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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Dumb

What was really dumb was that immediately after the doctors told me, “There’s no heartbeat, we are sorry, there’s nothing we can do”, they just left the room. And I was there alone for a very long time. So long that I eventually had to go look for them. They were nowhere to be found, so I had to ask the receptionist. She was not aware of what was happening and asked me cheerfully and very loudly, “So? Are you excited to meet your baby next week?”

It was dumb because the first thing I did after they left the room was run to the window. I don’t know why, it was completely unthinking. I could have jumped. Another person would have. 

I understand that they are a regular practice and they aren’t used to these cases but still, it’s a medical practice. Shit happens. They surely get miscarriages, birth defects, hormonal dysfunctions that lead to depression. 

The practice I was with when I expected Klara specialized in this kind of cases. They didn’t take anybody but women like me, so they at least knew how to react. Once when I was there for an appointment, it did happen. A woman came in who was in the last weeks of pregnancy, and they had to tell her the baby was not alive. The doctor stayed with her for one hour forty minutes. And then another hour with me because I was obviously not reacting very well to what was happening either. 

This is why I keep saying that all doctors need to take at least one course in basic psychology because they need to remember that they work with people and not malfunctioning machines. 

I never told this part to anybody before. 

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14 thoughts on “Dumb

  1. Worse than dumb. Callous. I’m sorry that this happened and I agree that doctors need better training in dealing with their patients as people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stringer Bell on said:

    Jesus.

    I wonder if this is because a lot of people believe that they should say something profound to a grieving person to ‘help’ them (classic narcissism, making it about them rather than the person grieving). And when they realize that they don’t have anything to say other than ‘Sorry’, they feel inadequate and want to escape that situation.

    Especially doctors who are so used to be treated as saviors.

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    • It’s the same practice where the lead doctor loved selling Botox treatments to women. I was clearly unlikely to get one at that particular moment, so he lost all interest in me.

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  3. “they just left the room”

    That’s so terrible, I’m very sorry you experienced that.

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  4. The US has mediocre statistics on both infant and mother survival. To say that any doctor hasn’t seen this is probably a poor excuse and wrong. My wife had one miscarriage, and my step-daughter lost two babies, one before birth and one when the placenta ruptured, which almost caused her death as well. This is another (one of many) examples of where the most expensive healthcare isn’t the best health care. Iceland has the lowest rate of stillbirths, with 1.3/1000 births. The UK ranks 21st with a rate is 2.9. The global average rate is 18.4/1000. The US rate is approximately 10/1000 (source: Scientfic American), higher than most other industrialized countries.

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  5. Clarissa, thank you for sharing this. It’s tough to discuss, but the US has a problem and nothing will be done as long as it’s hidden.

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  6. Shakti on said:

    I’m sorry your doctors were so insensitive about losing Eric. Take care of yourself today.

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  7. Spiderbaby on said:

    I’m terribly sorry you had to experience this. All of this. My sympathies to you and N.

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  8. I’m so sorry you were faced with such crass insensitivity. It’s unforgivable, probably due to bad training, combined with inexperience. I like to think my father, who was an army doctor, was therefore less afraid of death and more in tune with his patients, though I don’t suppose he faced your terrible situation very often. Doctors who never come across actual death aren’t fully trained, in my
    opinion.

    My sympathies are with you. x

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  9. I am so very sorry that this happened. I am so sorry you were left alone. I am so sorry the people who were supposed to care for you in this absolutely horrible situation made it even more horrible by leaving instead of even trying to be there for you. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s important for people to know. I remember that you wrote about the importance of putting experiences into words some time after Eric’s death. Thank you.

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  10. Fie upon this quiet on said:

    I’ve read in recent years that medical schools are looking students with some Humanities background because people with liberal arts educations typically have more empathy and a greater understanding of people. We’re starting a medical Humanities minor at our school and we are focusing on building “soft skills” like empathy — which in your situation would have been much more useful than scientific skills.

    I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    Like

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