Medicine without a Conscience

When I went to an ENT for ringing in my ear, I ended up with a septoplasty, a turbinate reduction, and a radical sinus surgery called a Caldwell-Luc. The ENT had told me he was going to remove a sinus polyp.

 Normally, I wouldn’t have agreed to the surgery, but I was suffering from a recent carbon monoxide poisoning; hence, the ear ringing. I was not in my right mind. Still, I wouldn’t have agreed to it, except that the surgeon yelled at me the day he scheduled the surgery. “Don’t ask stupid questions!” he shouted, when I asked how I had gotten the polyp. “Just listen! Don’t interrupt!” If not for this, I would have at least gotten a second opinion. I did not because I felt I must have already done something very wrong.

 In order to grasp how this worked, it helps to have an understanding of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s like that old commercial of an egg frying in a pan that said, “This is your brain on drugs.” You’re still you, and you have your self-image to live up to, but the equipment isn’t co-operating. When somebody is being inappropriate, you are not really in a position to figure out who it is, but you are the most likely candidate because your brain is a scrambled egg. Feeling you must be so inappropriate that you deserve to be yelled at, you feel like bowing and scraping.

 That feeling cost me my face, my breathing, and my health.

 I believe the ENT, in this case, exploited my condition—of which he was well aware– in order to get my signature on the dotted line. The surgeries–even if he had done them correctly—which he did not, were inappropriate and unnecessary.

 The ENT was part owner of the outpatient surgery center where the surgery was done. Such places are often referred to as “surgery mills,” as it is the obvious interest of investors to drum up business for their establishments. What do you suppose governing entities do in order to protect patients from exploitation by these sharks?

 I’ll tell you what they do in Ohio. They make special laws governing outpatient surgery centers. Doctors who perform surgeries in them do not have to justify a need for the surgeries. There is an authorization process, but it is a charade. The doctor merely has to provide the insurance company with the date of surgery, surgeon, facility, diagnosis, procedure planned, and anticipated discharge needs. Thus, surgery mills and shady doctors are given carte blanche in Ohio.

 As the patient—even though I had carbon monoxide poisoning—I assumed my surgery must be appropriate because the insurance company approved it.

 I did not know until more than a month after the surgery that the ENT had removed a pile of bone and cartilage from my face and nose measuring nearly two inches by two inches. Who would ever imagine that such a thing would be done in an outpatient surgery center? I left that dirty outpatient center with acinetobacter infection, a deadly infection acquired only by severely ill patients. My condition was due to the mutilation I suffered at the hands of an inept—and possibly, sadistic—un-board-certified DO.

 Possibly sadistic? I had reported a colleague of his to my insurance company, for unprofessional behavior, the week before he scheduled the surgery. Was that why he was so angry with me the day that he scheduled the surgery? Was that why he did the surgery?

 A patient destroyed in this corrupt system has no recourse as tort reform laws passed in Ohio several years ago have made Medical Malpractice an unprofitable and, largely, losing proposition: At the same time, an advertising campaign poisoned the minds of potential jurors, convincing them that all Medical Malpractice cases are frivolous. Eighty percent of those cases that pass stringent tests, and make it into court, are being lost.

Geting a Medical Malpractice case into court is nearly impossible as all doctors cover for one another, and a lawyer won’t take a case unless a  treating physician is willing to say the word “malpractice” in court. In one Ohio case, a doctor who mutilated women, sexually,  for decades, could not be sued because no other doctor would testify against him in court: A doctor who did report this sadist to the medical board was ostracized by the medical community.

The ENT who treated me after the surgeon refused to help me with a complaint to the medical board. A doctor has to say something in this business before it is true. A patient’s word is worth nothing. Not even a patient’s condition carries any weight. A plastic surgeon stated–with a straight face– that, even though my nose had been altered, the only surgeon who had ever touched it did not do it because he had not mentioned it in his report. Doctors have absolute power, and, as they say–absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In this atmosphere, a doctor with evil, or even murderous, intentions, is pretty much free to act on them.

And no—there is no watchdog agency protecting us. I called them all, including the Attorney General’s office. Each one passed the buck, or explained that they couldn’t open a file for a single complainant. Of course, every time a complainant calls, they are a single complainant, unless they are a Siamese twin. Why does one life not matter? Or is this answer a rationalization for a brick wall?

 It’s a field day for greedy, unethical, and sociopathic doctors. It’s open season on patients. Somebody asked me the other day, “What happened to the Hippocratic Oath? Is it still around?” When did we start practicing medicine without a conscience? Was it at the same time that medicine became a profit-centered business?


~ by ens3 on August 2, 2009.

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