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I need to make an official complaint - experience/advice?

(40 Posts)
SeriousStuff Sun 27-Dec-15 01:54:53

Sorry for the essay below but I really need some advice. I'm on a separate thread here as I received a confirmed mc on Christmas eve, but the reason for this thread is because I need to file an official complaint against the Dr who dealt with me. This is how it went:

* We got to the EPU on Christmas eve and didn't have to wait long at all. While we were waiting, however, we heard the nurse talking to the Dr who was about to see us and she was telling him that he had 3 appointments that morning, and he sounded very inconvenienced by this - not the best start when you're terrified by what you may just find out about your baby.

* The nurse called us in and the Dr didn't look up from whatever he was doing. I (and DH) stood there for a good 30-40 seconds before he told me to sit down and even then, didn't look up. He was still writing notes and I could clearly see the scan from the previous patient.

* He started asking Qs/filling in the form and at no point did he try to put me at ease. At one point, when I told him that I was passing blood clots, he made a noise that suggested that wasn't a good thing. Surely, he should've just kept quiet.

* Had the internal scan and he said nothing throughout - I could tell that there wasn't anything there but he said nothing about what he was doing or looking for then when he'd finished, just told me to get dressed and he'd talk to me when I was dressed and back round the other side of the curtain. He left. I lay there, inconsolable as I knew what he was going to say. Trying to compose myself, the nurse tried to comfort me and I asked DH to go and speak to him. DH went and asked him what was going on and all he said to DH was "I haven't told her anything yet". As if to say I was jumping to conclusions.

* I finally got dressed and went to speak to him and was told it was an incomplete pregnancy. All very matter of fact. No empathy whatsoever. Said a very insincere "I'm sorry" right at the end when I was bawling my eyes out.

* He left. Nurse left to in order to photocopy my notes for a follow-up appointment. She came back and DH told her that he thought someone should have a word with him and she said that she just had and that's why she took so long. She apologised to us for the way he'd been.

I am in no doubt that the way he treated me and my husband made the whole experience ten times worse. I want to make an official complaint as I don't want anyone else to have to go through that. Surely you work in EPU you should have some bedside manner/empathy. But how should I go about it? Who should I complain to and what should I expect of them?

thundernlightning Sun 27-Dec-15 02:28:15

No idea where to begin, but didn't want to read and run. My sympathies, OP. That was an awful way to be treated in such a difficult situation. Definitely complain. And I'm so sorry for what you've been through. flowers

BingoBonkers Sun 27-Dec-15 02:39:15

I'm so sorry for your loss. Devastating. Handled extremely poorly and far from professional.

I think contact PALS perhaps as they could advise?

SeriousStuff Sun 27-Dec-15 10:35:53

Thanks both x

Maple14 Sun 27-Dec-15 10:46:21

You should definitely complain. Our treatment 2 weeks ago was so completely opposite to what you had to experience and I feel the amazing support we had from all the NHS staff who dealt with us has made the whole thing a lot easier to cope with. I feel very sad that you have had to go through something so difficult with very poor treatment.

Maybe the Miscarriage Association could help advise? Otherwise there should be a complaints contact at the hospital in question.

DangerMouth Sun 27-Dec-15 10:46:37

The problem is he sees many couples in this situation and he sounds like he's become desensitised to how utterly devastating this news is. I am sorry for your loss flowers

I'm not sure who to complain to but l hope someone comes along soon who can help.

i have this theory with older midwives too. I think when you literally have seen it all day in day out you can loose your ability to be empathetic and just try to get on with the job. Absolutely no excuse and that's when l think they need to be rotated off.

JE1234 Sun 27-Dec-15 10:52:36

I'm so sorry for your loss *Serious*, the doctor absolutely should have broken the news more gently. If you speak to PALS they can advise you on the complaints policy at the hospital. Sadly I wouldn't expect much of a response from the hospital, thankfully the fact the midwife called him out on it may make the difference to his behaviour. I went through the NHS complaints system after a doctor's negligence killed my mother, confirmed by the coroner, and still didn't get an apology despite the doctor admitting fault.

SisterViktorine Sun 27-Dec-15 10:53:26

I am so sorry for your loss.

However, I think you received timely, competent, free medical care. Doctors are humans- he may have been having a really bad day. Maybe he had had bad news that day too? Or maybe he just isn't the most empathic human being out there, many doctors aren't.

It sounds like the nurse was nice. Whilst your care may not have been ideal I don't think you do have grounds for complaint.

Hope you are looking after yourselves. flowers

Costacoffeeplease Sun 27-Dec-15 11:31:49

I'm also not sure what the complaint would be?

You were seen quickly, he may not have been the most empathetic doctor, but it's his job, day in day out, probably seeing hundreds of patients a week. He's not a counsellor or there to hold your hand, just to give medical opinion and advice

I'm sorry you're upset, and it's a difficult time, but it sounds like a fairly normal appointment to me really

abbsismyhero Sun 27-Dec-15 11:35:49

he needs to rotate away from this field for awhile as it sounds like he has become totally desensitized to the situation

perhaps not a complaint as such but a suggestion to him

i really cant see how you will be able to make a formal complaint about this im sorry

MiscellaneousAssortment Sun 27-Dec-15 11:43:18

Normal if your expectations are for a doctor to not even pretend to give a shit about the human in front of him.

Normal if you believe a doctors job is to isolate body parts from humanity and just deal with flesh & bone, vs mind and body.

Normal if you believe doctors shouldn't give a shit about their patients wellbeing.

OP, I'm glad you're thinking of complaining. This isn't acceptable and the damage this 'professional' has done outweighs any positive contribution to your health. Doctors are supposed to believe in first 'do no harm'. By his uncaring and unprofessional behaviour and attitude he has done harm.

