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Colonoscopy Horror Story
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Colonoscopy Horror Story

6 years ago I had a routine colonoscopy and it was the most upsetting medical procedure of my life.  Even though it was done in a hospital under Demerol and Versed, I had excruciating pain, was thrashing about, totally awake, and in such agony that I was begging and screaming at the doctor to stop.  Instead, he had me restrained in a Tyvek restraint jacket on the surgical table and I was held down while he proceded with the colonoscopy.  It was traumatic beyond belief.  Afterwards, he admitted to nothing and would only say  my colonoscopy was "totally routine."  I had violent flashbacks for weeks afterwards, and even had to get a bite plate due to damage I did to my jaw biting in agony from pain during the procedure.  Though I tried, I got nohwere when I tried to go against him legally.  I determined I would never have a colonoscopy again.  I was severely traumatized by my doctor's actions during the procedure, and even more afterwards, when he denied what I said had happened  (even though I had physical evidence).  I was told that under these drugs "people imagine things."  That re-traumatized me even more.  

Now it turns out I have some rectal bleeding from hemorrhoids.  Because of the bleeding, my primary care physician wants me to have another colonoscopy (the one 6 years ago showed no polpys or anything, though the previous doctor did admit my colon had many turns and was longer than the endoscope tube he used).  Even after some sessions with a therapist, I still cannot submit to a colonoscopy again.  Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences that will help?  I just can't do it.
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First, don't go back to that same doctor!  Ultimately, it's your own decision.  Doesn't make it any easier, I know.  Find a new doc and tell him your fears and exactly why you're so worried.  I had a similar first experience and swore up and down I'd NEVER go through that again.  Turns out I've had umpteen gazillion scopes at the hands of a wonderful doc who has not hurt me once.  

It would be an unusual request, but I'm wondering if you could request that a family member be present to witness the procedure - even if just through a doorway.  Would that give you enough confidence to try it knowing that someone else could put a stop to it if things go south again?  Maybe talk to the Patient Advocate's office of the facility and see if one of them could stand in as witness and protector if need be?  I dunno, just throwing some ideas out there.  Maybe someone else will come up with something better.
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OMG! You poor thing! I couldn't believe that any doctor could be so cruel. How horrible. I hope you really do go after this dirtbag so that he doesn't hurt anyone else.
I want to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way at all! I had to get a colonoscopy too about three years ago. I almost cancelled a few times and even called the doctor. He told me he understood my anxiety and explained what all would happen to try and put my mind at ease. I was actually more worried about the modesty part than pain. He was very sensitive to that. The day of the colonoscopy, they started me on the pain meds, then took me back to the room. They piled blankets on me till I felt like I was in a cacoon and put a pillow under my head and kept asking if I was ok. They dimmed the light till it was almost dark, which made me feel better about the modesty part! Their was a nurse at my head controlling how much meds I would need while the doctor was behind me doing the procedure. I asked them upfront to only give me enough meds to take the edge off because I was interested in watching the screen and I wanted to stay awake. They told me that they would do that but as soon as I needed more to let them know and they'd give it to me immediately. It started out fine, then I started feeling the pressure and then pain and I immediately said to stop! He stopped right away and motioned to the nurse to increase the meds. She asked if I wanted it increased and I said yes! The next thing I knew I was waking up and they were done and moving me. My doctor was very intuned to my needs and was very gentle and caring. They should ALL be like that! Please keep looking until you find someone you are comfortable with. Talk to them before the procedure and tell them about your past experiences. They should be sympathetic and reassure you. If they don't, keep looking. It really does not have to be like that! I can't believe anyone could be that barbaric! Maybe this doctor needs to be strapped down and shown how it feels, what he did! I really do hope you take this barbarian to court or at least report him. Please, please rest assured, it is not supposed to be like that! You deserve better. I wish you the best and I pray that you can heal from this trauma you've experienced. God bless.
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Thanks so much for your reply.  I was so glad to hear that you had subsequent colonoscopies that were not a problem.  Good suggestion about the advocate and I had been thinking of hiring an advocate to be in the colonoscopy with me but I'd want to hire someone not from the hospital, someone outside I could trust.  I'm afraid the same thing would happen again (I might have a difficult colon) and the doctor would convince the advocate to let him continue scoping me.  It is odd, but I felt as if I had been violated, almost sexually, by his continuing the agonizing procedure when I told him to stop.  He acted as if I weren't there talking to him, and was just a piece of meat on the table.  What if the new doctor convinced the advocate I was out of it and not feeling whatever I was saying I felt?  So many medical people afterwards alluded to "how the imagination plays tricks" and how the drugs make us think things.  No, it happened and happens to a small percentage of patients.  It's just that certain doctors procede with the colonoscopy and finish it.  Apparently it is permissible to put a patient in restraints if they are thrashing during a colonoscopy procedure with an endoscope in the colon because it prevents possible bowel perforation.  So it could happen again.  I just can't go through with it.
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Jaybay's advice of having someone with you is a great idea.  Or you can simply forget about having another colonoscopy.  There are plenty of other ways of seeing if someone has a problem in their bowel, like cat scans and ultrasound, which are noninasive.  Or you can use various over-the-counter hemmorhoid salves to treat those rough places and change your diet for easier bowel movements, and if the bleeding stops, you can perhaps let this thing go.  Someone else posted here about a nightmare procedure like yours, it's under something like "ethics."
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Thanks so much for your post.  You caught the emotions of what I went through.  I'm surprised that even 6 years later I still feel so bad that I can't schedule a colonoscopy and am having traumatic memories.  My own doctor said that if I had no symptoms, 10 years was enough before my next colonoscopy and they might have virtual colonoscopy by then.  Well, unfortunately I had some symptoms and virtual colonoscopy isn't here yet. Funny, I fantasized the exact same thing that you did --that the doctor should be strapped down and have it done to him.  I reported him to the head of the small HMO I'm in.  Met with the director face-to-face.  Oddly, they seemed to acknowledge, at least indirectly and by hints, that things like this happen to some unfortunate patients, but no one would say it in writing or exact words--doctors cover for each other.  Even my dentist, who had seen me the week before the colonoscopy and then 2 days later when my bite was completely destroyed and I couldn't chew (from biting in agony during the procedure)--wouldn't say that my bite was damaged in the colonoscopy.  He just said "We don't know what goes on in these procedures and the doctors do what they have to do."  Yes, barbaric.  That's the perfect word.  Thank heavens I have my loving family and friends who didn't doubt me for a second.  They knew what I had been through and supported me through my weeks of recovery from the trauma.  Day by day I got better, but I am not better enough to go through another colonoscopy.  I can't even imagine having one with another doctor or another hospital.  I just can't have one.
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Thanks.  I hadn't thought of the possibility of addressing the problem without a colonoscopy and your post has some great ideas.  I saw the post you referred to about the woman here who had the same experience as I did (misskitty, I think).  It was so validating to hear that it happened to her almost the same exact way it happened to me.  Her post was incredibly helpful to me.  I never thought to get on the web when I had my bad experience in 2001.  Shows how much the web has changed our lives in 6 years.  Now it would be the first place I went to find out how to deal with it.  I might have even taken my legal action further.  It was more an ethics violation, which are harder to prove than malpractice, since it was apparently correct surgical procedure to restrain me when I was thrashing around in agony.  But I just can't have another colonoscopy.  My sister had a non-cancerous polyp removed in her colonoscopy and wants me to have one because she is such a supporter of them, but I can't.
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my first colonsocopy was a nightmare as well.. the doctor was VERY rough.. and i could not have any meds due to allergic reactions.. i was not ready for the pain .. at all. i started to move a litte. and he yelled at me..
" If you keep moving you are going to kill yourself.. your going to perforate your bowel.. etc etc.. ) he was bitching at me.. saying really nasty things... was so rude...

