How to Talk to a Surgeon, Episode 759
February 18, 2012 6:42 PM Subscribe
I had reconstructive surgery to close a carcinoma wound this week and the surgeon rushed and botched the stitching. I did everything I could think of to have it seen. Now I don't want to see him for my scheduled appointment next week. I also have to keep things open with insurance and other area surgeons for a possible scar correction after a year. More inside.
posted by R2WeTwo to health & fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Five days ago a plastic surgeon rushed my reconstruction after skin cancer. I was out in fifteen minutes after being told it would take about 45. I was his last of the day and he was already two hours late byt the time he reached me.
My sutures—about eight—bled for several hours so I didn’t notice, until I could rinse about 29 hours later, that the stitches are a mess. In the area over the deep Mohs wound there was just a thin, transparent layer of almost-skin and high above, where it should have been easiest to manage, he sutured together the layers beneath the skin resulting in a large, purple bulb of tissue sticking out and sort of strangled between two sutures. This is where the worst pain is now, four days later, and I suspect this is where I’l see the worst scarring. There are two stitches that are well done, where both ends of skin match up and are level, so I know what to compare the others to.
I called his office yesterday. Before I could get anything specific out the nurse stopped me and insisted that everything is normal. She wasn’t interested in any details, just in getting me off the phone. I told her she would have had more credibility if she’d listened to even one detail but she didn’t seem to understand this, just persisted with the railroading effort. Unfortunately it seemed well practiced.
In recent months I’ve learned what can happen when doctors don’t take our concerns seriously. Shortness of breath reported for many months landed me in the hospital for three days with pulmonary emboli, and the skin flap itself was necessary because the same doctor (our family physician for years and retiring soon) froze a tiny lesion without biopsy around the same time. When it failed to heal well he sent me to a derm. who recognized it as skin cancer at first glance. By then it was much larger and deeper. The wound was very disturbing to look at, if you’ve never seen one. It was the doctor’s and nurses in the hospital and since who convinced me that I’d dodged a bullet. They were full of questions about how it could have gotten so far. This is to hopefully ellude any suggestions from fellow MeFites that Im over-reacting.
When the plastic surgeon’s office wouldn’t listen to me I called the Mohs surgeon’s office, explained my concerns and offered to take a photo and post it to a secure page for review. I just wanted a second opinion about how it looks. Eventually someone from his office called and told me to go back to the offending surgeon.
I feel just as I did with the other recent medical issues. I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. That may seem dramatic it is right between and above my eyes, formerly my best feature. I dread seeing the plastic surgeon for my scheduled appointment Tuesday, am tempted to remove the sutures myself (I have some training) and cancel it. I couldn’t bear more of his “I’m an important surgeon and you are nothing” attitude and I don’t want him near me medically. I’m I’m also kicking myself for not trusting my gut at the original “appointment” when we saw him for five seconds. He removed one end of the simple dressing I had and couldn’t put it back. I reached up and did it and he was gone, leaving the nurse/assitant to do everything. She, also, moved very quickly though there were very few people in the office. FYI, he’s established in the community, has been doing this for fifteen years. I did a quick Google search before surgery and there were no reviews.
Since writing this earlier today he's taken me off the antibiotic he gives everyone automatically. Can quitting Cephalexin after 1500mg per day (550 x 3) for four days hurt me? I asked for a substitution, an antibiotic I do very well with, and he said "It's too broad-spectrum and expensive." I know for a fact that he gave it to another patient because she mentioned it in the waiting room.
What would you do at this point?