Feb 102013

“Nope, no baby there.” – Radiologist immediately upon walking into a dark ultrasound room, where the parents had been waiting 20 minutes after the ultrasound tech left abruptly without a word.

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 February 10, 2013  pregnancy loss, Ultrasound  Add comments

  38 Responses to ““Nope, No Baby There.””

  1. ::headdesk::

    OP, I’m so sorry your loss was treated this disrespectfully.

  2. Uh… Are you even a doctor? Because you sound and act like a janitor.

    (So sorry you had to deal with Dr.Jerkface, OP)

  3. What is with people in medicine?? Are they instructed in school to do away with their common sense and sympathy? Or, are they programmed to act like this via subliminal messaging or other mind-control tactics? Amazes me that complete idiots can recognize that this kind of treatment of patients is wrong, but highly educated experts are oblivious to it.

    I’m so sorry OP for what that fool did to you. And I hope you reported him/her to whomever runs that place.

    • Have you ever broken bad news of that magnitude?

      • What does that have anything to do with it? There’s a certain way to relay bad news in a professional manner, this wasn’t it. This is another example why people are distrustful of the medical field.

      • I have, and I did an absolutely terrible job. I was 23, inexperienced, and very stupid. I was so caught up in my own experience that I somehow failed to think for even one small moment about how that person would feel when they heard about the death of a child they knew and loved. Now, 13 years later, I still regret it and feel terribly guilty. But it only took that one experience to learn to get over myself, put myself in the Hayes of others, and have some fricking compassion.

        Since then, I’ve received similar bad news myself, on more an one occasion. And I’m grateful that the professionals breaking it to me did so with incredible sensitivity, tact, care, and even love. Because it’s part of their job to do so, to CARE for their patients, and they were good at their jobs.

      • The fact is that doctors know they will need to break news of this magnitude every once in a while. So do police officers, lawyers, ambulance drivers, etc. And that’s why people prepare in advance for the need to do this sort of thing. Caring people who know they may need to do this someday will practice, prepare a script, and work on delivering the news in the gentlest way possible.

        “Nope, no baby there” is not one of those ways.

        • They are a Radiologist,they don’t have to break bad news that often, they usually don’t even see people 99% of the time.

          • Respectfully, I beg to differ. On the anencephaly support group, most of us were told our babies’ diagnosis by the radiologist. The tech would typically get quiet, go leave the room, get the radiologist, and the radiologist would say, “Your baby has anencephaly.” That’s exactly how it happened with me, and it happens often enough that a radiologist should at least know it’s possible. (I thought that’s what a “wet read” was — the radiologist tells you right there what s/he has found.)

            And knowing they’ll have to break bad news, even if it’s not “that often,” they should know how to do it. They should at least know “Nope, no baby there” is a lousy way to do it. The same way it would be wrong to tell this radiologist her husband had died by saying, “So I guess now you’re Widow Smith!”

          • I am so sorry for you loss Jane.

            I know when I say radiologists I am speaking only for the ones I know in my region.

      • I realize you’re still in med-school. But you are entering the health CARE field. That means you as a person and medical provider have to CARE about your patient’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. You have to think before you speak.

        I’m “just” a nurse. I haven’t seen your Code of Ethics, but ours emphasizes the importance of maintaining the basic human dignity of our patients, and treating them with respect and compassion. We’re human. We often fail. That doesn’t excuse us, or the doctors (or med students), from continuing to try.

        And, yes, delivering bad news is hard. It’s awkward and there is no easy way to do it (at least none that a decent human being should choose). You have to plan for it, stop before you walk into the room, think about what you are going to say to the people (your equals) who will hear these life-altering words, take a deep breath, and then go in and do your best to be respectful and kind. And if you get it wrong, don’t make excuses for yourself – just learn from it and promise yourself to do better next time.

        • I know I am entering the healthcare field, and that giving bad news is part of my job, but I also know people under stress make mistakes and that radiologists usually don’t give bad news.

          Also I don’t think nurses are any less then me so no need to pull the “just” a nurse junk out either. I never said I was any better then your field or even my patients, I have been in their position plenty of times.

          • you think you know that radiologist don’t give much bad news, but you have been proven wrong by a mom who has been on the receiving end and you still won’t shut up. You don’t know near as much as you think you know. You re still living in the idealized world of a student and need to shut up and listen more often. The arrogance is just astounding!

          • I forget how far apart we are, in my region radiologist don’t give the news, apparently in other regions they do. I forgot that and I WAS WRONG. I apologize for that. As for me continuing to post on these boards, well first of all I respond in batches so, I didn’t see Jane’s post until after I dealt with the mob. I admit I am still a student still learning, and I am sure the future holds a lot of changes in the way I see the world (after all just 6 years ago I wanted to be a CPM.). That does not mean I am going to “sit down and shut up” until someone else deems me worthy to speak, especially not on the internet, I do enough of that in my real life.

