I know this is not one of my normal blog posts but I feel like I need to share this!! This is a really long post so I suggest making some tea before you start 🙂
For people with chronic conditions, hospital can be like a second home! You get nervous the first few times but you have gone through soo much that at the end you just get on with it and it’s not a scary place anymore but a place where you know you need to be!
I used to be very shy going to hospital but after being in and out of there for 10 years it’s not somthing that bothers me at all! I’m very comfortable with all my consultants and I have never felt scared or weirded out by any doctors, UNTIL 2013….
I had a laproscopy in April 2013 to check for endometriosis. After the operation I kept getting these crazy coughing fits everytime I tried to talk or laugh! I am asthmatic and my blue inhaler would not help me! I would cough till I was choking and somone would have to physically slap my back so I could breath again! This carried on for a few months so I was referred to the asthma clinic in a very famous NHS hospital in Paddington West London … I have been there a number of times when I was younger.. I have suffered from asthma since I was seven and I have had so many asthma attacks and chest infections in my life including pneumonia! So I’m very used to seeing doctors about my chest and know all the tests they do to check you!
Anway so I finally arrive at this chest clinic appointment! My dad has accompanied me.. I first saw this really nice male nurse, he took me through all the lung function tests so we could show my doctor my results at the beginning of the appointment.. After the tests I went back into the waiting room and my name was called out by a male doctor Prob mid 50s.. I told my dad to wait there as I knew it was a chest appointment and it would have been awkward having dad in the room with me 😕
The doctor seemed very friendly he opened the door for me and told me to take a seat! As I walked passed him he touched my shoulder! For a quick second I thought it was weird as Iv never met him before but I didn’t think too much about it as I’v had consaltants in the past hug me and I just take It as they care (which they do). I sat down and he brought his chair close to me so he was directly infront of me! we started talking about my problem but he seemed weird! The way he looked at me was just strange and he was saying things like you can’t have eds as you are short and not slim but then compliment me after. Anyway he didn’t spend long with me and told me to go get a chest X-ray and come back! I left the room and went with dad to get the X-ray.. I kept telling my dad this doctor is weird somthing is not right!
So I got my X-ray and came back to see the doctor… As I sat in his room again he told me he needs to check my chest ! Normally they can check it from the chair but because I was having so many problems he said it’s better to do it on the bed! I was told to undress but keep my underwear on ( I didn’t ask for an chaperone nor was I offered one as he was not going to check under my bra and knickers) . It was really hot that day and I was wearing a vest dress and a light cardigan. I didn’t fully undress because I knew he was just checking my chest so I dropped my dress to my belly so it covered everything below my belly button… He then did the normal tests.. He listend to my chest and then he checked my back with a stethoscope then told me to lie on my back! So I lay down and he started doing the normal tests on the front of my chest then looked at me funny! He then let go of the stethoscope and started doing some tapping thing they do on my chest! Then all of a sudden his one hand went under my bra and he started squeezing my left boob and rubbing my nipple for around 30 seconds while smiling at me! I just FROZE!!! I honestly didn’t know what was happening I just felt shocked, sick and wrong all at the same time! My mind and heart were screaming but my body just froze! I then managed to move my body and he stoped and Walked back to his desk saying to get changed again…
I got dressed and went back to the seat. I didn’t say anything! my mind had emptied and I was feeling soo shocked
He wrote me a prescription then I left.. I couldn’t say anything to my dad as I was feeling soo strange and embarrassed ! I did text two friends on the way home explaining what had happened and both replied saying that’s wrong! No doctor has ever checked my breast like that and I can’t think of any exam that requires you to do what he did! I have had breast checkups before and they would never go under your bra like that! they will ask you to take it off and normally sit up or put your arms over your head! I am 100% comfortable with doctors ESP if they are examining me but this was the first time in 24 years I had ever felt like this! I decided to go straight to my mums house! I told my mum and sisters about it as soon as i got home and they said to call the police but I was soo trumatised that I just tried to sleep.
The next day I went back to my flat! I live in supported housing so I have carers living in the flat who look after me! I told the staff and they straight away told me I need to report it! They said we have to contact the police but that scared me soo much as I didn’t know how I was feeling, I was just shocked! we decided to contact the hospital first! We contacted the hospitals patient advice and liaison service (PALS) for information on reporting sexual abuse! They weren’t very helpful and ended up not even documenting my first complaint properly! They also told us we need to report it in the General Medical Council (GMC). We had to go online and fill out a form reporting the incident. Then we were told to contact an advocacy agency called Voice Ability who help disabled young people with issues like this! We rang them up and explained what had happened they then said we had to report it to the police ASAP! We waited for the police and when he arrived he took my statement! He then warned me that if I continued with reporting it through the police it would be a long process (He wasn’t encouraging at all and it felt like he didn’t really support me) then he said since i have reported it to the GMC I should wait for their outcome then contact the police again! He also asked the staff if ‘I make stuff up‘ because I am disabled!! The staff got angry as I only have physical disability but even if I had a learning disability should the police be talking about a victim like that? I wasn’t there when he said that the staff told me after he left!