i just lie there... in a state of shock.. in ttremendous pain... crying.. and even being yelled at for crying..

afterwards.. he acted like nothing was wrong.
about 2 months later.. i had to have another one.


this time.. i felt more in charge.. i even changed hospitals..

i took Xanax before the procedure..

there were many comforting nurses there.. the doc was VERY nice. sometimes she was stern.. about me moving around. but. all in all. she was really nice.... although i was in alot of pain.. and my vagal nerve was hit alot.. ( my heart rate was upward over 200 BPM.. and i could feel my heart pounding out of my chest.. i got through it...

you can do it.. change everything.. discuss other possibilities for medication. there are other things that you can take..
I wish you the best..
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Mozartcowgirl.  I admire your courage in being able to go through another colonoscopy only 2 months later.  I think your idea of my discussing other possibilities for medication is fantastic, and I hadn't thought of that.  Your post comforted me in that it also reminded me I am not the only one who has had a horrifying colonoscopy experience.  I also remembered what I came to know when I attempted a case against the gastroenterologist--that the major reason I was restrained during the procedure was simply to protect me from having a perforated bowel. I noticed in my records that my heart rate was quite elevated during the procedure and I didn't realize why until I read your explanation).  I hope people here realize that no matter what anyone says to the contrary about their personal experience, colonoscopies can be excruciatingly painful and extremely difficult to endure.  Part of the problem for me was that people told me a colonoscopy was "nothing" and that they "slept through it" and that they "medicate you so you don't feel anything."  That is not true in all cases, certainly not in mine, and part of the reason I would never have one again.  I don't trust anything gastroenterologists say once they lied to me.  In my HMO we only have one gastroenterology practice with a couple of doctors, but I don't trust that practice or that hospital.  If the board doesn't approve my going out of plan, I won't even see a gastroenterologist for an office visit because I won't go back to that practice.  I could not face the possibility of seeing the doctor who did it to me.
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I had a colonoscopy on January 8, 2007 and a CT scan immediately afterwards.  I got home and starting hurting extremely bad and began vomiting.  I thought it was gas at first.  I felt worse and worse through out the night.  Called ambulance next morning. I was in the worst pain of my life and knew it was worse than gas.  My colon had been perforated during the colonoscopy.  The surgeon had to remove part of my colon.  Also removed my appendix and gall bladder due to the peritinitis that was in my abdominal cavity.  2 weeks later, an internal stitch popped and caused a hernia and had to have another emergency surgery.  After that, I got an intestinal infection and was in the hospital for a month.  I spent from January to May in and out of the hospital.  I am okay now but I have a narrowing in my colon where it was reattached. It causes pain sometimes when I eat. I had to quit my dental assisting job and it scared the **** out of my sons and my husband.  I turned 37 in June and I'm grateful to be alive.  I have had a lot of colonoscopies because I have Ulcerative Colitis so I thought nothing of the risks they tell you are possible.  Now, I don't ever want another one done.
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Oh, IndianIrishJosie, what a nightmare!  Your story certainly puts mine in perspective.  You poor kid!  Thank you so much for posting.  I hope no one ever has to go through what you did. You must have been in agony during those months in the hospital, and you have been through so much afterwards.  My heart goes out to you.  I was afraid to have another colonoscopy for much less reasons.  My experience was nothing compared to yours.  You have the real "horror story."  Hope things go better.
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There was something I didn't understand. I thought they sedate you along with the pain medication? They gave me a little bit at first to make me relaxed and sleepy and then when they increased it I must have fallen asleep because I didn't remember any more after that.
My mom and dad had one too before I had mine and said it was no big deal. I'm actually glad I didn't hear your stories before I had mine or I might not have gone through with it! :)
I'm so sorry you guys had such a rough time. I guess I'll have to make sure I get the same doctor again if I ever get it done again because he was real nice. God bless you all.
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Colonoscopies vary from person to person, and from doctor to doctor.  I'm glad yours were "no big deal."  However, the word has not gotten out that colonoscopies can be very difficult to endure in some cases and that silence does a major disservice to the patients who do have a difficult time with them.  I want to warn patients to be aware of what can happen in a "routine colonoscopy" so they can make their decisions accordingly and be prepared.  As my primary care physician told me, "there's a reason they are done under drugs like Versed and Demerol."
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I had a routine colonoscopy on april 23rd.  I thought everything was fine and went to work for 2
days.  felt a little bloated but didn"t think twice until the mrning of the 26th when I had terrible
stomch pains and could barely walk. Went to the emergency room and yes it was a perforated
colon.  I was in the hospital for 12 days (5 in intensive care ).  I had to have breathing treatments
and be on oxygen for 6 weeks at home as they gave me so much fluid during the surgery that it
settled in my lungs.  Was told its hard to sue these doctors as its one of the risks they tell you about.  Its a 1-2 in 1000 risk but I should have asked my dr. ehat his record was personally.  I
now have to have my colon resected as I had to wear a bag for the past 10 weeks.I sympathize with
you and think drs. need to take more time when they do one.

                 angry in cuse
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You can get the "Barium Enema" instead.  I do. I refuse a colonoscopy.  It can detect the same things a colonoscopy can.  The only difference is with the colonoscopy if they see a polyp they can remove it right there and then for a biopsy.  They cannot with the Barium Enema.  You've to come back to get the polyp removed.

