We mostly hear of medical errors that occur in hospital. Like a car accident, there is one incident one can point to or a specific error that caused harm. I became disabled several years ago at age 50 at the height of my career due to failure to diagnose by dozens of physicians I visited as an outpatient. I became the doctors' hot potato with one specialist finding something wrong in another specialist's field and that specialist finding something else wrong but it wasn't his field and so on. The experience not only caused irreparable harm to my health, but devastated me financially as I spent every penny I had believing that I would find a compassionate doctor who would help me get better so that I could go back to work. I didn't find one in time. To make matters worse, my primary care doctor of two decades was sure that my symptoms were all attributed to anxiety. So she had me taking Prozac, an SSRI now shown to cause massive bone degeneration. I became so ill in 2003, I was fired from my job as a real estate broker. It took years before I qualified for SSDI and then another year to get Medicare. By 2009, I had self diagnosed by assembling my medical records and researching all the positive test results doctors ignored. It turned out that the doctors weren't doing the right tests to diagnose chronic colonic inertia (Hirschsprung's disease) and multiple infections that arose from going untreated. They were each repeating the same common tests that doctors are taught to perform for screening over and over again. The static x-rays, colonoscopies, CT scans, and such are all still snapshots that give no indication of whether the patient's organs are functioning. In my case, they showed abnormalties, but none of the doctors knew what to make of it, so they ignored findings. To correctly diagnose problems with the colon (other than cancer screening), you need to perform dynamic MRIs or defecographies (x-rays showing the patient's colon in motion). You need to x-ray over time radiographic transit markers to check motility. It is unbelievable to me that none of the doctors I saw knew or thought to refer me to a colon surgeon for proper testing and evaluation. I had to get on original Medicare so that I could go out of the area (Northern Virginia) and go to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio where physicians are salaried on annual contracts. This was three surgeries ago. I'm due for my fourth next month for extraneous problems that occur when broken things linger too long. (A stitch in time saves nine.) I have no recourse to recoup any of my financial losses. I've filed bankruptcy and still may lose my home. In Virginia, you have to file a medical malpractice action within two years of the injury. My injury was failure to diagnose and the only way I could prove this was to get diagnosed. That took several years -- many more years than the law allows for recourse. When people say there is no accountability in medical practice, I am a clear example. I'm sure all the doctors I saw have me written up in their records as perfectly healthy. I know. I have copies of their records. Now I am struggling to get the care I need because Medicare doesn't cover all that a patient needs to regain health. It's a strange feeling being little more than a statistic that isn't even counted.
What do you think of this story?
Select one of the options below. Your feedback will help tell CNN producers what to do with this iReport. If you'd like, you can explain your choice in the comments below.
Be and editor! Choose an option below: