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Friday, December 22, 2006

Dr. Speedy: A surgical infection

On Dec. 6, I had ankle ligament reconstruction surgery. Two days post-op, I returned to the doctor and had dressings changed and was told -- in my 45-second consult -- that all looked well. In the proceeding days, the pain in my ankle became more intense. I contacted the physician and was told to keep it elevated and continue on the pain medication. When I returned to the doctor nine days post-op, the ankle was red and swollen. The doctor said that I had cellulitis. I said, "Oh, it's infected." His response, "No, cellulitis." Now, I'm no doctor but isn't cellulitis an infection caused by bacteria? In my drug-induced euphoria, I didn't argue. Now the doctor isn't too concerned, except about his good name, I'm sure. I, however, am coming up on two weeks off work, which has implications for me. So I sit here with my foot above my heart taking an extended course of antibiotics.... - Julie's story, Dec. 20.

Advice to patients: Slow down Dr. Speedy by asking some prepared questions: How would we know if this wasn't healing well? What is the most common complication after this kind of surgery?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is Julie. It’s very important for people to speak up, ask questions and take responsibility for their own health. I think it’s also important for people to realize that doctors and clinicians are only human and therefore, make mistakes. I don’t like to blame the people. I know better. I know mistakes are made. I should have pushed my physician when the pain increased post-op, but as you know, it’s different when you’re the patient. Had I pushed I would have saved myself 6 or 7 days of pain.