As for your bleeding hemmorhoids they do "sigmoidoscopies" which is a viewing of the lower colon.  No anesthesia, no horror stories, no pain, just a little pressure that is all.
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CT's aren't the end all when it comes to identifying abnormalities.  CT's do not work as well on hollow organs, like the colon.  We have had patients who had CT's prior to getting scoped and their CT's were clear...however, we found significantly sized tumors.  Thus, having a CT alone should not be an option.
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How about a virtual colonoscopy with the camera pill?  I don't know how widely available it is in the country now.  Even here in Houston only one doc had the equipment and it's pretty expensive, but maybe worth it for those with such horrific experiences?  As already pointed out, the one benefit of colonoscopy is that when problems like polyps are are found, they can be dealt with right there and then.  Also, biopsies of any suspicious tissue can be taken with colonoscopy.  It's such a tough call.

I have such trust in my gastro doc and he'll probably be retiring in a very few more years.  Yikes!  After all these years I can't imagine having anyone else do one on me.  In my case, I have a pathological fear of having another Air Contrast Barium Enema.  No sedation for that baby, and because of my adhesions, it hurt like H***!   They strap you to a table right from the start because they have to tilt you around to spread the barium around and get different views for the pics.  Frankly, I think the radiologist got a bit too enthusiastic when he got going on the air pump.    "WOW!  Did anyone every tell you that you have a REALLY redundant colon?!!"  Uh, yeah... you wanna stop on the air pump already?!
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Thanks for some alternative suggestions for colon screenings for someone like me who was permanently traumatized by an unethical behavior of a gastroenterologist.  My colonoscopy, and my doctor's ignoring me and restraining me when I was screaming for him to stop, was something I could not bear to undergo again.  For me personally, my colonoscopy was dangerously and horrifyingly abusive.  I hope other people are warned that colonoscopies can be horrendous.
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Thanks for the info that having a CT alone should not be an option, but there are patients who will not undergo a colonoscopy.  What are the alternatvies?
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You tell your story of the Air Contrast Barium enema so well. And being strapped to the table for it?  Why don't they tell people what these procedures are really like?  I personally wonder if some doctors don't also secretly have a hint of a slight sadistic tendency.  My gastroenterologist makes each patient go through three separate preps in the 24 hours before the colonoscopy, and even the nurses on the surgucial unit questioned it.  They kept saying "three? why did you need three preparations?"  My doctor told them "because patients don't follow directions, so I have my patients do three different preps."  It struck me as sadistic.  I should have walked out then and there and not let that man touch me.  Be warned -- colonoscopies are not easy.  But even going through the 3 preps was nothing compared to the procedure, the worst of my life.  Colonoscopies can be horrendous and I just want to share my story.  Had I known things like this happened, I would have been prepared and would have recovered from being a colonoscopy trauma victim sooner.
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Pill endoscopies are ony for small bowell evaluation. The best think to do is wait it out and see if the blood continues. If it is blood with no diahreah then I would presume it to be a hemmeroid. However, if you are going over your 'normal' amount to the rest room and loosing alot of blood you may have IBD. I would be concerned if it starts giving you pain.
I have worked with a GI and monitored several colonoscopies. However, I have never hears of such horror. You poor thing.

I have had many colonoscopies and always seem to wake if its anything that isnt anesthesia or propofol.
If you need to do it, I suggest calling different GIs that ppl recommend and asking when they do their procedures do they use propofol. They verse it with a nurse anestatist being in the room with you. There aint hell no way youd wake unless the nurse wasnt here to verse it.

Additonally, if you can get yourself to do it and proceed with the blleding I would get a ct of adomin, +blood work and prometheus testing for IBD. Regardless, colonoscopies become invaluable in finding dysplasia and eventually you may have to. Can you tell you next doctor of your traumatic experience and ask if a loved one can be in th room?
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DON'T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT MY FIRST COLONOSCOPY . I GUESS THAT PART IS GOOD. WHAT I DO REMEMBER IS BEING BENT OVER A HALF TABLE AND HAVING HIM INSERT THIS TUBE UP MY RECTUM. AFTER HE WAS DONE AND I HAD GROANED MY WAY THROUGH IT HE ASKED ME IF ANYONE HAD GIVEN ME ANY KIND OF ANETHESIA OR MUSCLE RELAXANT? nooooooooo. 1979

The next one was in April 2007. Did the prep. Got anesthesia Then  I  looked up and saw the whole thing on screen. Was in pain when he removed it but it was to late.  He later told my husband he had given me enough anesthesia to put out a rino. Well Guess I am not a Rino.
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Oh Lord!  I've had so many comments like that!  "You've already had the maximum dose we can give you."  "Just what else are you taking anyway?"  "You really needed a LOT of medication!"  No shite Nursey-nurse - I've been in pain mangement on opiate therapy just like it says on the chart right in front of your face.  Ya THINK it might take more to knock me out?!

