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Our Inactive Medical and Judicial SystemsHow to Litigate Against an Incompetent Attorney
By Mary Sansiviero
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Mary Sansiviero
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Accident
The true story you are about to read is an attempt by the writer to balance the unplanned, deep challenges faced when thrown into the legal and medical arenas. The writer will give a blistering account of her struggle against injustice due to legal and medical incompetence. I hope that this true story will continue to remain a harsh reminder of just how vulnerable we, the public, are in the hands of our medical and judicial systems. Trusting this narrative will be timely for those who are presently involved in litigation or who may very well become involved in the future.
To those caring, competent and well-meaning physicians and attorneys who do indeed exist, I sincerely regret having to make this admonishment.
While driving to work on a snowy day in February of 1980, a Fleetwood Cadillac skidded over to my side of the road and collided with the front of my automobile. Immediately thereafter, I experienced twisting and swirling movements of my head and the "sensation" of something encasing my brain. I sought medical attention and informed my treating physician that, in my opinion, my symptoms were caused by my upper left tooth, having experienced a toothache earlier that morning. My physician, Doctor Gram, then suggested that I visit two dentists who, after examination, both concluded my medical problem was not caused by my tooth, although the tooth had to be extracted. Doctor Gram then informed me he did not know whether the symptoms I was describing were caused by my tooth or shock.
When we are in indescribable, torturous pain, we tend to accept the recommendations and conclusions of recognized medical experts, because we want them to bring about a cure.
Prior to any medication having been prescribed, I experienced a "sensation" of a bag of cement hardening around my brain (included in my daily log), and continuing to increase in intensity with swelling about my face and skull.
Doctor Gram then recommended that I maintain a daily log; he stated: "Dentists aren't always right." Years later that daily log was the key to the diagnosis of the bizarre enigma. A careful study of the log by the physicians would have given them beneficial insight into the diagnosis of a most immeasurably torturous medical problem. A short time later, I contacted one dentist again to ascertain if it was at all possible that my medical condition could be caused by my upper left tooth. He again reiterated his original conclusion that it was definitely not caused by my tooth.
Later, I regurgitated, felt weak and exhibited some symptoms but on formal examination, I did not demonstrate any physical signs of head injury.
The pains continued to increase as if I were on a roller coaster. My treating physician, Doctor Gram, recommended an orthopedic surgeon who prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication, which ultimately caused violent disabling effects upon my body. He indicated in his medical report that "the patient was treated conservatively with anti-inflammatory medication."
Doctor Gram was very much aware of the extensive swellings throughout my body and the gastrointestinal problems. I queried him as to why the orthopedist would include the word "Conservatively" when I had experienced such a violent reaction to the medication; whereupon, he stated, "He included that statement because he did not want to be sued for medical malpractice." We all realize that medications have served to help many of us. However, when physicians administer medications without understanding their violent disabling effects, the results can be deadly.
Thereafter, Doctor Gram submitted a report to the drug company concerning my adverse reaction to the first medication which was prescribed. Two other anti-inflammatory medications with adverse reactions were also prescribed. It was then recommended by Doctor Gram and the orthopedist that I seek a neurologist - my legs had buckled, I lost my balance and bounced against the wall. The initial neurologist, Doctor Lotta, was very brusque and aggressive, lifting my right arm over my head in a quick, sudden and unexpected manner. There was a rapid, irregular "giving-way" on direct muscle testing, consistent with functional "giving- giving-way." Tears rolled down my cheeks from the way." pain he inflicted. He then attempted to feel my neck and raise my left arm; I informed him he was not going to inflict any more pain on me. Doctor Lotta dismissed my complaints as inconsequential. His medical report cited me as a "good historian." There was a failure to be understood or treated. I complained of my lower legs and Doctor Lotta recommended that I confer with a rheumatoid specialist. He proceeded to dictate his medical report in my presence and, after I corrected him on three separate occasions, he aggressively and angrily stated "You're not going to get a penny from this case."
As a patient, you should be impressed by a physician's learned posture of his diagnosis but, unfortunately, that was not the case. Indeed what is said by the patient is ignored. I thought the medications were causing my dizziness, recurring nausea and retching. I stopped the medications, but I continued to experience dizziness, nausea and retching.
