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Case study: Doctor-patient intimidation

MagazineOctober 1994 (Vol. 5 Issue 7)Case study: Doctor-patient intimidation

I had a very early menopause, aged 36

I had a very early menopause, aged 36. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid, and when my periods stopped the back pains started.

Although I suffered from constant back pain, I forced myself to go to work because we needed the money. Because Dr M did not believe that I was in pain, he would not give me a sick note.As the pain worsened, Dr M was very dismissive and implied that I was imagining it. I too began to think it was all in my mind. But I often found myself stuck in a certain position and unable to move until my husband returned. Once at work I dared not move, even to go to the toilet, as I knew the pain would be unbearable.

Dr M finally became very angry and refused to see me. Then the letter arrived from the medical board telling me my husband and I had been struck off Dr M's panel. I was so ashamed to receive such a letter I did not tell anyone.

I was then forced to stop work. When I needed a further prescription for my thyroxine tablets, we telephoned other surgeries to try to make an appointment. Some flatly refused, saying we must have done something wrong to have been taken off a doctor's list.

The last surgery in a nearby town said they would take us on, but only after enquiring as to why we had been struck off the other doctor's list. You cannot imagine the fear and worry this caused me.

My new doctor was everything Dr M had not been. She listened to me and arranged for tests to be done. I was finally diagnosed as having osteoporosis.

Nevertheless, because Dr M did not certificate my illness I was unable to claim a retirement pension at 60 or register as disabled.

Today, I still am afraid to tell my doctors how bad the pain still is, because they, too, may refuse to treat me. I shall never know if my husband, who died six years ago, suffered unnecessarily because he also was afraid to complain too much. M J L, Kettering.


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