My first colonoscopy (and last time I ever saw that woman-hating butcher) was done in the doc's office.  I was a newbie to such things and was scared to death.  The experience was a horror.  My brother could hear me yelling and moaning and groaning back in the depths of the office.  They gave me IV meds, but nowhere near enough.  That was the occasion that I got hit with the nurse saying, "We can't give you any more drugs.  You've already had the max..."  Looking back on the whole nightmare I suspect this doc didn't withheld proper medication because he didn't have room in his office for recovery.  He wanted them ambulatory immediately so he could move on to the next patient.  $$$$$$
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Very helpful and specific suggestions, Streamline.  Thanks so much.  I especially like the fact that you have seen a lot of colonoscopies and never heard of such a horror as mine.  The gastroenterologist told me my colonoscopy was "totally routine."  There are doctors like him out there and the hospital and  HMO would not discipline him in any way, so he continues to get away with this style.  I've run into people who had bad experiences with colonoscopies.  I think the reason doctors give patients Versed is that they forget exactly what the colonoscopy was like.  My pain was so bad that I remember everything.
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LOVE the prhase "woman-hating butcher" and can relate 100%.  I like your closing remarks about the doctor not having room in his office for recovery and wanting patients ambulatory immediately.  My docotor was rushing to fit my procedure in the time slot in the surgery room so he could work on his next patient. When I came out of the procedure, they immediately wisked my bed away for another patient and I had no place to sit so I went and sat in the waiting room (this was at a hospital).  I looked terrible and all the prospective patients were staring at me.  I should have stood up and told them all right then and there what had happened, but a nurse came and found me and asked me why I wasn't in my bed.  I said because when they told me to get dressed, they took the bed away.
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Gastros want to do as many colonoscopies as fast  as they can.  The drug Versed (midazolam) is given to the unfortunate patient, they say is't to relax you but it's really to keep you imobile so you can't resist even if you are in agony (YOU ARE)....TRUE THEY DO GIVE SMALL AMOUNTS OF PAINKILLER, BUT THEY PATIENT FEELS TREMENDOUS PAIN).     They relay on the amnesia effect of the versed to they don't care how much it hurt you, how much you screamed, how the nurses held you don, etc..........trouble is, a lot of people don't get the amnesia effect....even if you don't remember the procedure, inflicting that much pain on a "consciously-sedated" person is abuse....REMEMBER IT OR NOT...get a virtual or get  an anesthesia person to give you propofol....write on the consent before you sign:   no versed, propofol will be used and have the doc sign it..otherwise, do elsewhere........colonoscopies are giving too many people nightmares with "conscious sedation".....................................
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My only suggestions would be to find a better GI doc and request general anesthesia.  I had a colonoscopy yesterday under general anesthesia.  Other than gas pain, bloating and some soreness due to a large biopsy I had done I am okay.  

I am so sorry that you had that experience.  I hope you can find a good GI doctor who will treat you compassionately.


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Wow, I'm so sorry for you!  I haven't read all of the replies here, but as far as therapy goes to help you- I would be sure to see a therapist who is experienced in PTSD. If you can, find someone who is certified in EMDR (it's become really popular, so you should have no problem).  EMDR can really help with being able to get past the trauma- you need to be able to make your medical decisions wihtout being terrified of the procedures.  Also, finding out what sedation you were given on that horrible day might be important.

I see this was from July- how are things now?

Good luck to you- I really feel for you, that's just horrible!!
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What an experience! I hope my upcomping exam goes a little better. I'll be sure to tell them I have a high tolerance and it's true. I need it to rule out colon cancer as the cause of my re-occuring unexplained abdominal pain. all the best
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I can relate to ur exper.  I had a horrible dr who made it seem like it wud be no big deal.  He'd make me as comfortable as poss which I thought was good but he meant as comfy as poss when you feel pain.  Said it would be like the discovery channel I could watch it on the monitor.  He reassured me he'd take care of me, etc. My insurance covered Conscious Sedation.

I went to have this done and was very afraid.  I wanted to be awake and watch it on the monitor and not feel it.  He knew this.  When I'm laying there naked vulnerable, the nurse tells me I should have anesthesia cause I'm just too nervous & I may start kicking my legs from the pain when ur colon gets inflated w/air.  The dr never told me he was going to pump air into my colon & never told me it could be painful.  Next the dr comes in, the same guy who just a few days prior never mentioned anesthesia on the phone, but now bring in the anes dr & they all gang up on me encouraging me to get knocked out because I'm so nervous.  I was so angry with him, but do you think when you are lying there naked and vulnerable you are really going to tell this doctor where to go.  I wanted to get up off the table & leave and tell him to F___ Off, but I went ahead with it.  I never saw the Monitor.  He gave me the drugs and I was out - eyes closed - until I felt pain.  I told him - it hurts - get out and he did.  

I, too, was traumautized by this.  I had reoccuring dreams.  I was so upset that he waited until I was naked to tell me the truth. He misled me to make his money.    

What happened to me traumatized me & I felt very violated.  What happened to you, I don't know how you've been able to go on without any justice.  That doctor is a horrible person & I wish for him the same thing he did to you, just as I wish karma for my dr.  All this happened 2 1/2 years ago.

