Two and a half years ago, I went to an ENT for tinnitus. After going on a fishing expedition looking for things he could operate for, Dr. S found sinus polyps on a scan. Thirty to 40% of the population has sinus polyps. Dr. S said, “We’ll fix that deviated septum at the same time.”
I knew about the deviated septum because all four times I had seen Dr. S for tinnitus, he had examined my nose. And all four times, he had said, “You have a deviated septum. As I would learn after the surgeries—I did not, in fact, have a deviated septum. At least I did not have one before the surgery.
Dr. S was angry with me the day that he ordered the surgeries. He never so much as looked at me. He shouted at me. Six days later, he did irreparable harm to my nose and face, performing the most aggressive and damaging nasal and sinus surgeries ever devised—on an asymptomatic patient. I literally had no nasal or sinus medical history. Not one complaint or sinus infection—in 55 years of life. Dr. S contended in his patient notes that I had a history of chronic rhinosinusitis, but oddly, my GP knew nothing about it. She went through six years’ worth of patient records and confirmed that I had never been seen for any nasal or sinus issue in her office. I believe that Dr. S initially intended to do some unnecessary surgeries. Then something happened to change his mind.
After these surgeries—A Caldwell-Luc, a septoplasty which twisted and shortened my nose, and a turbinate reduction—I was in such agony that I wanted to die. I had acinetobacter, an antibiotic-resistant hospital-acquired infection to which only seriously ill patients are susceptible. Curiously, Dr. S wrote on all three of my post-operative visits that I had atrophic rhinitis. This was just weeks after the surgery. I wonder how he knew since it is not possible to determine if a patient has atrophic rhinitis until four to six months following surgery.
The ENT I saw after the surgery was primarily concerned with burying the crime. I knew nothing about “the old boys’ network.” I took his casual air as a good sign. But when he said he would see me again in five weeks, I nearly hit the floor. Five weeks? I could barely survive five minutes. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t sleep. The pain was out of this world.
Then I saw my GP. “I got this letter…from your ENT,” she said. She pulled it out and held it before my eyes. “Maybe you should see someone else.” The words turned upside and traded places. What I was reading made no sense.
“She felt better for a few weeks but since then she has been having persistent difficulties.” I had not told him I had felt better after the surgery. I had told him I had never had any sinus symptoms before it. I had told him I had not felt this horrible pain until a week or two following the surgery.
“The surgery was prompted by an abnormal MRI showing chronic sinusitis. She was found to have polyps during the surgery and this was confirmed on her pathology report.”
I felt like an assault victim lying in a pool of her own blood. Finally, help had arrived and my “rescuer” had stepped on my face as he walked over me.
I told Dr. F, again, that I had never had a sinus condition. I took him a letter from my GP: “She has never had a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis. She had never been seen here for any sinus problems prior to November 2007.” Dr. F would not take the letter from my hand. This became a pattern. Anything Dr. F did not want in my patient file, he would not take from my hand. Dr. F wrote in a letter: “[She] has chronic rhinosinsusits…She had surgery performed in the past due to the severity of the condition.” Dr. F rewrote my medical history to accommodate the assault committed by his colleague.
I saw another doctor. Dr. F canceled my next appointment without notifying me. Most other doctors treated me poorly. Several mentioned that they had received letters or phone calls from Dr. F.
Last December my face began to collapse. It had started a year earlier, but things got serious in December 2009. The pain was horrific. December through April, I cried several hours every day. I saw the last ENT plastic surgeon in my city whom I had not already seen. The right side of my face was visibly smaller than the left. My right eye drooped. “I’m a plastic surgeon and I don’t see anything,” he said. He sent me to a slew of other specialists all of whom had no findings. The allergist told me I had no inferior turbinates.
A month ago, my teeth started crashing together. I can’t eat or speak without my front teeth hitting. Even with my mouth closed, I feel the misery of the misalignment. I am in horrible discomfort from Empty Nose Syndrome, pain in my face and the twisting of my facial bones and teeth.
Will anyone help me? Or will the next report read: “Patient has a history of facial pain and deformity.”