“I was suicidal for years, and the way people treated me after the assault is a big factor in that. I attempted suicide about two weeks after the procedure. The hospital refused to let me stay after 72 hours because I was "just looking for a bed to mooch".
I still feel resentment about this. The main reason being it is 2018, over a decade later, and this is still a common story when it comes to sexual assault and abortions.
I was 14 and homeless. I am First Nations and gender-queer/2S. I didn't have the voice I have now, at 14. So, I never gave them feedback.”
“After having a difficult end of pregnancy with constant complaints to my OB, Christine Bloch that were never paid any attention to, I delivered my son after a difficult delivery on November 20, 2007.
The next few days were not so good and I went from being fairly well to very ill requiring emergency surgery, being cut open from my breast bone to my pubic bone. Finding out I have a large cyst and umbilical hernia and had become septic. During surgery my heart stopped up to four separate times, leaving me in very poor condition in the ICU after surgery where I was to remain for many weeks.”
“What happens when patients raise the alarm about healthcare professionals practicing in their community? What does it take for the regulatory college to take these complaints seriously? What prevents doctors who do harm from jumping from hospital to hospital, and continuing to practice for years to come?
According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website directory, the obstetrician featured in this article is still practicing at Stratford General Hospital & Wingham and District Hospital today.”
“We need to feel comfortable saying “Stop!” when we see cervical checks without consent. Our clients should be the ones to advocate for themselves whenever possible, but there are times when they can’t and we must.”
Are you a doula or healthcare professional with a story to share about mistreatment and abuse in the healthcare system in Canada? Consider sharing your experiencehere on the Community Story Blog. Change can happen if we speak up together!
“As a Catholic teaching hospital, the cultural aversion to informed consent and bodily autonomy in your childbirth unit makes sense, however, some patients raised this culture as an area of concern in the feedback survey. You shared in your letter that you are “continuing to seek learning opportunities that expand care providers’ understanding of what obstetrical [sic] violence is and ways we can ensure patients don’t experience this under our care” In the meeting it was stated that “ideally we need to embed it into some standardized classes” but you were not able to speak to whether “obstetric violence” or “patient mistreatment” are terms that had come up at all yet, even in less formal conversations and huddles on the unit.
However, you expressed with certainty that there have still been no formalized discussions or training around what constitutes obstetric violence, and how to interrupt the cycle of obstetric violence in your Family Birthing Centre. It was also unclear whether the experiences of abuse and mistreatment some patients shared in their survey responses have been addressed in a comprehensive way.”
“I was in tears. I was alone and scared that something was wrong. I had never felt a pain so strong and crushing before. I continued to call my nurse only to be ignored. It had been 8 hours of excruciating pain when a different nurse finally came in. She immediately ran to get my OB and within minutes I was being taken for a C-section. I was in class 3 HELLP syndrome. My liver was about to burst. I was about to die. I almost lost my life and my nurse thought it was gas.”
“I was in a lot of pain in my ribs and the NICU was quite a walk for me. When I walked straight, my ribs would hurt so bad I couldn’t breathe. I’d asked a nurse if she could help me get to the NICU by wheeling me in a chair. She said “I’ve got better things to be doing than helping you get to the NICU. Get there yourself”. I had to walk there, back and forth to feed him and then go back to pump. I did this constantly barely able to breathe.”
“During the c-section I felt it all. I felt the cut, I felt them inside me, I felt them stitching me back up. I felt the awful, awful pain. They weren't taking me seriously. They told me there was no way I was feeling it, that it was all in my head. Well, it wasn't. Because of them I will never birth another baby, I can't watch TV shows that show surgeries, I can't talk about my birth, I can't even touch my stomach without being brought back to that table and feeling the pain I felt.”
“I was totally alone with my boyfriend and the baby's head coming out. I was literally crossing my legs bawling that she was coming and wouldn’t be able to breathe. The nurse came in so slowly and said, "It’s impossible you dilated that fast", then I opened my legs and she said "DONT PUSH!" and ran out to find the doctor who was ASLEEP!!!!!! My baby was out 5 minutes later.”
“Every nurse and doctor I spoke to assumed I'd had a C-section and high blood pressure issues which I’ve never had. I was incorrectly diagnosed with HELLP syndrome and had to deliver my baby without my husband as he was removed from the hospital after expressing concerns with my care.”
“I was 28 years old, having my first baby so I did not know what to expect. I thought the care I received was the standard of care for everyone. It wasn’t until I had my daughter 11 months later with a different doctor & nurse that I realized how much of an impact they had on my first childbirth experience. I can’t help but think that if I was treated with respect & care I wouldn’t have had such bad postpartum depression.”
“This was the first time I was mistreated in emerge when presenting with a women's health issue... so honestly I don't know why I expected anything different. My experience caused me to not seek medical attention with my second miscarriage and I chose to do the third one at home with the help of medication. We are pregnant again and planning a home birth, I am terrified we may end up in hospital as it is the last thing I would want.”
“No doctors came to check on me while I was recovering after surgery, I was in lots of pain that did not feel normal. I told nurses but they ignored me. I asked for pain meds and 8 hours later they brought me Tylenol! They also discharged me at 8pm with out being checked over or seen! I went and stayed as long as I could with her in the NICU after being discharged and I even started to pump and bring her milk.”
“At one point I had bled through an entire pair of their maternity underwear - I'm talking no white left on them - and I sat in a puddle of my own blood. When I asked if I could have another pair to clean up, she told me I could go rinse mine in the sink and put them back on."
“I asked for a picture from the ultrasound. He crumpled it up and tossed it away telling me I didn't need it, that it was a picture of nothing anyways. My baby's heartbeat stopped the next day and I lost it, leaving me with not so much as an ultrasound picture to hold onto.”
“The next day I went for the ultrasound. The tech wouldn’t tell me anything. They had me wait for almost two hours for the result, sitting in the ER anxiously waiting among sick people. Finally the doctor called me in. She jumped up on the exam bed and nonchalantly said, “You had a miscarriage” - just matter of fact with no feeling. She then began talking to me about it but kept using the word abortion, “You had your abortion yesterday."
"My first child, I was 18 years old. I told the doctors I felt I needed to push. My body just took over. A nurse held her hand over my mouth and pinched my nose so I would stop. I was also told by a nurse that if I cried while in the maternity ward, they would label me as unfit and would risk intervention by CAS as I was young."
"When my OB finally entered the room he was quick to say, 'Everything looks fine, see you in two weeks.' I very quickly explained that I wanted to discuss the pains I was having as it was becoming unbearable. He immediately said, 'There's no way you're in preterm labour.' and walked out of the room. Not once did he examine me in any sort of way, or even let me explain the type of pains I was having.
Two days later, I was admitted to the hospital and was told I was in preterm labour. The only reason I had gone to the hospital was due to some bleeding, not because of the pain because I trusted him when he told me I was fine."
"This experience terrified me and has caused Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have another son now who was born January 2017, and I was terrified and apprehensive the entire pregnancy. The anxiety I experienced and the staff not validating my fears or feelings was incredibly damaging. It took months for me to heal afterwards and I had to receive homecare for my incision."
"We found out before her first birthday that she has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and also has a unilateral hearing loss that has progressed to profound (meaning that her ear doesn't work at all, even with a hearing aid) I cant help but think that this was caused by her delivery. No one is willing to say that though."
"I re-played the situation several times, wondering if I should have said something differently or not had the epidural. I've never had a situation in which I felt so out of control and it was hard to overcome."