In this golden age of medical technology, public expectations of the medical community are very high and we must rid ourselves of those high expectations.
In the mornings, I was literally unable to rise from the bed. I had to slide out on my knees and crawl to the commode. Needless to say, I spent most of my time in bed. Doctor Gram then recommended that I visit another neurologist. I made an appointment with Doctor Maylin who seemed very understanding and compassionate, but who stated in his medical report, "Has only occasional headaches and dizziness." I informed him that I had torturous head pain and the only thing that changed was its intensity. I felt as though I had a clamp on my head, and wanted to put my head through a pencil sharpener. Doctor Maylin's medical report also stated that there had been no associated fevers. My treating physician Doctor Gram had witnessed low-grade fevers over many years. At my direction, Mr. Judas, my attorney, sent a letter to Doctor Maylin regarding these errors. Doctor Maylin also ordered an electroencephalogram with the results being "essentially normal." Thereafter, Doctor Maylin informed me that I was experiencing anxiety due to litigation. During my last visit to his office he asked, "Who gave you permission to remain at home?" Pointing to my chest, I stated as loudly and as succinctly as I could, "I did." Wherein Doctor Maylin remained silent.
In July of 1980, I visited Doctor Feilman, a physician from my insurance carrier. When I entered the room, he exclaimed in a shocked tone of voice, "Oh my God!" His report later indicated that I was unable to work, "she has Hyporreflexia." Two other physicians indicated the correct spelling was H-Y-P-E-R-R-E-F-L-E-E-X-I-A, because I was experiencing exaggerated X-reflexes.
In September of 1980, I visited a second physician from my insurance carrier, Doctor Morsey. His medical report stated "Doctor Feilman's comment that the patient "may" have Hyperreflexia is not a diagnosis that I would use." Doctor Feilman never used the word "may" but wrote, "She has Hyperreflexia." The Hyperreflexia had subsided prior to my visit to Dr. Morsey's office in September, but my treating physician, Doctor Gram, substantiated that diagnosis in July of 1980.
Doctor Morsey also stated in his report, "No nystagmus." Doctor Gram informed me he was only able to recognize nystagmus when I was sitting up, but the audiological and electromyography tests indicated that there was direction- direction-changing nystagmus (A rapid, involuntary, changing oscillatory motion of the eyeball). I was groggy from the medication and Doctor Gram was aware of this fact; my daily log also substantiated this reaction. Doctor Morsey stated, "Profound depression. It is not all from the accident. I do feel she should be seen by a psychiatrist." He was unable to diagnose the symptomology of allergenic reactions to medications. In another statement cited in his report, "At no time did she lose her balance." I lost my balance numerous times, all being documented by my full office medical records and hospital records. As a result of Doctor Morsey's negative medical report, my no-fault benefits were cancelled in September of 1980 at which time I was reduced to invalid status while in torturous unrelenting pain. His medical report reflected that all the medical reports from the other examining physicians, in addition to my full office medical records, were not in his possession. How else could Doctor Morsey deal with his frustration over his own incompetence and his powerlessness in diagnosing an elusive disorder?
Before leaving Doctor Morsey's office, I asked, "What is wrong with me?" He stated, "I don't know."
Second-class medical attention always eats at one's dignity! Physicians should be concerned with the implications of their actions and the impact they have on their patients. Doctor Morsey did not know whether there was really a neurological deficit causing the problem; head injury is just not understood. He was medically intolerant and indifferent towards me and displayed a deplorable lack of sensitivity with an attitude of superiority. We are all frostbitten by life, but Dr. Morsey failed to take the reasonable precautions, which is indicative of "a lack of common sense." Apparently, like other incompetent physicians, paid for and retained by insurance companies, he was unable to grasp the overall consequences of failing to meet requirements, their inadequate ability and their incompetence; therefore, they should be notified and taught. You would be amazed at the volume of mistakes made by physicians who are still practicing, and their incompetence is aggravated by their aggressive manner.
When my attorney sent Doctor Morsey's medical report to my home, I informed Doctor Gram of the physician's decision contained in his report, which stated: "I do feel she should be seen by a psychiatrist." I relayed this recommendation by the neurologist to Doctor Gram who laughed loudly and stated, "I am a psychiatrist; psychiatry was a previous specialty of mine." I was quite surprised by Doctor Gram's revelation inasmuch as I had visited him in the past for nutritional purposes only. Then he made a tight fist at his chest and thrust it forward in a quick fashion stating, "Not only don't you need a psychiatrist, you are a bulldozer. You are the most lucid person I know. I wouldn't waste my time or the insurance company's money."
