This isn't the post I was planning to write today. However, I was shocked and saddened earlier to read that my doctor, Dr. Yuval Bdolah from the IVF clinic at Hadassah Hospital on Mt Scopus in Jerusalem, has been slammed in an Israeli fertility forum and accused of professional negligence. A man who always treated me with respect as an intelligent and full partner in the fertility process. Who went out of his way to solve each complication as it arose, and there were certainly many complications over my four years of treatment. He looked into new solutions for every possible problem, took advice from his colleagues and left no stone unturned in order that I may fulfill my dream of being a mother.
At my first consultation at the IVF clinic, I was a single woman in my 40s who just desperately wanted to be a mother. At my age (42 at the time) I would say I was probably at my all time most vulnerable and entirely at the mercy of strangers to save my life from being meaningless. Before you all jump down my throat, for me life without a child was meaningless. Maybe I would have found some other meaning if it didn't work - who knows. This is my personal story and true for me. It also serves to illustrate the delicate position of the staff in such a place. They hold so many women's hopes and dreams in their hands. That's a huge role to take on.
From the moment I stepped thought he door of the clinic until I brought home my beautiful baby girl, now four years old, everyone involved from the Head of Department, to the doctors, the nurses, the ultrasound technicians, the receptionist, the porters, and even the cleaner showed me the utmost sensitivity and kindness throughout. You can imagine that during four years of treatment a lot of sensitivity and kindness was called for - and gratefully received.
Every time a decision had to be made Dr. Bdolah took the time to explain it to me with all the implications and risks. He gently guided me towards sensible choices but never forgot that I also had a say in my treatment. When my instincts were wrong he told me so. He would not allow any action that was too dangerous for my health or that of the baby. I was given the option to reduce to one foetus when I was carrying twins but he accepted my choice not to. Sadly I lost those babies to miscarriage at 5 months. When I resumed treatment he made it very clear that he would be against another twin pregnancy for me and made me sign an agreement that I would have a reductive procedure if there were triplets.
I won't go into the details of the accusation against him but basically, a woman had her treatment stopped because of suspected medical complications in her reproductive organs and she's not happy about the way it was handled. I feel for this woman and her loss. I could cry for the women who have to come to terms with not being a mother - as I almost did myself. But I cannot in any way believe that Dr Bdolah did anything other than his best to help this woman as long as it was medically viable.
My first early miscarriage was in the days when the 12-week ultrasound had to be done at a private clinic. A doctor I didn't know from Adam told me, "There's nothing there to see. Looks like it stopped at about 7 weeks. You need to have a D&C immediately. And don't forget to get a refund for the lab work as we won't be processing your blood test." With that, he abruptly left the room.
I walked out in a daze and and tried to phone my health fund clinic where I was seeing one of their gynecologists. It was closed for the weekend. I called the IVF clinic as I didn't know where else to turn. Dr. Bdolah kept me talking on the phone while he had a nurse make all the arrangements for a D&C on Monday morning.
When I 'graduated' from IVF I chose Dr. Bdolah to be my physician for the pregnancy (twice). He gave me his mobile phone number to use not just in an emergency but whenever I had a question. I tried to be considerate of his private life but I disturbed him in concerts, on holiday, at weekends, and in the middle of the night. He was always ready to listen and give me answers (incredibly without any hint of irritation - ever).
It saddens me that such a good doctor and a good man should be hauled over the coals like this. It's natural to want to find someone to blame when your world has fallen apart through no fault of your own. But I know, sure as eggs is eggs (pun unintended but noted), that Dr. Bdolah is not the man to go for.
More generally, this has made me aware that in such highly emotional situations, there's a danger of ruining a good person's reputation on social forums before all the facts have been investigated. And that's just not fair.