Now to my good story - I began having a change in my bowel habits and diarrhea so I was afraid something was up.  I'm a single Mom and I want to be alive and well for my doctor.  I have different insurance now so I decided to try again for the Colonoscopy.  The second time was a totally different experience.  I was terrified, of course, but I was trying to remain calm.  I wanted my blood pressure to be 118/70.  I took a lot of deep breaths and thought as positive as I could, but again I was terrified.  The difference with this out-patient facility is that everyone told the truth.  The nurse who put in my IV was great.  She had me open my mouth and tilt my head up and down.  I asked - why do you want me to do that?  She said, in case anything happens, we have to be able to open up your airway. We talked about lots of things - she knew how afraid I was - she told me - the way you are feeling, I think you'll be awake.  Next I went into the room.  There were two women nurses there (with my 1st doctor, one nurse was horrible who told me I'd be kicking my legs in pain) and the technician was a male, which I didn't like while my butt was exposed in the bright light of the room.)  They were very nice.  They showed me the Colonoscope because I wanted to see it.  I told them - I had read a book that said it was 5 or 6 ft. long, but this looked like 3 1/2 and they said yes, 3 1/2 or 4 feet long.  I said it's bigger than I thought.  The book I read said it would be smaller than my pinky finger.  One nurse said, the man who wrote the book must have had big hands.  We all laughed.  The doctor came in.  We discussed the last experience I had.  He was concerned because I was again getting Conscious Sedation.  I told him I want to complete this; I don't want to feel anything, but I'm prepared this time in case I feel something.  The last time I wasn't prepared.  (Did I mention I had an underwater natural birth with my daughter, so I know pain and I also don't like to lose control.)  So unlike the last time, they gave me the drugs.  I didn't go to sleep.  They told me to close my eyes and take deep breaths.  I was out just for a short time.  Then I awoke to pain.  They gave me double what they would give a normal person, but I just have an insane tolerance to these drugs.  They also gave me Versad for sedation, but it didn't work.  When I asked for more drugs, they gave me Benadryl for sedation.  The nurses were there though giving me what they could and pressing on my side to help the doctor get through.  I watched most of it on the monitor just like I had wanted to do the first time when I wasn't gritting my teeth from the pain I felt.  I asked for more drugs and the doctor said - you want more drugs - we're done and 5 seconds later he was out of me and he told me I did good and my colon was perfect - no polyps.  He was very kind.  Afterwards I had cramps for about an hour.  I did a great yoga poise and got rid of the gas and my cramps went away for the most part.  The next day and even for the next few days, I had a cramp now and then or a twinge of pain and  my stomach was very tender.  I worked the next day, but found I couldn't put on my seat belt in the car unless I placed a sweatshirt in between my stomach and the belt.  

The purpose of this note is to say that I think the medical community does such a disservice to people for not admitting that this procedure can be very painful.  I feel so bad for what you endured and I wish there could be something that could be done to that doctor.  In my opinion, he should lose his license, but you are right, all the doctors and the insurance companies stick together.  I'm glad I got through it; I'm glad right now I'm cancer free, but I will never have another Colonoscopy again.  I'm sure the drugs helped a little bit, but I was awake (which I'm glad I was and I'm glad I saw the monitor,) but for me it was very painful.

I spoke to the nurses the same day to thank them for being honest and wonderful.  They told me because I was so terrified, my body fought the drugs.  That with what they gave me, they would have been sleeping for hours, but I was not affected at all.  I told her I was happy I got through it - that it wasn't like the last time when I wasn't expecting any pain.  She agreed that doctor should have told me the truth.  She told me and this made me feel so good that many people can't go through with it because of the pain - that everyone is different.  My first doctor made me feel like nobody called off the procedure - that I was very rare, but she validated me and told me it can be painful and many people don't go through with it.  

I want everyone who reads this to know that everything I've said here is the truth.  Good luck if you choose to go through this.  I'd love to know what drugs Katie Couric got - maybe she got what I did, but she sure had a great experence in comparison to me.  I feel better for venting and I hope, Parakeets, that one day a good experience will at least ease the pain a bit of the horrible experience you had.  This doctor and these nurses the second time were caring, professional, and wonderful and it was so nice when they turned off the lights because you didn't feel exposed at all - they really tried to make you feel snug and cozy.  I hope one day I run into that first doctor on the street so that I can really tell him what I think of him - a really unethical lying jerk conning people to do this so he can make his $$$$$.  Thanks for letting me vent and listening.  From:  Second Time Around
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Avatar_f_tn
This is the 21st century and a BIG CLUE FOR YOU FOLKS.....Versed and Fentanyl doesnt do the trick any more.  One-third of the time you have flashbacks from Versed (some call this drug the date rape drug).  Read on the net....Versedbusters.com...and you'll get the picture.  The smart people are now DEMANDING profopol, which puts you out in 40 seconds and you are awake within 10 minutes and ready to do anything the rest of the day.  Versed makes you a zombie for at least 8-10 hours.  Wise up!  Get Smart!  
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Avatar_m_tn
I wish I'd never read this web page.
I have to have a colonoscopy next week & now I'm terrified.
My Doctor said that I would experience no pain at all
& I have yet to see the actual surgeon.
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Avatar_m_tn
if you say STOP then the MD must obey you right ?

What if you yell STOP I revoke my approval for this procedure !

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Avatar_m_tn
I had my colonoscopy today.
I am really annoyed at this thread/ forum.
I didn't feel anything and woke up half an hour later
without even knowing that they had done it.
There was no pain.
The worst part was taking the 2 sachets of picolax yesterday.
You people are putting others off getting a vital procedure done.
This is irresponsible.
I had only 3 hours sleep a night for the last 5 days because I read this thread.
How many people will die because they read this thread &
decided not to proceed with a colonoscopy?
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Avatar_n_tn
Glad that you had a good experience; you obviously had a caring doctor who took his time and didn't rush your test like so many here in the U.S. do. I'm guessing that you are in the UK since you mention picolax. Colonoscopy is usually painful because the docs doing the exam are in a hurry; they generally use as much sedation as possible because they can go faster.  This leads to sloppy technique, peforations and a LOT of people with HORRIBLE  sedation experiences because their doc is too lazy or too greddy ($$) to go slowly.  Tons of people have horrible colonosopies because they are painful )the doc is  rushing) or too much sedation so the doc can rush even more and the patient ends up with PTSD or long-term amnesia. I'm tired of greedy gastros lying to patients; find one who will do an unsedated exam if you want safety and a good exam.  Only in the US is sedation the norm    If you want it pay extra for propofol; at least a qualified nurse (CRNA) will be giivng it. I just had my 3rd unsedated exam; my doc prefers to do them unsedated for safety and she takes her time...she's the best in town.  good luck finding a doc like that..they are rare in a profession which treats colonosopy as a drive-thru car wash procedure...do it fast, do it sloppy and if the patient has problems with the sedation, keep telling them "you did fine" until they are out the door......Do you think that all of these patients who are relating Versed horror stories are making them up?  My neighbor is a CRNA and has read some of the doses of Versed given for routine colonoscopies and says they it's no wonder that these patientshave long-term memory loss and PTSD.  They got drugged then subjected to a rushed, painful procedure (becasue it was rushed) adn treated like crap.  Then they get home and the amnesia wears off.  A friend accompanied me for my recent colonoscopy; she has a family history and refuses the exam.  When my endo offered to let her watch my unsedated exam (we are close friends), she immediately scheduled hers (with sedation as needed).........When you see a real doc do this exam, its a breeze.  She also saw the babbling patients staggering out the door after Versed and decided to pay extra for propofol.  Yes, get the exam; if you want sedation, get propofol...
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Avatar_m_tn
You do not need to take versed.  Sounds like you had a bad reaction to the versed.  Versed is used to make you forget how bad they treated you.  Sounds like you remembered.  The literature is on the doctor's side, cause he can say you didn't remember cause you were drugged--"it was all in your head".

