the truth about letters

My recent hospital and health experience has been emotional. I believe (as do many others) that the situation, for the most part, was unavoidable. That isn't to say that appendicitis is avoidable, but the hospitals and doctors did not do their respective jobs. My situation was not handled efficiently, effectively, or within basic medical practice.

For the past few weeks, Ladyfingers has lived and breathed this experience. She felt, along with the support of Dude, Jason and myself (and others too many to name here) that questions needed to be asked, and a thorough investigation into my entire ordeal needs to be made.

On Tuesday, we mailed about a dozen letters, directed towards two hospital CEO's, all doctors involved, and patient advocates. The amount of time, thought, and energy that went into these letters would blow your mind. Every detail was carefully recounted (often more than once) and then put to paper articulately and purposefully.

Among the people who support the letters, there are people who do not. But why? Maybe if you have never gone through such a situation you don't understand. Maybe if you aren't close to someone who has gone through the situation you don't understand. Maybe if you don't allow yourself to open up to the reality and possibility of emotion in life you don't understand. Or maybe you don't understand, if you are afraid of repercussion, or rocking the boat.

The letters are written because the institutions and people employed by the institutions need to be aware that their actions have repercussions. They need to be reminded that they are dealing with human beings, who not only have emotions, but have intricately designed bodies that can be harmed and scarred. Letters have the ability to remind the machine (or the boat) that real people are involved.

And if you are sitting here reading this, thinking to yourself, "So what. Good luck getting a response". Shame on you.

We mailed the letters on Tuesday, and by Thursday evening, we had our first response. My mom and dad, and Jason and I, received an e-mail from the President and CEO of one of the hospitals. He will seek out answers to our questions, and he apologized for the trauma that I went through.

And....if you are still, it isn't a form letter. By acknowledging our letter, he has put himself out there. We know that he knows...the ball may be in his court, but the power is in ours.



Ladyfingers said...
September 7, 2008 at 12:34 p.m.

Very well put Emily. Yes it was an
ordeal writing those letters but the emotional pain that I felt writing them was nothing compared to what you went through and continue to go through every day. If the letters can in any way relieve some of the emotional trauma you suffered,be it in an email a letter or a conversation with someone, then I will have achieved my goal. I am sorry for the "recounting" of incidents. My
old brain has problems with recall.
Your story had to be told accurately. We were naming names and recounting incidents and using test results. Thank you Jason for your young brain. May this bring you some type of closure to the past trauma. I am sorry that you both must now live with the consequences of this medical mistake.


Denver Refashionista said...
September 7, 2008 at 7:04 p.m.

Good for you. I went to the hospital puking blood and they left me in triage for three hours. it turned out I had a tear in my esophagus that almost killed me. Someone does need to hold hospitals accountable.

Emms said...
September 8, 2008 at 12:23 a.m.

recounting is necessary - it not only gets the facts straight, but it actually relieves it from my mind.

That's terrible DF...I'm glad you're okay.

I believe that hospitals have the systems in place to review, and hold people accountable...but we have to use them.

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