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Question
Posted by: Alex | 2008/07/03

Incompetent Surgeons

Dear CyberShrink,
My 29 year old daughter has Endometrioses in a big way. (You may recall translating a radiologist’s report into layman’s terms for me some time ago - thank you). She has just undergone a second operation (5 weeks ago) but the same cysts have since already regrown. Yesterday, a fertility specialist informed us that the first two surgeons had merely drained the growths - as apposed to having removed them. Nothing was done to combat the disease or prevent its reoccurrence. Despite all the pain, suffering and enormous sums of money spent, we are back at square one.
Is this ethical medical practice?
Needless to say, my childless daughter is now also a psychiatric wreck.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hard to say what happened, Alex. It's years since I last did any gynae. I'd guess that perhaps the first surgeons may have limited what they did in order to try to preserve a greater degree of fertility ? SO much depends on where the endometriosis was growing and intruding. Whatever, they did have an ethical duty to inform your daughter ( and, depending on her age, you her parents ) what exactly they had found, what they had or had not donw, and what the outlook was. SOmetimes that happens but we're too upset and stressed at the time to take it all in, so I generally recommend that they then ask the patient to explain it back to them, to check whether the essence of the message was understood.
On the personal front, presumbaly she deserves to see a good shrink or counsellor to help her cope better, and the new doc will presumably explain to her exactly what he has and hasn't found and what his recommendations are. I don;t recall a procedure for "draining the growths", but do recall that endometriosis can be a stubborn condition to deal with. And surgeons especially, are rarely knwon for doing too little, rather than too much. Maybe best to ask our H24 Gynaedoc for more specific advice.

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Our users say:
Posted by: aNNa | 2008/07/03

This happened to me - they didn't even bother to tell me I had endometrisosis, just had me come in every six months at R5000 a time, general anaesthetic etc to have the cysts (on average 7cms) aspirated.

The last time I went to this particular gynae he didn't even bother to aspirate (drain) a small cyst which exploded inside me 7 months later. Turned out to be a hidden blessing because I was rushed to Sunninghill Hosp and had an emergency op done by the house surgeon who couldn't believe his eyes - I'd had endometriosis all along, it had even healed and left scarring in places! I ended up having to have a full hysterectomy (ovaries too) at 38 and have been on HRT ever since. Take her for a second opinion SOON.

If I knew then what I know now I would have laid criminal charges against the gynae - fraud, reckless endangerment and negligence.

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