Monday, November 12, 2012

When Emotions Cause Social Forum Abuse

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.


16 comments:

  1. You're exactly right. He sounds a wonderful man. All you can do is things like this - defend him when and where you can, and, no doubt, you've let him know of your support, which will mean a great deal to him than this stranger's shoddy behaviour. Good luck. I hope things work out.

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  2. Hi. What an articulate and eloquent post. You told your story, of which he has a starring part, so so beautifully. I hope your blog gets picked up in search results on him, so that people can see the other side. Is there anything else you can do? Do you have access to that forum to say something there too? It is wonderful to think that you had such great care, and from a wide spectrum of people too.
    Great post.
    Liska x

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  3. I TOTALLY went cold when I opened your post and read the name of the doctor in question. He is a good friend of my brother in law - I met him once, 17 years ago - but don't actually remember seeing him as I was high on gas and air at the time, and was about to have an emergency caeserean after 11 hours of labour that wasnt going anywhere.

    There I was totally high, and I kept saying to Dror "dont worry baby, it'll be alright"...next thing I know I am in the elevator down to the OR and the door opens and in walks Barrie Kaye (who was then doing his peds residency at Har Hazofim) to collect my new born, and then later in the OR I heard Yuval's name mentioned....

    LSS instead of worrying whether or not the baby was going to be okay - I remember thinking "oh no - Avner's friend is going to see me naked..."

    LSS - he IS good guy, and I agree with you that it is probably just a case of looking to find someone to blame for a bad situation, and I hope that this woman will retract her allegations.

    When bad things happen people always look for someone else to blame - its natural, as you said. I hope and I am sure that Yuval will survive this.


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    1. Thanks Liz, well we know Israel is a small country. Yes he is a good guy and I'm sure this will blow over. What's LSS?

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  4. This almost feels like an attack or an insult to you too, if you know what I mean, in that this Doctor was clearly a very professional, kind, supportive man in all that you went through on your journey to your daughter, so understandably it's horrid to see him being slandered - I would feel the same way too. And I hear your empathy stretch to the woman pointing the accusatory finger as well, it's just an awful shame she wants to blame Dr. Bdoleh, make him the scapegoat for her tragedy. X.

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  5. I think we can o0nly really judge people on our experience of them. I am glad that you had such a great experience and someone to be there to answer your questions etc and that you got your daughter who is such a blessing

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    1. True, but one's reputation also goes a long way.

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  6. A good reminder for us all, it is all too often that we (all of us at times) jump to conclusions and get the maths wrong and then real lives are effected in the process. I'll pray for your doctor friend.

    Mich x

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    1. Thanks Mich. Sometimes in a highly emotional and stressful situation we can become too bogged down in our own interpretation of things I think.

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  7. You have had such a good experience with this doctor, it is right that you write about it and so eloquently too. It is good to share the positive stories at times like this, I'm sure he appreciated your link.

    xx Jazzy

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    1. Thanks Jazzy, he did. It is a shame that we tend to read about the negative events in the media as, of course, they make a good and sensational story. I was happy to restore some balance here.

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  8. LSS, Rachel, is Long Story Short...

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