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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Medical Sexism in the North East

When I was serving as an elected Vice-President of the College of Health, there were three serious wrongs that I was campaigning about: the cruel uselessness of the NHS Complaints Procedures, the need for a rational approach to the treatment of pain, and the sex prejudice of doctors that led to failure to investigate and treat women's physical problems. As a result, I received post from people damaged by the system. Most of this post was about the great suffering caused to women by the sex prejudice of doctors.

This is the letter I received from a suffering woman in the North East:

Dear Margaret

I'm so glad that at last someone is going to do something about women's ailments being called PSYCHOLOGICAL. I myself have had this label put on me for the last twenty one years. For five years a lot of years ago I was told that the bleeding and terrible pain I was getting was all in my mind and given all drugs for nerves. At last someone listened to me. One examination revealed I needed a hysterectomy. I was told afterwards my womb was like a fishing net. It was full of holes. The disease I had was ENDOMETRIOSIS. It had eaten its way into my stomach. About a year later I had terrible pains. I was told nerves - more nerve tablets. I was like a zombie with them. My memory is still terrible. I blame all the drugs I was given over the years to shut me up. Anyway I was rushed into Hospital. I had adhesions. Then it happened again. I was rushed into Hospital. I was told I had mass adhesions Bowel Bladder and Intestines, which I still suffer with. Yet when they flare up I'm told it's wind. I get blockage of Bowel and Bladder. One doctor years ago had the nerve to say to my mother-in-law I was too tense to pass water. I was in Hospital next day with stoppage of Bladder. I've been on water tablets years. I've been in Hospital more times than enough with blockages and stoppage yet I still have that label on me. Four years ago I was getting severe pains neck and back. I was told for six months it was nerves. Seen a consultant Private. He showed me X-rays. I had severe spondylosis plus two discs out in my neck and three out in my spine. Even though I have a very good doctor now I feel when I go he takes notice of my Records which have that label all through them. There is much more I could tell you but I soon weary. But the medical profession has robbed me of the best years of my life. My four sons have never had a healthy mother. I'm divorced. If I'd been healthy this might never have happened. Spelling which was my best subject has gone, along with my memory. I'd love to get my Medical Records with some experts and correct all the times when I was really ill so I could lose that label. I still feel I'm treated like a Hypochondriac.I now have an abdomen with four horrible scars and a lot of pain. I can't do Housework or anything much. All I want to do is feel strong enough to look after my sons, do housework and go back to work in a shop, which I loved. There have been times I could have ended it all. Only my Faith in Jesus Christ kept me going and the strength he sent me to bear the pain. One night I was in agony with my back pains and the doctor came in and said, "Get out of bed; the pain's all in your mind." He sent me to three psychiatrists who said there was nothing wrong with my nerves at all and told me to throw the tablets out as I did not need them. The next time my back went he said I wanted to be ill but it was so deep-rooted I did not realise it. He wanted me to be put under hypnosis to prove this. I changed my doctor. I wish now I had to prove him wrong. I'm now 44 years old. 21 years of my life have been spoilt. Thanks be to God I do have some good days but I'm never without pain altogether. I get mobility money and severe disablement but money does not make up for 21 years of life.

God bless you in your work. I wish I could help you.

Please excuse writing. I'm tired. Thank you.

Forgot to tell you when I had my third son I could not look after him for 8 weeks. I was delirious for days and in bed for weeks. Was told it was a virus. I've never been fit since. This was 22 years ago. I was strong as a horse before that. Worked full-time. I'm sure something was left in me that caused my later problems.
You can read HERE about some of my own experience of terrible suffering and permanent harm done by the sex prejudice of health professionals.