          • You said, “I also know people under stress make mistakes and that radiologists usually don’t give bad news.”

            But like I told you before, people will sometimes make mistakes, but in this field we don’t get to make excuses (like you’re doing). We just get to learn from them and NOT do it again!

          • I know we learn from our mistakes, I am sure the radiologist was called out by a co-worker and learned about their mistake, so they were better in the future. I personally wouldn’t drop news in that way. If that is the only thing we do, then what is this site, where people anonymously talk about and bash their provider for? Who learns from this, especially since they may never know what happens here.

      • yes, yes I have. And after you have done it twice you should have clue one. Anybody who has completed their residency should have clue one. The fact that you havn’t gotten there yet indicates to me just how far you have to go in your training. And yet you still keep popping off with justifications for doing a terrible job rather than asking for suggestions as to what works and what doesn’t. Sad just sad.

      • You don’t need to have broken news that is THAT bad to have a sense of common human decency, compassion, and sensitivity.

      • Actually, yes, I have had to break news of that magnitude to a couple of people, and it was by far the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do. But the key was to not make it about me or my feelings (or lack thereof, if the case warranted it). It was about the person I was breaking the bad news to. I took the time to carefully choose my words to get the information across in a respectful, comforting, and sympathetic way.

        As Aron said, they’re in the healthCARE field. It may be just another day at the office to them, but it’s not to their patients. The patients feelings matter. They’re the only ones whose feelings should matter. And they have the God-given right as human beings to receive nothing but the best healthcare to ensure their physical health without sacrificing their mental and emotional health. It’s not enough to be physically alive, but mentally/emotionally dead; you need both to truly be alive. I hope that all healthcare professionals (and those in training) learn and practice that throughout their careers.

      • Are you serious?

        Once you get to a certain age everyone has had to break bad news to someone else. Whether it’s a death in the family, an accident or a cancer diagnosis. All of those things REALLY SUCK to have to tell someone else. And many people have done it without being such an insensitive clod. Someone who could practically have it written in their job description should if anything, be better at it.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss and the way it was relayed to you.

  5. Had the same experience unfortunately. The lack of sensitivity & tact is strong with this one. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  6. So, this was a surprise pregnancy conceived on birth control and we went in for a dating ultrasound. The tech was silent the entire time she was doing her thing, and I understand why but it was unnerving. She then left the room without explanation and we were left in the dark for quite a while until this fellow showed up. This guy was at least in his 50′s, so he had probably relayed such bad new to many many people and doesn’t really have an excuse. He took one look at the screen and said “Nope, no baby there,” more to the tech than to us. I was pretty much in shock at this point so it gets a bit blurred but he spouted something off about a blighted ovum, didn’t double check the tech’s work and left abruptly. I was in tears and my husband was also very upset. We went to my OB practice the next day (or maybe later that day, I don’t recall) and they told me I needed a D&C without discussing any other options or even taking a second look to be sure (since we weren’t sure of the dates). I got to the hospital the next morning and begged for another ultrasound and hormone level check before they did the D&C. I waited around for awhile and finally got the ultrasound which DID show a baby but no heartbeat. The tech said it was still small enough that the heartbeat might not show up. That gave me hope but then the OB came and said they were ready for me. I asked about the hormone levels and he kind of vaguely shook his head. I was very distraught, so I didn’t think to press the matter further and went ahead with the procedure. I woke up in agony and they said they couldn’t give me any pain meds yet. i was also swollen from having received too much fluid and hadn’t eaten for about 15 hours. They also had me in recovery in a non-curtained off bed in the middle of the maternity ward. Needless to say, I was despondent. In hindsight, I’m not sure they even tested my blood again and I sometimes still wonder if they took a baby from me that was just smaller than they expected. Even without those thoughts I felt very run through the wringer by the whole experience which made me seek midwifery care for our subsequent three children. I’d like to get my records from them some day and see what they say about it.

    • I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you, all of it. It might have felt trivial for the staff, but alone the fact of causing such uncertainty or regret is reason enough to always double-check when the patient is concerned! Btw., just because you said you might want to request your records later – I’d ask the office/hospital how long they’re keeping records, because depending on the law they might only keep them for XY years before tossing them (I think x-rays are kept for ten years in Germany, not sure about actual medical reports, though). Wishing you and your family all the best!

    • **hugs** I’m so sorry. :-(

    • Oh, SculptorAlison, I just teared up reading this. You really were put through the wringer by them, and I hope you can get those records to help give you some closure, one way or another.