If he can't bring himself to give a shit about miscarriage and loss, perhaps he should get another job.

SeriousStuff Sun 27-Dec-15 11:46:36

It was Christmas eve (compounding the awfulness of the situation), any idiot could see that I was already a bag of nerves and a mess of emotion even before the scan. To not even attempt to put me at ease and then be so rude to my husband really hurt. EPU is the last place he should be working if he can't be human about it.

hownottofuckup Sun 27-Dec-15 11:54:07

I'm so sorry for your loss flowers

I'm sorry too that the Dr didn't show you more empathy. The only thing I would say is I can see why the Dr would have thought it preferable to speak to you re the scan once you were dressed and sat with DH rather than during an internal scan.

However, that doesn't excuse a generally poor 'bedside manner'. If you feel you need to complain, check the hospitals website there is usually the relevant info on there, and contact PALS.

cece Sun 27-Dec-15 12:05:33

Having suffered losses myself I think that often a more matter of fact approach is common. Personally I would prefer this as someone being overly kind to me would be too upsetting for me. We are all different. I also think it is perfectly normal to wait till after the scan to discuss the results. I have never had anyone explain or talk to me during the scan. I always assumed they were concentrating on what they were doing.

You didn't like his manner. However, I am not entirely sure you have grounds for a formal complaint.

I am sorry for your loss and completely understand how devastating it can be. Why not ask to speak with their baby loss counsellor?

Floralnomad Sun 27-Dec-15 12:14:26

Sorry for your loss but I agree with other posters who say that the only thing you are complaining about is his 'bedside manner' and quite honestly he dealt with you in a professional manner . The fact that it was Christmas makes no difference to anyone but you and your family , sorry if that sounds harsh ( and I have had a mc so do know what it's like ) .

YouStillLookLikeAMovie Sun 27-Dec-15 12:20:23

I had a similar experience (but plus some other stuff). I agree that your complaint is poor bedside manner (it would be appalling procedure to start an in depth conversation with you half dressed ).

If you wish to complain (which I did about he other stuff ) there should be an online form or contact details on the hospital website.

firsttimekat Sun 27-Dec-15 12:34:32

I'm really sorry for your loss and know that poor treatment doesn't help.

Complain via PALS for your hospital, the details should be online. However you might not find the process much help I certainly didn't. When complaining about pregnancy related care I didn't find the long response that just detailed the care they had given and that didn't address my complaint or offer an apology helpful and actually more upsetting having to relive it a couple of times. So be clear about what you want out of the process and be prepared for a response that does apologise.

Sixweekstowait Sun 27-Dec-15 12:36:30

OP - I'm very touched by the fact that you want to complain at such a said time. I would agree that using PALs is the best way to go. I'm shocked at some of the comments on here - quite frankly they don't know what they are talking about. Para 46 of Good Medical Practice says ' you must be polite and considerate' - he wasn't and that by itself is enough for the basis of your complaint. The chances are that he is always like this, his colleagues, the midwives, the nurses are no doubt waiting for someone to complain so his practice can be examined. Bedside manner affects clinical care enormously- it's not an optional extra. When I complain I always say what should have happened and why not just what was wrong. That way you are not just being negative but offering positive suggestions. Good luck

Sixweekstowait Sun 27-Dec-15 12:38:14

It never hurts to quote the relevant parts of GMP btw

SisterViktorine Sun 27-Dec-15 12:49:09

You are understandably feeling incredibly angry and sad as you grieve for the loss of your pregnancy.

Maybe you are trying to pin the source of these feelings on the behaviour of the doctor. Is it really about him though, or is it about the awful thing that has just happened to you at what should be a lovely, happy time?

As a PP said, I personally would much prefer a very matter of fact approach from a doctor. I'm not sure he treated you badly as opposed to just not the way you would ideally have liked. Finishing off notes for 30 seconds with the next client in the room isn't perfect, but in the scheme of things isn't the end of the world.

Sixweekstowait Sun 27-Dec-15 13:26:20

He should have finished the notes before calling OP in, then he could have looked up and greeted her as she walked in, both he and the midwife should have made sure their conversation couldn't be overheard, there should have been a little 'free' talk before he started with the questionnaire, you can be both matter of fact and show consideration, no one thinks he should have started sobbing with her. The silence during the scan is probably for a good reason so he could have said - I'm going to do the scan now, I need to concentrate on what I am seeing so will talk it through with you when I've finished' None of this is in advanced skills for doctors - it's basic stuff. There's interesting research that shows how doctors deliver bad news has a long term impact on how the patient deals with it - again basic stuff- if you are working in an area where you may well have to deliver such news, you should damn well be expected to be able to do it competently - otherwise, go off into research or the pathology lab

Sixweekstowait Sun 27-Dec-15 13:28:43

And Sister- OPs feelings can be a mixture of what happened to her AND the doctor's behaviour - not just the former

Floralnomad Sun 27-Dec-15 14:17:13

bourdic , I can't see anything in the OP where the Dr was actually rude , she construed his response to her husband as rude , it wasn't actually rude . The nurse called her in ,how do we actually know the Dr had asked her to do so , she may have thought he was ready , if the nurse felt it was wrong for him to still be writing the previous patients notes she should have waited a few more seconds before she called the OP . I'm sorry that the OP feels she was poorly treated but many people actually prefer this type of detached approach .

iklboo Sun 27-Dec-15 15:11:51

Sort for your loss OP. It sounds like the doctor did his job as a doctor - but skipped all the human touches.

Start by complaining to PALS at the hospital.

Twinkie1 Sun 27-Dec-15 15:21:17

Sorry for your loss but I also am a bit bewildered as to what you are complaining about.

I've experienced bad news during pregnant, mine and others and I have to say the direct approach is one I would rather.

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