I was fine. Again, they told me that my mind was misinterpreting the pain signals and that the actual pain did not exist. I was told that my doctor had looked over my CT and said I was fine. The following day I was in even worse pain, pain like I have never felt nor want to again. It was so bad I called my doctor (at the hospital) and was told that if I came beck I would not by offered any treatment but I would be offered a PSYCH EXAM instead!
I was livid. I was in unbelievable pain and felt completely helpless. That afternoon the pain became so bad I could hardly breath. I went to another ER where I was admitted right away. I met with a third GI doctor whose first question was "Honey, are you sure there is nothing wrong at home? You don't seem to have anything wrong with you. " Again, I was livid. No one believed that I was actually in pain, not in my head but in my abdomen! I would not accept his answer and asked for him to run another test. As a last resort he re-ran a hyda-scan "just to make sure" I didn't have a bile leak. Sure enough, I did have a bile leak and had for 5 days!
I had an ERCP to fix the leak and felt better right away. I later found out that on both of the CT scans I had at my first hospital (the one that had offered me a psych consult) and at the second hospital, there was a visible pool of fluid next to the bile duct.
I am beyond angry that multiple doctors were dismissive, condescending and downright judgemental towards me.I guess I didn't fit a mold. I am not sure why everyone was so hell-bent on proving me a liar or making me feel as though I was making it up. Had I listened to their diagnosis and not gone to another hospital I could have, and would have, suffered irreparable harm. How could my so called "world class" doctors not have done simple testing for what seems to be a common complication? Was this malpractice, at least in aftercare, on their part? Also, was the leakage a freak complication or was it malpractice that it occurred in the first place? Please help! I want to make sure that no one is made to feel the way I was made to feel both physically and emotionally!
Understand your predicament. Bile leak is a complication of cholecystectomy. Studies suggest the incidence ranging from 0.6 to 2.2 percent. Though detected late, it has been effectively treated with ERCP and stent placement. The risk of complications post surgery should have been explained prior to surgery.
I too had my galbladder removed last year at "world class" hospital in St. Louis. I have been suffering ever since from severe pain under my right rib cage that wraps from my front to my back. I have been through 3 GI drs who all seem to think I am crazy. The first suggested the initial ERCP due to my hida-scan numbers last year, which lead to my gallblader being removed. She told me I needed a therapist, that there was no pain. The on that did the ERCP could find no cause and sent me to a "Top Doc" that took me 5 months to get into. He sent me for blood work (low Vit D and B12) and did an endoscopy then listed in my chart that I have high anxiety after I cried to him in his office that this pain is ruining my life!!! All of the anti-anxiety drugs don't work for pain, even the pain meds don't work. Nothing stops it. I can go for a few hours and be okay, then it starts all over again, a deep cramp/stabing in my side that won't go away. Every doctor I encounter I ask what they think it could be, and I get a different answer from everyone-not in their specialty each one says it must be GI related so they can't help me. I just want the pain to go away.
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