Liars and Thieves
My grandfather had a wonderful, sarcastic sense of humor. Thirty years after his death, memories of his dry commentary bubble up from my subconscious. Sometimes these recollections coincide with my own observations of life. “Liars and thieves” was a grandfather original. My grandfather said it to raise eyebrows. Referring to the ladies’ auxilliary or a meeting of church officials: “Oh, that bunch of liars and thieves.”
This same phrase has been moving through my thoughts lately. However, for me, the irony is missing. People, assumed by the world to be good, have indeed turned out to be liars and thieves. Liars about what happened. Thieves of my health, my life, the truth, and my good name. These people are doctors.
October 30, 2007, I saw an ENT for tinnitus. He performed three unnecessary surgeries on me: a septoplasty, a Cadlwell-Luc and a turbinate reduction. In all, this was removed from my skull: “…multiple pieces of flat bone and cartilage, in aggregate measuring 4.0 x 4.0 x 0.2 cm.” Also, a lot of soft tissue. Dr. S told me only that he was going to remove some sinus polyps. He said he would “fix that deviated septum at the same time.” I had never been seen by any doctor for any nasal or sinus issue.
The pain that followed this butchery is indescribable. Two and a half years have passed—years filled with pain, suffocation, chronic infection, sickness, pain medications and antibiotics, facial collapse, tooth loss, and bone disease. The years have also been filled with efforts to get help from doctors which have often resulted in further harm. Perhaps the most devastating harm is the lies written into my permanent medical record which have created an irrevocable lie about who I am. The lies have made it impossible for me to access appropriate medical care.
A few months ago, while at the medical center, I requested my medical records. Among these records is one from Dr. F, the first doctor to whom I turned for help after the surgery. This record is dated December 18, 2007. It was my first appointment with him. Dr. F makes this statement: “The patient is status post sinus surgery on October 30, 2007, and presents with continued symptoms. The risks and benefits of the procedure were explained in detail and she elected to proceed.” There are several shocking things about this record: One is that I had ordered these records at least twice before and I had never received this one. Another is that Dr. F and I had no conversation which could have been misconstrued to support this statement. On the contrary, I had sobbed throughout the appointment, begging Dr. F to explain why this had been done to me as I had never had any sinus problems. I had said over and over that Dr. S had said only that he was going to remove some polyps. What this record makes crystal clear is Dr. F’s intentions regarding my case from our first meeting.
And yet this record is absurd. My primary care physician wrote a letter documenting that I had never been seen for any nasal or sinus issue in six years with her office. In 55 years of life, I had never complained to any doctor about any nasal or sinus issue. The referral slip from my GP for the ENT consultation with Dr. S says “tinnitus.” How likely is it that a 55-year-old patient with NO nasal or sinus history was told that she may experience nasal dryness and destruction, pain, infection, facial changes and collapse, osteomyelitis, suffocation, and other negative results from a surgery and she said, “Fine, I have no symptoms, but you go ahead and do that.” How likely is it that 55-year-old woman with no symptoms agreed to a bone amputation from her face? “The risks and benefits of the procedure were explained in detail…” In detail!
Since the surgery, I’ve had these infections in my sinuses and eyes: acinetobacter, staphyloccus aureus, klebsiella pneumonia, MRSA, and enterobacter clocae. I had never had a sinus or eye infection before the surgery. I’d had one documented infection in the twenty years before the surgery.
I saw an Infectious Disease specialist at the medical center. He is still a resident. I saw him twice. I would not have seen him the second time except that I had him confused with his supervisor. His supervisor on the first visit was intelligent and wise, though the notes—apparently written by Dr. H–do not reflect this.
I saw Dr. H in August 2009, following almost two years of eye infections which commenced shortly after the surgery of October 2007. Dr. H writes, “The patient states that since her surgery she has had almost constant eye inflammation which…is only improved by putting honey in her eyes…A swab was done of her eye which has grown MRSA and e. Cloacae. She was prescribed tetracycline but never filled the prescription.” Dr. H left out the list of antibiotics I had tried for these infections which had failed. And the fact that my Integrative Medicine GP and his own supervisor had given their blessing to my trial of Manuka honey for the eye infections. My GP had prescribed the tetracycline as a back-up for me to use if the honey failed. I had just begun the honey treatments after nearly 2 years of eye infections. Dr. H’s supervisor had told me to proceed with the honey treatments as taking more antibiotics was not feasible due to my large number of antibiotic-resistant infections. The honey did, in fact, work where the antibiotics failed.
Worse, are Dr. H’s notes from my visit of February 2010, when I saw him for what is almost certainly osteomyelitis: “[She] is a 58f with a history of chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, conjunctivitis…She was seen in August re: chronic conjunctivitis which was felt to be due to chemical conjunctivitis.”
In other words, I created all these infections with my use of honey. The implication is that performing an unnecessary facial bone amputation on a 55-year-old patient is a wise medical decision. However, the use of medicinal honey might cause horrors such as chronic, untreatable infections, horrible pain and facial collapse. There is no medical evidence to suggest that this has ever once occurred, while evidence to suggest that it has occurred from facial bone amputation does exist. What is not explained by this bizarre logic is why I never caused myself terrible infections until after an unnecessary bone amputation from my face. The doctor’s scenario is also not possible since I had just begun the honey treatments but I’d had eye infections for two years—ever since the facial bone amputation. The facts do not support his agenda so he rearranges them.
What is also not explained (though not known by this doctor) is how I managed to raise two healthy children on a regime of natural medicines with no incidents of infections or other ill effects. They were seen by specialists when necessary. One had an appendectomy. One had a tonsillectomy. Neither suffered negative consequences from the use of natural medicines. Neither did I suffer any negative consequences from my use of natural medicines, in my entire adult life, until after an unnecessary bone amputation from my face.