Never let them give you versed.  Put on the consent form and talk to your doctor before hand and tell him/her NO to versed.  If they want to relax you so you don't move so much, they can give you valum and a STRONG pain medication.  The ONLY reason a doctor would refuse you is because they are used to ignoring their patients pain and discomfort and elect to give you amnesia instead.  In otherwords, your doctor doesn't give a flying rats butt about you and you need to run as fast as you can.
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and your wisdom, especially those listed above. I just had my 3rd colonoscopy yesterday. The 1st one was in a doctor's office. He was someone from my health insurance plan. His anesthesiologist was very proud of the drug "cocktail" that he would give me, which put me out--I wouldn't feel a thing. That part was right--until I returned to the waiting room, where my boyfriend was waiting to escort me home. I had terrible pain in my abdominal area--I would describe it as being kicked by a horse 20 times. This pain lasted the rest of the day. I called the office to ask if this was "normal." They said it was. This was 5 years ago, so I don't remember if the pain lasted through the second day. My next colonoscopy was 3 years ago, at a local hospital. I was surprised to learn I would be awake and watching on the video. The anesthesia nurse, I remember, when reading some of the posts, was very nice & even held my hand & helped me press on my abdomen when the pain (there was pain!) got bad. She explained it was the air that they blow to inflate the colon. They found 3 polyps. I remember trying to sit up to look at the polyps! Afterwards, the nursing staff was alarmed when my BP stayed around 70/40, They waited & kept checking it before they released me, even walking me around a bit to help me raise my BP. However--even tho I had the pain DURING the procedure--there was no pain after! My recent one was an alltogether different scenario. Same hospital, different doctor, different anesthesia nurse. Doctor was very cold. Anesthesia nurse was nice--I told the hospital nurse about the difficulty in raising my BP last time around, so she told me to tell the anesthesia nurse to give me an IV fluid drip--I was probably dehydrated last time. I was in even more pain than the last time--watching the clock every minute. I must agree that they probably rush thru--if the meds weren't confusing me, it took about 15-20 minutes for them to go thru my colon. No hand holding this time--I had to grip the side rails to keep from doing more than moaning. I kept doing calm breathing to help myself relax, but little did I know they probably were giving me paralyzing drugs--I am so glad a post mentioned this, because I've been in constant muscle pain since they released me. I also tried yoga poses--I teach yoga, and today wondered if I could manage it--but the yoga made me feel better--physically, but also mentally, because I thought this meant it was gas, not a perforated bowel (my sister knows someone who went thru THAT horror story!)--and I was thinking in the back of my mind, why would yoga poses help, then the pain return while walking or sitting? Somehow, I thought--did they paralyze my muscles?? So thank you whoever posted about the yoga pose--and the paralyzing drugs--and the vagus nerve! You see, years ago, when I would practice the bow pose, where you rock back & forth on your ribs & abdomen--I would often feel a weird, uncomfortable "pulsing" sensation--one that I'm feeling now from time to time--so yes, I believe the tube hit my vagus nerve while going thru the transverse colon. I've been feeling "burbling" feelings all thru my abdomen--perhaps it's the colon bacteria coming back to life after being washed away(and yeah--lots of gas)! I've been eating yogurt for that. I've been tremendously hungry, but have tried not to eat too much--as I feel that the colon may not be able to handle it all yet. So all your posts, even the "horror" ones, have been very helpful in assuaging my fears, and in understanding what has happened to me. Also, someone mentioned asking to see the endoscope, and to request propofol. I think this is great, & I wonder why I didn't think to ask more questions of the anesthesia nurse, who actually encouraged me to ask as many questions as I wanted. By the way, the anesthesia was even harder to recover from this time. My BP was 75/45 this time. They fed me cranberry & apple juices, graham & Lorna Doone crackers, & saltines. I walked a little. Then needed to urinate. When I came out of the bathroom, I knew I was going to hurl. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to grab one of the empty cups, which I immediately filled with the upchucked juices! Then the nurse ran over with one of those kidney-shaped things you see patients vomiting in on Grey's Anatomy & House,MD. (By the way, I also vomited the nite before--I deliberately drank more H2O than needed, 'cuz I wanted a "perfect prep'(clean colon), which I'd never had before--all colonoscopies before were "incomplete." That TriLyte stuff is vile!) So again, a big hug to all & thanks for your generosity & courage in sharing your stories. Yes, I'd love to have a virtual colonoscopy instead, but I have hemmorrhoids, which rules that out. P.S.-Boyfriend, after years of resisting, was forced to have colonoscopy to diagnose stomach disorder. His verdict on the prep & colonoscopy: "Piece of cake. Prep wasn't bad--just had to drink 2 small bottles, take 5 laxative pills. (To me, he said--I don't see how you could drink all that fluid [4 liters])! Was out during colonoscopy--didn't feel a thing--no cramps, no pain!" He wouldn't mind doing another one--go figure!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, just had an colonoscopy and a single polyp was removed.  A few days later, I drove myself to the E.R.. (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Please visit my link for my successful story www.myspace.com/christellalives  

I encourage all to please to have have a Colonoscopy done or medical checkups, go with faith.

A Survivor living life,
Christella Juarez
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I just had my second colonoscopy this afternoon with conscience sedation.  With two previous oral surgeries with this type of sedation; for me has been pure hell.  My anxiety metabolizes the meds, and are pretty much useless.  Now I suffer from PTSD from these procedures.  Today:  I informed GI specialist about my past experiences and they asured me I would be good to go.  Aha.  This 2nd colonoscopy hurt like hell, and the meds did nothing to relax me.  I was awake the whole time.  After being put into recovery; I had been blown up with so much air and much water to flush? My prep the night before was done properly, and I have no idea why I was left on the gurny to purge from my bottom so much water and bile.  The blankets and sheets were soaked in my mess with no one to help me.  I had to clean myself.  Now I am home with horrible rectal pain.  

