Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Living 28 years longer than prognosticated, and counting!

Posted In: Medical Errors 0 Replies
  • Posted By: BrainlessBaby
  • April 6, 2008
  • 10:46 PM

Hi everyone:

I thought I'd share a really positive story about a misdiagnosis for once. I don't really remember this myself, since I was a newborn, but my parents told me about it.

When I was born, my mother and I went through prolonged labor. I don't know why this was the case, but somehow the doctors and nurses didn't take care of us because it was winter and there were a lot of accidents, and somehow i kept turning in my mother's womb. When I was finally delivered, I came out somewhat with the back of my head first.

A day later, there was swelling on the back of my head, and it got worse. When my mother was to be released, the attending physician, who was also the leading doctor and "poster boy" of the delivery ward, said that my skull had formed improperly, that there was a gap, and that a part of my brain was outside the skull. He said my parents should be happy if I live for two weeks.

My father, not a medical professional at all, read all kinds of books, and finally found something that sounded like a possibility: He thought it could be a cephalhematoma, a bleeding OUTSIDE the skull, between the bone and the "skin of the bone" (there are really two types of skin in the skull, or anywhere where bones are close to the the outside; the first, outer one is the normal skin, but the bone itself is enclosed in some kind of skin too). My parents tried to get me back into the hospital, but at that hospital, no one would take care of me. I had been written off, so to speak.

Then, on New Year's eve, which was close to my "expiration date", my parents got severe GI problems and diarrhea. They called for an ambulance, and fortunately, the emergency physician on that ambulance was a nice, understanding young man. My parents explained that only they had diarrhea, that I was fine, except for that big bulge on the back of my head. They asked if he could get me admitted under the guise of diarrhea, which can be life-threatening for infants, so that my head could be re-examined. He agreed.

My father was right, it was just a bleeding close, but outside the skull. It was punctured and drained, and that was it. The previous attending hadn't even bothered to do an x-ray before giving such a harsh diagnosis and then kicking us out. Later, my father went back to the first hospital and confronted the attending, but he didn't talk to him, threatened to get my father arrested, and said if my father ever set foot in the clinic again, he would be arrested for trespassing.

Several years ago, when I decided to shave my head, I noticed that I had reddish skin, something like a birthmark on the back of my head. I guess it's where the bleeding was. I have had some problems with my spine, neck and my posture my whole life, but other than that, I'm fine.

I've so far outlived the prognosis by over 28 years. You have no idea how much I'd like to tell that to the doctor, but I'm in another country now, and chances are that HE is dead by now.

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