Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faxing Away A Year's Worth of Tears

So, I did it. I wrestled with the decision for about two weeks. I cried over it, mulled it over in my mind, pondered several applicable Scriptures, and, of course, talked to and prayed with several trusted friends about the issue. I even mentioned it to my pastor and he prayed for me. We discussed it at Care Group. Was I trusting God by taking this possible course of action? Was I trusting God to issue His justice, as opposed to me circumventing His plan? Was this act stemming from bitterness I was holding onto? And on and on and on I wrestled.Then, I thought of different ways to accomplish a similar purpose, all to no avail. Several friends, by the grace of God, were very direct and helpful to me. Thank you. You know who you are. Finally, I had to sit down, pen and paper in hand, and just do it. Hours and hours later at my computer, probably a whole ink cartridge and a hundred sheets of paper later, it was done.

An eleven page document, a "masterpiece" if you will. I poured everything I had in it to make it thorough and effective in communicating the events of July 13, 2008 and the days that followed. I filed a grievance with my insurance against my former doctor and the hospital that I had Julia at. Please note: it is not my intention, in any way, shape, or form, to reveal the specifics of who and where Julia's birth took place on my blog. I am not confined to HIPAA regulations, but I am confined to a conscience that believes in going through the right channels to "air beefs" so to speak. And so I did.

My insurance will look at my allegations and inform both entities, my former doctor and the hospital, of the grievance. They will have their chance, without having to pay attorneys' fees, to respond to my claims. Apparently, according to the patient advocate that never called me back after 10 weeks (I finally called him), the grievance is taken very seriously by the hospital. After all, the review committee with the insurance is a branch of the American Medical Association and they have the power to go as far as suspending licenses to practice medicine. (I know, though, that the AMA is well-known for protecting their doctors).They can also impose fines. My insurance pays a huge chunk of my former doctor and the hospital's paycheck. It's a big deal. It should be. Julia could have been seriously injured or, even worse, she could have died. (I won't even get into the mental and emotional fallout I suffered from being profoundly traumatized by the whole experience. Those of you close to me know how I've struggled. Thank you for your faithful love and patience with me over this past year. I really needed all of you.) Those parties responsible in any way should have to answer for the decisions and words they made and spoke, or neglected to regarding me and Julia.

But it was heart wrenching for me. The main reason was that I know how sensitive and fearful my former doctor is. Through various conversations I had with him during my pregnancy it became apparent to me that it was hard on him when his patients perceived him to be uncaring,incompetent, or unavailable, even when the patients made foolish choices and he was not to blame. Pleasing his patients, and being thought well of by colleagues and patients, was very important to him. But he has a temper. And he could be selfish at times.

It will be up to my insurance to look over everything I prepared and make their own determination as to whether their "standard of care" was met for me and Julia. I'm not asking for money or an apology. I really get nothing out of it, except the satisfaction of knowing that the details surrounding my delivery and subsequent conversations with my doctor will be exposed and scrutinized. A judgment will be rendered. I will never know what it is. I'm ok with that. I'd rather not know.

As I faxed all eleven pages to my insurance yesterday morning, I saw on my printer screen "Page 1 sent...", "Page 2 sent...", "Page 3 sent...". I felt relief creeping into my soul, page by page - "sent." The burden of feeling powerless and victimized over this last year with no apparent recourse was unbearable. A friend who was praying for me about the situation prayed something like, "Lord, your Word says that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Please help Laura to give this burden to you and take upon herself your easy yoke and light burden." I was so comforted by that prayer. Prayerfully, painfully, and thoughtfully I felt that faxing that eleven page document was giving Jesus my burden. The battle is not over, though. I have to remind myself that I've faxed into God's hands and my insurance's hands my grievance and that it's over for me in a bigger sense. Any remaining issues in my heart God will deal with.

And he will- with his unrelenting love and faithfulness. Thank you, Lord.

I do feel hopeful in a way that I haven't felt in a long time. I believe with all my heart that God will use this for good for my former doctor, the hospital, and all the women who follow in my footsteps to that little corner of the world where my doctor practices medicine. God bless you, Dr. ------. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.

1 comment:

Heather Griffith Brewer said...

Good for you. Though I adhere to no formal religion, I do believe in God. I also believe he works through us, and gives us strength and guidance to do what we need to do. Your "masterpiece" will give you peace of mind, and may provide an invaluable service to future mothers. It is only through exposure to womens events that doctors and hospitals will start considering a mothers welfare, along with covering their butts. I honestly believe that our medical community thinks that just because you go home with a live baby, you are fine and everything was wonderful. I don't think they understand that there is a burden that we take away from traumatic birth experiences. It clouds us, and it takes many years for some of us to come to grips with that burden. By taking the steps that you have taken, you are tackling that burden. Not only on your own behalf, but on the behalf of other mothers. That rocks!
I commend you for being so sensible about it. We live in a sue happy society, and while often it is justified...sometimes it's not. It comes down to what you are able to deal with. Doctors tend to think that they are untouchable, and when you consider what their actions might have caused, it can traumatize you that much more.
Thanks so much for your comment (on my blog), and I will be you in my thoughts.