Never again.  Propofol for the next one in three years.  This conscience sedation is a joke.  

I just wish the medical community would listen to their patirents who often know their bodies better than the Doc's.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had everyone yelling at me to have one because I am bleeding and have been for a long time. I had just the upper gi done and it was awful. I threw up all over my self and could not breath I am a big man 6ft 4 and 260 pounds and I came off the table and I remember everything. I had had two done before that did not remember either of them. You know I would not have this test done now for anything. Thank You So Much. My family is mad at me but I don't care it is still my body.
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Avatar_f_tn
If you have questions you would like answered please post your question as its own post.  I don't mean to scare you, but if you are having bleeding, that could be life threatening.  I don't know your story but I would recommend an endoscopy/colonoscopy with general anesthesia where you will not remember anything.
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I can relate to all of you who have had horror stories and the horrible pain. I have to have one every 5 years since colon cancer runs in the family. My first one like many of you was a horror story. I was in horrible pain and they were holding me down saying they were almost done. Oh my I was sure that was never going to happen again. From then on I get general anastesia. I get very ill from being put to sleep so they always put something in my IV to keep me from becoming ill and spending the day vomiting. I have had several while I slept. It is to painful for me and I am not going to go through that pain again. I am due for another one and waiting for the hospital contact me with a date. I can hold down that nasty salt water I have to drink the night before. I no sooner take a drink it is up again. So this whole thing is very bad for me. I have anxiety and panic attacks anyway and this procedue makes them worse even though I know I will be asleep since the first one was so bad. Oh my I wish there was an easier way. I don't want to do this!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a colonoscopy done in 2005. Before the procedure, I was asked who would drive me back. I said I drove there and I would drive myself back home. So they agreed to do this with no sedation at all. I was awake through the whole procedure and the doctor was very gentle and was showing me and explaining what he was seeing on the monitor. Apart from some bloating and dizziness after the procedure, there were no significant problems. I had a sigmoidoscopy done in a similar way in early 2010 with no problems at all.

In late 2010, I had to do and upper endoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. I was given Versed and Demerol intravenously. I had persistent neurological deficits after that procedure (dizziness, nausea, fainting, photosensitive epilepsy) and I was diagnosed with dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) a few weeks later. The problem seems permanent and I am pretty sure that anesthesia triggered this.

I would encourage everyone to avoid anesthesia as much as possible as it is like playing Russian roulette. It could cause irreversible brain damage if you are one of the unlucky ones. A little discomfort during endoscopy or colonoscopy is nothing compared to the permanent neurological deficits anesthesia might cause.
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Avatar_f_tn
Am I ever glad I found this thread. I thought I was alone in what I experienced. It was horryfying. I don't even know for sure if I was properly sedated, because the nurse in the room with me knew my neighbor and asked me about her while I was supposed to be relaxing before the procedure. This neighbor had been causing us trouble for years, so it was no doubt the nurse happened to be a good friend of hers and was "paying me back".
The enitre procedure was RUSHED. The doctor came in and got started, then the pain came as he kept pumping me with air. I cried out in so much pain that I squeezed the nurse's hand. He could not get around my spleen, so he stopped after all of my agony. It was the worst experience of my life. If I ever have it done again, which I doubt, I will insist on proponol. I will insist on being OUT. Because I have every memory of the entire thing.
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Avatar_m_tn
you are very lucky that it went so well, I had a traumatic experience and was left crying and in agony feeling very confused as to what had happened to me, i phoned the department the next day to see if what happened to me was normal as i felt so upset and that I was being overdramatic and a baby.  I was screaming and writhing about in agony with a less than impressed dr shouting at me.  Im glad to say that they deemed it as 'normal colonoscopy' although they couldnt complete the procedure they only got to the 'splenic flexure' so less than half way round?? but im happy not to question that and i'll take my chances.  no symptoms since colonoscopy so im guessing the bowel prep flushed away a simple nasty infection.  However had i read this forum prior to the procedure i would have felt scared but more prepared for the horror i was about to face as I could have questioned the meds etc - i was given a tump load of 'Versed' which couldnt have worked as the pain and feeling that i was a nuisance was overwheming.  I will refuse to ever have another colonoscopy and would definitely pay Private if i had to for a virtual one instead. I wouldnt wish my experience of a colonoscopy on my worst enemy! a knowing colleague told me that the prep was the worst part and they lied to save me from worrying so i guess that was a good thing as if i had anxiety and sleepless nights before hand it would of tipped me over the edge!!  Not knowing is sometimes a good thing as I would have been reluctant to have it done but then again I wish id had some clue to just how awful it was going to be, two sides to every coin i guess!
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Avatar_m_tn
A vital procedure?

Let's take a look at that.

1.  Some CRC does not follow polyp pathway and some is rapid onset.  This procedure doesn't make your bulletproof.

2.  Double digit miss rate very much influenced by quality of prep (and no 2 doctors agree on this... many gastros still not preaching split dose).

3.  Incidence rate may sound low at 0.25% but this is a mass screen (even if surgery) so it's a big deal.  You might not get a colostomy bag from CRC but from your colonoscopy.

4.  Generic screening guidelines that ignore gender.  Men are at much greater risk for CRC than women (35-40%) and contract it earlier.  Women are generally at risk in their 70s (men in their 60s) so subtract 10 years from each and establish your guidelines.  Nope, per norm, the ladies get duped and screwed.

5.  Risk factors are not consistently used well in screening guidelines.  Big difference between 1st degree relative with CRC at 50 and one who gets it at 70.  So too much made of family history and not enough attention paid to age at diagnosis.  Bigger problem is that risk mitigants ignored...exercise, not smoking, not obese, calcium / dairy consumption, aspirin consumption, vitamin d consumption can influence risk profile SIGNIFICANTLY.  This isn't theoretical and rocket science but ASGE wants its billings.

It's way past time for fecal DNA (sDNA) but that diagnostic is being held to a standard never applied to colonoscopies.

