Peg Metzger’s experience of medical harm

MITSS has shared a video of Peg Metzger talking about her experience with harm caused by a medical procedure.

Peg had an out-patient endoscopy procedure that involves inserting an endoscope down her esophagus to examine her bile duct. Instead of going home that afternoon, she was admitted for observation and told that the procedure would be repeated in a few days. No one told her or her husband that her small intestine had been perforated, even though this information was in her medical record. And this began her very long ordeal.

Here are a few quotes I have selected that explain what she experienced and what she felt.

During all this time and all these admissions, no one has anything to say about what happened to me or why I am in this mess. I wait for my ERCP doctor to come back, but she never reappears. And this torments me. I never asked, “Why me?”, but I pondered, “Why does she get to go on with her life with utter disregard for mine?” And mostly, “Why should an adverse event feel like a hit-and-run accident?” She is treating me the way I would treat roadkill. Feel bad, but keep moving and what ever you do, don’t look back.

Mostly though, I believe that I need to be a model patient. A good patient, because my physical care depends on the hospital staff, and I need them to like me. I am truly and completely trapped.

It took 18 months until a surgery finally “put her back together again”

I am braver than I used to be, but I am also cynical. I’m cynical about authority and prestige, and I’m leery of healthcare, probably in ways that are a little bit unhealthy. I guess I’ve come to see the world as divided into two camps. One camp is full of people who accept responsibility for their actions, maybe even for some other people’s actions, and the other camp [is] full of people who don’t accept responsibility for anything.

Peg’a descriptions of how she was treated and how this made her feel really resonate with me. Her roadkill analogy is right on target—and I think it should be incorporated into communication training for medical professionals.


Thoughtful comments are always welcomed.

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