      I’m just so surprised by the number of medical providers who either refuse, or act like it’s a huge burden, to double check test results, especially involving the viability of a pregnancy, before performing a procedure that would end it if the original diagnosis was incorrect. I mean, I’m just a writer, but even I am not insulted when people ask me to double and even triple check my work before I say it’s done. We’re human and we make mistakes, even when using Almighty Technology. The machine may be functioning well, but we misuse or misinterpret its results.

      I know this from personal experience. After my freshman year of college, I got mono and was one of the lucky few who got jaundice along with it. I was out of work for 2 months, getting blood tests at least twice a week because our doctor wasn’t sure if it was just mono or Hepatitis A, B, or C. I continued to get tested less frequently even when I returned to school, and one test came up positive for Hep B. He foolishly called my parents and told them the test results…wish he’d just called ME instead, since I was an adult and this was a disease you got via blood transfusions (never had one), sharing needles for drug use (never did that), or sex. So, he basically told my parents I was not a virgin. Thanks. On top of that, he really upset them. Mom asked our neighbor who was a nurse with the health dept. what to expect, and she told us to get a second opinion because of all the prior negative tests. Then I got a call from the health dept. asking for the names of all sexual partners, etc., since this was something that had to be reported to them. It was humiliating. I had to go to a hospital to get another blood test & wait three weeks for the results, only to find out I was perfectly healthy. The other test was a false positive or incorrect interpretation. All that worry about my life being over because someone misinterpreted test results. Medical personnel are human and fallible. And the people you encountered throughout that trauma were perfect examples of fallibility!

      • I can’t believe they called your parents instead of you. It’s illegal for them to do that. Back in 1995 when I hadn’t called home in a while, the dorm office wouldn’t even go to check on me and tell my parents if I was OK because I was 18. I’m glad it turned out to be a false positive for you. Yuck.

        • Yeah, I know. That’s the first thing that went through my head when I got off the phone. I think he thought it was ok because my mom was the one who took me in first (when I couldn’t get out of bed one morning without help and was a gross yellow color), and got to hear the first diagnosis/test results, it was ok to just tell HER since I wasn’t home. Um, ya knew I was in college, so why not call my parents’ home and ASK for my *dorm phone number*, you loon! Ok, he MAY have not technically violated HIPPA, but common sense tells you to give sensitive information directly to the adult patient, not her parents.

          Nothing as bad as what YOU were put through by a longshot, but it was very upsetting and embarrassing. I didn’t choose the doctor, Mom did when I was 15, and I wasn’t crazy about him then either. No choices in my family. Glad I grew up, got my own insurance plan, and got to choose someone with more common sense.

          • To my knowledge, that was still a HIPPA violation. If you were over 18, and had not signed a release of medical information form, he was in violation. I had a really bad kidney infection when I was 19, I was a full time student and still on my parents’ insurance, but even after being admitted to the hospital and all that, not a single doctor would talk in front of my mother (she stayed with me in the hospital) until I had given consent (even when I was doped up on phenegren (sp?)). After I was discharged and my PCP called a few days later to check on me, she didn’t say anything to my mom, she talked to ME.

    • I’m so so sorry :( Nobody should ever have to hear about their baby passing from such an insensitive person. And not giving any other options other than D&C even when pregnancy dates are questionable? Absolutely criminal. Not giving any other options is almost coercing the patient to comply with the treatment. I hope you will be able to get a copy of your records and that you would consider writing a complaint to the OBs governing body.

      • This same practice attempted to do the same thing to my SIL when she had a miscarriage a few years later. She, fortunately, had me to offer alternative advice and she sought a second opinion. Her baby had indeed passed and after a week of waiting she used Cytotec to complete it. I didn’t like the Cytotec bit but at least she got to choose it and feel confident in her decision.

        • Wow…scary that you have to bring along basically a more educated/sane/logical body guard to an OB practice just to get proper care. I’m so glad your SIL had you to help!

    • That is just awful :( I’m so sorry he and other staff treated you that way.
      When I misscarried our little fella at 12 weeks I’d been in for a dating scan at 9 weeks then went back to the same radiology place for the 2nd when I started spotting. We dont know anyone at the practice but we know the owner who lives in another town. He mentioned something to my husband a while later that on that day that we had our 2nd scan, everyone in the practice was sad and really felt for us (I saw the radiographer had tears in her eyes) and were thinking of us. Thats the kind of treatment patients shoudl get, love compassion and true care. Not what you received.
      I’d honestly encourage you to get your records (you are entitled to a copy of them), it may help with closure.
      Much love

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