Who is responsible for doctors enjoying the "revolving door syndrome," better known as allowing doctors to pass through the revolving door in our society? For those who are not aware, it is the "establishment," the inadequate, inactive, enormously wealthy medical societies who do not help shape their practice and do not perceive it as destructively or morally wrong to persist in failure, error, transgression of duty and deceptions; The medical process works in favor of the Insurance Physicians.
Doctor Morsey and the other incompetent insurance physicians have literally slipped through the cracks, gotten away with incompetence, had caused very severe complications to someone suffering from absolute torture, and ultimately caused our judicial system to expend enormous monies because of their incompetence. I trust you will not be that next victim of any doctor's irresponsibility and callousness; this degree of incompetence and arrogance must not go unpunished and the public must be made aware of such happenings.
This true story is not aimed at condemnation, but at the need for change within the medical process. We, the public, are not requesting physician license forfeiture; on the other hand, we want to be protected from those physicians who do not care, have no value system, or are unwilling to admit to their blundering errors. In order to do that, the medical system must use an antiseptic-type of cleansing process. The most powerful and effective manner of controlling physicians who have either made gross errors or violated ethical considerations would be a requirement that they be a speaker at a medical teaching college or university every month for one semester or be a speaker at seminars for physicians or future physicians. There is no better teacher for medical students than those who have made blundering errors. Medical errors must be exposed for the benefit of the public; you are dealing with human lives. How dare you do otherwise!
You cannot distance yourself from this true story without having your own legal and medical rights infringed upon.
Each time I took a painkiller, my eyes became groggy and Doctor Gram was aware of this problem. Eventually, he recommended that all medications be discontinued. He indicated it was difficult for him to distinguish whether the grogginess was from the medication or the accident.
My symptoms worsened following physical therapy and chiropractic treatments. A therapist at the hospital caught me just prior to my falling and placed me in a wheelchair. Doctor Gram, who was not connected with any hospital stated: "You belong in a hospital," witnessing that the neurological problem was worsening. He recommended no further chiropractic or physical therapy treatments until such time as my body would be able to tolerate such procedures. He then suggested that a member of my family "lightly" apply a hydroculator and an oster vibrator to my back and neck. Doctor Fegrina, the first chiropractor, reported, "No further treatments were needed." His report also remarked that I had consulted with a Doctor Leim, a mistake, since I had never seen a Doctor Leim. Apparently my file had been confused with another file.
Subsequently, Doctor Fegrina's report was corrected to "further treatments were needed," but this was only "after" the adverse decision was rendered by the original Tribunal. Prior to the original tribunal, Mr. Judas, my attorney, had never discussed Doctor Fegrina's negative report with me.
In September of 1980, I visited Doctor Nat, a physician paid for and retained by the insurance company for my personal disability policy, and I informed him that in the "morning" I had regurgitated. His report stated: "In the afternoon she claimed that she felt weak and began throwing up." Also contained in that report, he stated: "It appears to be drug induced." Doctor Nat was unable to diagnose a cyanotic condition (A bluish discoloration of the skin and finger nails) which was confirmed by two other physicians in addition to my daily log. His medical report further stated: "I feel that this patient is capable of returning to work on a part-time basis in her capacity of court stenographer as of October 1, 1980." He did not believe that I was in torturous pain and found it very difficult even to sit up. Doctor Nat had a condescending smirk from ear to ear while examining and conversing with me. I advised the manager of the insurance company of the manner in which I was treated and he became very angry and indicated he would call the physician. Thereafter, an insurance company agent arrived at my home unexpectedly and inquired sarcastically, "What are you doing there in bed?" A short time later, benefits were cancelled by my insurance carrier while I was reduced to invalid status and in indescribable torturous pain with absolutely no income.
Physicians should be forced to take a sensitivity training course once a year because when we, the public, visit a physician, we should not have to put up with their behavioral problems.
Excerpted from Our Inactive Medical and Judicial Systems by Mary Sansiviero Copyright © 2011 by Mary Sansiviero. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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