Some self loathing, some guilt, and a whole lot of venting (Written by an L&D nurse and future CNM)
What really goads me: a woman presents for induction of labor at term. She gets a prostaglandin gel placed for cervical ripening. It works too well, causing tetanic contractions. The baby crumps. We work to fix the horrendously long contraction and help the baby recover. The worst part of it all? She and her husband verbalize that they have *no clue!* why she was being induced. NO CLUE. She’s not overdue. She’s not having pregnancy complications. No medical complications. Just a normal pregnancy for a normal woman. WHY did they go along with the induction? Because the doctor told them they were going to induce her labor. Yes, full and complete trust in the physician. No informed consent on what the induction actually entails, and the risks involved. They had no clue that something like this could happen (and does happen often, especially with certain physicians).
Do you know how many times the above scenario happens where I am? All the freaking time. Sometimes several times a week - that I know about. Mind you, I’m only there 4 shifts per week. What’s going on the rest of the week? Same shit, I guarantee it.
Chop Shop (written by a future Nurse Practitioner)
She’s dreamt of this day for nine months. Read all the books about what to ‘expect’ and yet there was no chapter on giving up rights. There was no chapter on becoming powerless.
Once her water breaks, she can’t leave her bed. Once we give you pitocin or an epidural, don’t even think about moving. Psychiatric patients are never put in restraints, never tied down (except for the worst of the worst situations) because it is “cruel and unusual punishment”. But laboring women? Laboring women are put in medical restraints. Pharmacologic restraints. We pump medicine through an IV, shove it into the space in your spine and say DON’T MOVE. YOU CANNOT MOVE. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT FUCKING MOVING.
We don’t care that you hurt. We don’t care that it’s better and safer for the baby and for you to move, move, move. You can’t move. It’s hospital “policy”. “Policy” that was created for the convenience of clinical staff. There is zero evidence saying this is a good idea. In fact, the evidence states quite the contrary. To move, move, move. To shift positions and let gravity help you. To take a walk and have a massage and lay in a bathtub. Actual scientific evidence tells us that this is what women SHOULD be doing. Instead, the medical establishment drips an IV, pushes the meds and takes choice away from women. Every second of every minute of every hour in this country a woman’s choice is being ripped from her.
How doctors suffer during medical malpractice litigation (via Kevin MD)
Patients, of course, suffer the most. But doctors aren’t spared either. It’s been written previously that doctors suffer significant emotional turmoil after being sued, and in fact, a good percentage even contemplate suicide.
In a recent New York Times essay, physician Joan Savitsky talks about her own ordeal. She discusses how being sued affected not only her, but other patients as well:
If [a medical mistake] happens, you have to integrate the experience, but for a while you lose your bearings. It is discombobulating. When this is followed by litigation, the effect can be paralyzing. And the lawsuit felt like an assault. Being sued, even with assurances that “it’s nothing personal” and that my insurance would most likely cover any settlement, was in fact deeply personal. The experience was devastating.
Our medical malpractice system does injured patients a disservice, and does little to fairly compensate them. Less publicized is how it affects doctors.