May I have your opinions?

Nurses General Nursing



I am not a nurse. I'm just a patient. :) I just wanted your opinion on something. I am almost 6 months pregnant and recently checked into the hospital with extreme nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. To make a long story short, I sat in the hospital for 3 days before finally my doctor consented to giving me an ultrasound to check organs, etc. During those 3 days, I was seen by 3 different doctors (different doctor on call each day) and I was treated very casually and flippantly by everyone.

Finally, my doctor came into my room and told me that he felt I was "faking" contractions on the fetal monitor, that I wasn't having "real" pain, etc., and basically that he thought I was a drug seeking hypochondriac. 10 minutes later, the nurse gave him the u/s report.....huge infected gallbladder with tons of stones. I had surgery to remove it the next day.

However, he and his partners continued to accuse me of faking pain for painkillers. I was receiving demerol about every 4 hours. Now I feel like all the nurses are whispering behind my back or something, like I'm a druggie off the street.

If you were in their shoes, would you consider this "drug seeking behavior"? I was having a gallbladder attack, for goodness sake, plus subsequent surgery. I am of COURSE changing doctors now, but I still fear that the nurses at that hospital have somehow labeled me now because of this doctor.

What can I do to regain some semblance of respect? I feel as though my name is blackened, and I of course want my next experience at this hospital (hopefully I won't go back until the birth!) to be a good one. Nurses are 10 times more important than the doctors in making a hospital stay more comfortable and bearable. What would you think if you had been my nurse? Demerol every 4 hours for 5 days? Is that horrible? I'm not sure if I should change hospitals for the birth or not. :confused: Do you all just get a lot of drug seekers and it makes everyone suspicious or something?


258 Posts

One thing I learned in nsg school is that THE PT Is the best source to tell you how much pain you are in. The dr's had no right, I believe in treating you this way...

I could see concern if "a pt" had come in time and time again...a repetitive action... to get relief..but that is a different story within itself.

you were definitely in pain..and should have respected as much...I know what gallbladder is like...IT"S PAINFUL!! They did attempt Demerol w/ me until my surgery... but ended up putting me on a morphine drip...I hated it..

Iwas not "labeled " thou..

I imagine it depends what area u r from...but still these ppl r proffesionals and should NOT stereotype anyone....:nurse: :nurse: :nurse:


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

The doc may well have jumped the gun, but since you did not provide any of your history (any street drug use or "drug seeking behavior" in the past, for example?) it is hard to say. (And there is no reason to go into such details on this BB.)

So far as the doc's "rights" are concerned, one of a doc's proper duties is to make diagnoses, including that of "drug-seeking behavior." They are not always correct, but still, this is what docs are supposed to do. Generally, I have found that they do their best, based on their perceptions of all available information at the time.

I'm glad to hear that the gall bladder problem WAS corrected, and this is the most important thing. That is commonly one of the more painful things to experience, with passing kidney stones supposedly the most painful (though fortunately I can not vouch for either, from personal experience).

So far as correcting an inaccurate chart is concerned, I'd have a chat with the facility's social worker, patient advocate, ombudsperson, whatever they have, to see how to deal with this at that facility.

Good luck.

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

I'd say shove those kidney stones up the doctor's arse!

I would definitely report him to the hospital. Ask for either the attorney, or chief of OB/GYN, unless he is the cheif of opb/gyn, then ask to speak to the lawyer, because basically, it's a defamation of character. Tell the attorney you are considering hiring a lawyer. If that makes no impression, I would threaten to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper describing the uncaring treatment you rec'd and XYZ hospital.

The very least any real doctor with integrity would have done is apologize to you for accusing you of faking contractions, and proceed w your care accordingly. I have a feeling if he had done this, you would not be so angry right now.

He cont'd to make an issue of your "drug seeking" to save his face. He F'd up BIG TIME, and doesn't want to look like an a$$.

If I were you I'd be spitting bullets right now. You could also report the hospital to JACHO and to the state health dept. Pain is a HUGE issue rioght now, and people are supposed to be treated according to the pain they report, and not based on the doctor's impression of your pain. Besides, if you had a drug-seeking issue, and your doc didn't refer you to rehab, esp since you are pregnant, he is negligent. He should at a minimum gotten a psych consult if he believed that were the case.