Glad colonoscopies exist but they should never be a mass screen.  Truly bizarre that they are.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had colonoscopy because of Fissure and bleeding. It was not painful at first ( they used pain killer through IV), but after the procedure, pain started. I could not control gas and it turns to anal and fecal incontinence. Doctors believe that it is from damage to anal sphincter muscles and nerves. Anyone have the same problems? Please help. I am 35 and it makes me scared and depressed.
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Avatar_m_tn
You are not bullet-proof from CRC because you agreed to have a colonoscopy NOR is a colonoscopy the only step you can take to reduce your chance for CRC.

CRC can be fast-moving and it does NOT have to follow the polyp model.  And colonoscopies have double-digit miss rates when all is perfect anyway.

So let's be careful about annointing a surgical procedure turned mass screening tool of healthy people as "vital".  

Average lifetime risk is around 5%.  A big chunk of that happens late in life (primarily ladies, making the one-size-fits-all screening guidelines wrong).  You can lower this further by not smoking or drinking, watching processed meat consumption, taking aspirin and vitamin D-3, exercising vigorously and lowering body mass, etc.  Those are "vital" because the benefits accrue to maladies not named CRC.

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Avatar_n_tn
That is exactly the reason that I have never had, nor will ever have any form of invasive treatment.  Most of the time they are totally unneccessary and do more harm than good.  I will take my chances instead of having some medical "professional" messing up my insides.
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Avatar_f_tn
You are free to make your own choices about what medical procedures you choose to have.  However, they are not "totally unnecessary" most of the time.  In people aged 50 and older, colonoscopies often find pre-cancerous polyps which are then removed preventing colon cancer.  They also do not do "more harm than good" most of the time.  The people you see on this thread are the less than 1% who had problems from their colonoscopies.
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Avatar_m_tn
You are making an assumption in your post  that isn't scientifically valid.

All polyps are not "pre-cancerous" (any more than a mole or freckle is on your dermis).  Most polyps in the 1-5 mm band do grow.  However, most polyps in the 5-9 mm band REGRESS.  Almost all polyps will NEVER progress to cancer.

So to be consistent, I want you to rush over to your dermatologist and get any funny looking tissue whacked off and certainly all moles and freckles!  Yes, I am kidding and yes I realize it's easier to monitor events on your skin than your colon (although the analogy does hold for places like your back!).

We are waging a war on dysplasia not cancer and we haven't a clue which dysplasia is actually dangerous.
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Avatar_f_tn
No where in my post did I say that all polyps are pre-cancerous.  I said "colonoscopies often find pre-cancerous polyps which are then removed preventing colon cancer".  When a biopsy is taken, you can tell whether the polyp is non-cancerous, pre-cancerous, or cancerous.  A colonoscopy will often find pre-cancerous polyps (in addition to non pre-cancerous polyps) which are then removed, lowering your risk for colon cancer.
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OH WOW WISH I READ THIS SOONER!! I really thought I was going to get propofal but change of Dr and guess he wanted to see me suffer, and suffer I did omg!
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Well, for those of us who read this we know to ask for propofal then right? I mean I was in such horrible pain toward the end when the Dr was going up and around OMG the versed and Demerol I got was a JOKe..
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OMG same exact thing happen to me.. DAMN DR!! he didnt even wait till anything took effect, just jammed it in and kept going OMG.. Im still scared for life..
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Avatar_f_tn
I hav had 9+ colonoscopies, all hav gone well until my last one 2 days ago. The medication they gave me were Fentanyl for pain and Versed so you don't remember what happened to you during the procedure. This time they didn't give me enough of either. I experienced the most brutal treatment and excruciating pain of my life! The dr began inserting the scope and when it came to a corner of my bowels I couldn't handle the imense pain. I said stop stop! I was crying but he just continued, that's when the nurse grabbed my arm and pinned me to the bed and told me you can't be moving around! Agony is an understatement, not only from the scope but now for my arm. I now have bruises all over my upper arm from her fingers digging into me while pinning me down. Thisus also the first time that my insides still feel badly bruised and it hurts to sit down from the upwards pressure.
Now I am having nightmares and wake up sweating with tears on my pillow!
I now know what really happens during a colonoscopy and I may never go through it again even though I should because of my Crohn's.
I believe I have been assaulted but hospital believes it was all on my head from the drugs...
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Avatar_m_tn
It's been four years since my colonoscopy, and I still have anxiety and anger when I think about it. It was truly the worst experience of my life. I "woke up" mid-procedure to the worst pain imaginable (20 on a pain scale of 1-10) , and although I clearly remember thrashing around, I don't know if I was screaming or not -  I could not see or hear anything.  No memory of anyone trying to reassure or encourage me. I, too, wondered if perhaps all patients in pain are ignored since they don't expect us to remember.  It also bothers me that those of us who have had bad experiences are told to keep quiet or we'll scare others.  Our experiences are every bit as valid as those who have good experiences, and patients should be told the TRUTH...which is, a colonoscopy with Versed can indeed be  terribly painful !.
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Avatar_m_tn
Pearl is correct..if patients are dumb enough to sighn a blanket sedation consent then they have no recourse..they will give you amnestic drugs such as Versed and they don't give a damn if you are screaming or writhing in pain; you won't be able to resist and they will get you out the door in a Versed-induced stupor..the fun (and the nightmares, PTSD, memory loss) start when you get home..why would you expect them to care about your mental state, hostility and PTSD?  after all, you signed a sedation consent that allowed thme to give you Versed.  Too bad that you didn't do your homework and write on the consent: "I'm not consenting to Versed"
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Avatar_n_tn
That wouldn't happen with me.

Firstly I have never had nor will have any form of invasie procedure.

2ndly - if I did -  When I say no it is NO!!!!!!!!!!  If they ignore it they will be in court for assault and unlawful imprisonment as well as being in front of the MEDICAL Council.  If that fails they would be Dead.  I am the only one who says what goes on with my body.  Not some prick medical professional who thinks he is god.
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Avatar_m_tn
Damn, that sounds horrible.  Law suit time.  I hate to advocate that but there is no reason for that type of treatment.  

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