After surgery was the worst. Over the next two days I saw him maybe three times. Each time, he called me “he” and avoided directly addressing me. They had inserted a stint directly through the surgical site, a rubber tube that ran through a hole near the top of my pubic area, through the large open wound (about 4 inches long and half an inch wide) where my testicle and most of my scrotum had been removed. The wound itself they had decided to leave open. I was informed that I would be healing slowly over the course of the next three weeks as the wound closed on its own. The surgeon refused to stitch the wound closed, even though I repeatedly voiced my concern that I would lose sexual function in my right inguinal canal. This later turned out to be correct: the inguinal canal sealed shut where the wound had been and I lost sexual use of that part of my body.
The stint was the most painful, but the dressing changes were the hardest part. 3 times a day I was instructed to repack the open wound with gauze and a large pad, both of which quickly filled up with serous fluid, pus, and blood. The first few days, the dressing would collect scabs as well, and each time it was removed, would pull against the stitches and the surgical site, which was extremely painful. I expressed concerns about infection and mentioned once again that because of a congenital condition, mixed connective tissue disease, I was at risk for infection. The surgeon pooh-poohed my concerns, and over the next six weeks I fought off a series of infections.
The first infection was borderline septicemia, and for the next two days I ran extremely high fevers. I was on intravenous antibiotics, which had such high toxicity levels that my blood had to be tested every few hours. I ended up being on intravenous antibiotics for about 8 days, and had over two weeks of antibiotics following.
I asked to see the doctor because the pain medication I was receiving, IV morphine, was doing almost nothing for my pain and I wanted a substitute or for it to be removed entirely, since it was not relieving my pain. Dr Anderson dismissed my pain and said that no matter what there would be pain and that I should apply ice packs to the wound.
Problems with Dr. Anderson continued to get worse each time that I saw him. He did not answer my questions and did not address my concerns, specifically: the danger of infection, the extreme amount of pain I was in at my surgical site, and my concerns about sexual function. I directly stated several times that I would prefer them to stitch my wound closed to preserve sexual function in the inguinal canal.
Dr. Anderson referred to me during each of these brief visits as either “he” or “it”. There was always someone else present, whether my grandmother, Norma Peterson, my mother, Tammy Lehman, or one of the nurses.
Dr Anderson handled me very roughly, especially during dressing changes. After the third day in the hospital, I believe, I requested help finding an advocate in the hospital. This person came from hospital administration and spoke directly with me. Her name was _________________________ and she worked directly for the hospital.
She told me that this was not the first incident they’d had with Dr Anderson and patients, and that they were well aware of the problem. My mother was present during this interview. I told this woman that I wanted a different doctor: that the way that doctor Anderson was touching me felt violent and sexually violating. I said that I did not want him to touch me again. She said that she would try to find another surgeon to take over my care. Later in the day, at approximately 4pm, she called me to say that I had been assigned a new surgeon, Doctor Glowacki. Doctor Glowacki came to see me at about 6pm. He introduced himself and supervised a dressing change.
(Note: this was the afternoon when the representative from the hospital called Iowa Clinic and spoke to Doctor Anderson’s staff. She was assured that he had been advised of the change in doctors and that Dr. Glowacki would be taking over.)
The next incident is the most violent and the most difficult to talk about. At approximately 5am the following morning, Doctor Anderson entered my hospital room accompanied by a nurse who I hadn’t seen before. He threw on the lights, blew into the room, and asked the nurse to go get some equipment. He complained that the room was too hot and adjusted the thermostat. My grandma, Norma Peterson, had stayed the night with me. We were both awakened by his entrance and very confused. My grandma managed to say “You’re not her doctor - they changed doctors.”
Doctor Anderson blew her off curtly, and came over to my hospital bed. I was barely awake but also very scared. He said “let’s get this dressing change done,” whipped off my blanket, and put his hand in my crotch. I complained, saying “no, don’t” and “what are you doing?”
Doctor Anderson then reached into my wound and tore out my dressing. he did it in one quick, very painful motion, very violently, and it pulled all of my dressing, scabs, etc with it. I cried out. He threw the dressing in the trash, said “He’ll need a shower later,” and left the room immediately.
I was so confused and in so much pain that I didn’t realize Doctor Anderson had not replaced my dressing. Several hours later, at 10am, when Doctor Glowacki came to see me, he noticed this and said that, yes, I should shower, and then they would repack the wound.
When Doctor Glowacki came in at that time he was extremely apologetic. He said that it had been a mistake that Doctor Anderson had come in, that Doctor Anderson *knew* that he was no longer assigned to me, and that he, (Doctor Glowacki) was very sorry.
I asked to speak again with hospital administration. I talked again with ___________ and she was quite shocked. She informed me that Doctor Anderson had in no uncertain terms been reassigned and had been informed of this the day before. She later came to my room with someone even higher up in the Hospital structure, Dr. _______________, who listened to my story and apologized.
I asked for reassurance that Dr. Glowacki would not enter my room again. They said they could not offer any. I therefore contacted the police, and that evening an officer came to my hospital room. I discussed the incident with him and he took a report, but the following day I was informed that they would not help me press charges, and that it would be impossible to obtain a restraining order.