Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dr. M's Office and Medical Records

A couple weeks ago, I made that trek across town to Dr. M's office. That same trek I've made countless times before to Lake Boone Trail. I had to go sign a paper releasing my medical records. I haven't been back there since my 6-week postpartum check-up in April 2010.

My friend Morgan was so sweet and went with me for what I knew would be a difficult thing to do. The building is right by the birthing center where Lily was born. Everything seemed so familiar, yet strangely so different. Walking down the hallway to the elevator, I saw glimpses of my pregnant self...who I was before my loss. It's coming up on three years since I began my care there. My heart was racing as we got closer to the office. I held up my hands to show Morgan how I was shaking uncontrollably. We made the spontaneous trip after having coffee one afternoon. It was before 5 p.m., so we assumed it would be open. I wished I could just give my permission to release my records over the phone or by mail. But they told me on the phone I had to come in. For some reason, they closed early. The next time, I'd be prepared.

I called to set up a time when I should come in. Morgan went with me that time too. That time, I was nervous and shaking again. I walked in, dreading seeing a pregnant woman in the waiting room. There was no one else there. I was nervous to see the old receptionist, J. Instead, we were greeted by someone I had never met. That was a relief. I asked for the papers that I needed to sign and said I wanted all my medical records, as well as all my daughter's medical records. I stressed this because I didn't want them to leave anything out. She looked at me and then Morgan with a look of confusion. She then asked if Morgan was my daughter...umm, okay? How observant people are, I tell ya. Morgan is older than me, which maybe you can't tell just by looking at us. But, you can certainly tell we are around the same age. I then said, "no, I mean my daughter who was stillborn while under the care of this practice." She then gave me a clipboard with papers to sign. I took it, still shaking and hoping she didn't notice. I sat down in that same spot I sat in so many times. I took a moment to look around me at the waiting room and all the familiar sights. Morgan helped me decide what I needed to check and sign. Then, I handed it back to the receptionist and left. I made sure once again before leaving that there was nothing else I needed to do but wait. She assured me there wasn't. I didn't want to have to go back into that office again. The place that once held so many happy times is now a reminder of my hopes and dreams that all died with Lily on a stormy day in mid-March. I thought the office visit went quite well. I didn't see anyone that I knew and no pregnant woman or new baby was in the waiting room. I was in and out of there quickly. And I had a friend there that understood why it was difficult for me and supported me.

The receptionist told me a company comes in to deal with medical records and they would make the copies and send it directly to me in the mail. I don't know why I waited so long to get them. It honestly never really crossed my mind. I guess I didn't really know what would be in the records. My friend Morgan told me that all my information from each visit would be in my records and that made me really want them. Lily's heartbeat, my measurements...I cling to any little thing I can know and have.

A few days later, I got a call from that receptionist from Dr. M's office. She informed me that she had given me the wrong paper to sign and that I'd need to come back in to sign something else. I was quite frustrated with this. How careless and unprofessional is that? First of all, it's not exactly convenient for me to drive across town again to go sign something. And it's emotionally hard to go into that office...again. That time I went in alone and there were pregnant women waiting. They all stared at me as I came in and walked right to the front desk with the sliding glass door. The receptionist came out quickly and had the paper all ready for my signature. As I was signing, I heard the door open and B came out to call a patient back. She was one of the people that worked there when I was a patient. It felt really awkward because I know she saw me. I wonder if she recognized me? I didn't say anything and tried not to make eye contact. It's just overall uncomfortable for me to be there. I can't imagine women that continue their care with the same doctor who they were seeing when they had a loss.

I decided to go over to the hospital to get Lily's autopsy results because the receptionist was unable to tell me if those would be included in my medical records. Don't you think people should know things like this if they have that position?

Anyways, after three trips to Dr. M's office and one to the hospital medical records office, I finally got both mine and Lily's records....that's an entire post in itself. Sigh.

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This post left me:

9 comments:

  1. It sounds exhausting, I am so sorry it was so much trouble. I have read some of my records and it is pretty discouraging. Praying you find peace and hope in looking them over.

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  2. I feel for you. It IS hard. I had no choice but to stay with the same practice for my rainbow so soon after losing Noah. In fact, many of my appts were in the same room as I had been in with him. And when I delivered my rainbow, not only was it the same day on Noah's 1st birthday, but in the same hospital room that he was born, lived in and died with much of the same staff. It's SO tough. Huge ((hugs))

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  3. I have not returned to my doctor since my six week check up. I too would like to obtain my medical records as well. I am so sorry it was so involved to get the records. I think I am scared of the same happening to me. At my six week checkup the receptionist was clueless as to why I was there. I had to announce out loud that my baby died. So insensitive.

    I hope the records provide information or at least some comfort of your baby girl's history. ((Hugs))

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  4. Glad I could be there to support you during those difficult trips to the office. It was a little nerve-wracking for me, I can't imagine how you were feeling being in that office. You did great though! I'm proud of you for facing a fear, so you could get the information you needed. So sorry you had to go back yet a third time. Ugh, how frustrating.

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  5. You are an inspiration to many and you are blessed. Recently you inspired me to, after 30+ years, to apply for birth and death certificates on my Nathan Andrew (he only lived two hours). Unfortunately, after finally getting up the nerve to do it, I get notice from the state that they cannot find the records...that, for some reason, the hospital never got them recorded. I'm pretty frustrated over that, but, guess I don't need them to prove his existence. I do have his footprints. I guess that will have to be enough. Would love to get a tiny footprints necklace someday and may make my own birth certificate. Will continue to think on that. :'(

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  6. So sorry you had to go through that, Hannah. Did the autopsy reveal the cause of Lily's death?

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  7. this is ridiculous.. it should be easier for you. i know what you mean about continuing care with the same doctor.. while i am still technically seeing the same doctor.. i had two. dr. allen and dr. cameron. i saw cameron through my pregnancy. dr.cameron is now on maternity leave.. she was due on my Lily's due date. which i only found out when i went back to see her AFTER losing Lily. i now see allen and the nurse practinioner.. it's been amazing to not have to see the other doctor.. while i know logically it wasn't her fault.. i can't help but hold a distasteful opinion.. she was more careless and listened less. many hugs you to♥

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  8. Hannah I feel for you.....it took me about a year and a half after my twins were stillborn to request my (their) records from both my OB and the Perinatologist. My OB was fantastic. Wish I could say the same for the perinatal doc. Took another 6 months of calling, not having messages returned, emailing, no reply, faxing, no reply,etc etc etc before my records ....well....some of them anyway were finally mailed TO THE WRONG ADDRESS!!! Thank goodness an honest neighbor in my development got them and promptly brought the envelope to me. I was floored. WHO DOES THIS??? Sometimes it seems there is no end to what we must endure. ♥ hugs to you sweetie.

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  9. I'm glad you have those records. I have Carleigh's from the hospital but not the dr's office (her practiced closed and no one has really gotten their records)

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