Anyway allot happened after reporting the doctor and because I am under social services we had to have a few meetings between the PALS representative and Us ( social services and I) the PALS lady first read us a statement that the GMC had no cause for concern regarding the doctor and spoke about his ‘clean record’ they also read a statement from the doctor saying He never touched my breast in the examination! That statement alone reconfirmed it in my head that he sexually Asssulted me and there was never going to be an medical explanation into why a doctor would touch me like that! I then told the lady he is definitely guilty because he’s saying he never touched my breast! She then got soo defensive of the doctor(she’s ment to be a nutural representive) I then asked her what medical exam involves a doctor using one hand to grope a patient breast under her bra while she is lying down and she said she will look into it! A few weeks later we had the meeting again this time the doctor had changed his statement and now states that he did touch my breast area and it was because he was checking my heart beat and I did not feel the stethoscope because it’s was a special one that’s not cold and it was a hot day!! I was soo angry like is this man actually suggesting that that I didn’t feel let alone see his invisible stethoscope!!! He had stopped using his stethoscope and just had his hand! And to make this worse the representive from the hospital tried to make excuses for him! The meeting ended and I asked for a copy of the statement she read today and the previous statements for what the doctor said he never touched my breasts and her recponce was this is the same statement as the first one!!!! We argued saying it was different but she refused to change her mind! Then left and that was the end of the meetings….
A month later the GMC finally get intouch with me to start investigating my case! The first thing I asked them was ‘didn’t you tell the hospital that you have no cause for concern regarding this case? they said they have never looked into the case as il they haven’t taken my statement so how can they make a decision. So basically the hospital covered up for the doctor
Nearly 2 years on and the GMC have still not finished investigating because of major setbacks like my hospital file going missing for a few months, then my gp asking me not to complain because the doctor is her friend, to my NHS details getting deleted of the system now my police file has gone missing to so they can’t complete the investigation!!!! Am I crazy or is this a blatant COVERUP??!
I never wanted to sue as I love the NHS I wouldn’t be here with out it but I think I have to sue the doctor personally! You don’t get anywhere through a normal complains procedure! We have all see the crazy/disgusting abuse scandals in the news recently and after my experience I can see why it took soo long to get the bad guys!
The complaints system is a joke! The way they treat young women who complain about sexual abuse is a joke and the attitude of people who are ment to encourage you to report stuff like this is a joke! This is why soo many people do not report abuse in hospital because they don’t know how! Or if you do proceed with your complain you are only greeted by a system that does not work or takes a very long time to actually deal with! It’s even harder going through somthing like this when you have chronic conditions because it becomes so tiering! I was lucky to get allot of help with this as I was under the age of 25 so social services were good but now I have no one to help as I’m in adults social team. I don’t really have much of a support system around me anymore and people don’t seem to care because they see it as just a ‘grope’! But it’s not right at all! He could have done worse to other women and to women who don’t know how to speak up about it! So it’s my responsibility to make sure it’s reported and people know!
I have never regretted complaining and I will never give up on this case! if we don’t standup for ourselves then cases like these will still go unnoticed! It is very hard to deal with this and very frustrating!
I hope the GMC will finally finish investigating this case and the truth comes out. I still have some faith in this system. In the mean time this post is out here for anyone els who has gone through somthing similar! If anyone has any advice for me please contact me!
- Always have a Chaperone in the room during body exams
- Take someone with you if your not comfortable
- Report any incident that happens straight to the PALs service in your hospital
- Also report it to the GMC through their website or click here
- Always have a pen and paper and write down the time you spoke to anyone regarding the case and their name
- Contact a advocacy worker! PALs should help you find one
- Ring the police and make an official statement (try and do it witching 48 hours of incident happening)
- Tell people close to you as you will need their support
- Try and use email as much as possible to keep in contact with people involved with the case as this is evidence
- Set up a folder to keep all information on there
- And Trust you Instincts!! If you feel like you have been abused in hospital or are not happy then there is somthing that’s not right!get advice and get an answer!
If your still reading this Thank You!
Peace and Love xxx