And YES!! Get another doctor!!!!!!

nimbex, RN

387 Posts

pain- exists whenever it is voiced and to the extent that the person verbalizing it says it is..... period!

pain is a major joint commission (a huge accrediting and regulatory agency) issue. Any joint commission accredited hospital has policies and standards set in place to ensure adequate pain management is the same priority as taking vital signs.

Because of this group of either med or surgical docs's jumped the gun, does not make the facility bad. If you are unsure, speak to your OB about pain management during delivery... changing at 6 months may be unwise unless youre uncomfortable with the answers you recieve.

No, we are not all like this, it's shameful, that an admission of error was not spoken to you.

You can;

- Call the medical director over these docs and give a formal complaint which they WILL review.

-Obtain a copy of your records and ask for an addendum to be made if you see charting which you feel is slanderous (the record is the record and cannot be removed or altered)

-Write to the AMA (american medical association) and file a written complaint

-Speak to the doc's involved and state your case and let them grovel.

-Call or write to JCAHO and complain (which should be done after trying the above)

***know that although you were treated very unfairly, this is NOT a norm in health care and you do have options to voice your anger.

:kiss :kiss from a nurse who is sorry the medical profession has left such a bad taste in your mouth

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I think this IS the norm, but that doesn't make it right. Partially because it's easier to blame the pt when he/she doesn't get better, and partially because of the doc as God. If the doc doesn't find a problem immediately there must not be one???

I'm sorry this happened to you, and remind you that you will be on another unit when you give birth, and likely those nurses will not bother to look at the old chart in depth.


101 Posts

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I recently had my gallbladder removed after several weeks of pain, nausea, vomiting and weight loss before my doctor found the problem. Gallbladder attacks are very painful. I'm glad to hear they were able to find the cause of your pain and correct the problem.

At my hospital we have a couple of groups of doctors who have a different doctor rounding on pts at the hospital each day. For a routine delivery this is okay for most pts. However, when we get a pt that is not routine and having a problem that is hard to diagnose or doesn't seem to be responding as expected to treatment, these pts pften become frustrated with their doctors. They often feel they are having to explain everything over and over to the "new" doctor and they often feel that their care isn't coordinated well. I am not saying that these doctors are bad doctors, just that many pts are not satisfied with seeing the "doctor of the day" who seems to be starting from scratch by asking the pt repeat their story every day.

I have seen doctors who think the pt is just looking for drugs and not really experiencing pain. You have every right to fire that doctor. Before you do that, shop around for a new obstetrician. Find out who follows a hospitalized pt. In many groups each individual doctor sees their own pt throughout the week and then one doctor sees all pts for that group over the weekend. Should you have any further complications during this pregnancy, you may be more satisfied with with that type of care.

As far as the nurses at the hospital labeling you, unless there is something you are not mentioning here, I don't think that will happen. As an OB nurse, I don't scrutinize your old chart to see how often you were taking pain meds. You had surgery. Some people need more pain meds after surgery than others. I am more intersted in why you had surgey and how it could affect your labor, delivery or post-partum recovery. If you are still worried about the nurses treating you differently and think you will be uncomfortable about this when you deliver, then perhaps you should switch hospitals, too. It is too special of a time to let your concerns ruin it for you.

Regardless of where you decide to deliver your baby, I think you should file a complaint with the hospital about the way the doctor treated you. You may not be the only pt who has experienced this type of treatment from this doctor. As others have mentioned, pain control is an important issue for JCAHO and inadequate pain control is to be taken very seriously.

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I would not worry about what the nurses think, they probably think the Dr. is a a--hole! You are smart to seek another Dr. one you can trust and one that can trust you. Hope you stay healthy and have a healthy baby.

Specializes in ICU, nutrition.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting labeled a drug seeker by the nurses. If your doctor thinks you were a drug-seeker though, I think I'd have to find another doctor. And at least when I had my baby, the nurses were offering me drugs and epidural, and I didn't take them for a long time. My choice, because they weren't even waiting for me to ask, they were offering. I'm sure some of the OB nurses could weigh in on this as well.

Gall bladder attacks hurt! My husband had his out last year and when he went to the ER, they left him sitting in the waiting room forever before they finally did anything for him, just because they didn't really think there was anything wrong with him. It didn't help that he got sick on a holiday (they probably thought he'd had too much to eat or drink). He was hurting so bad, and they never offered him anything for pain. After the doctor examined him, I asked the nurse if he could have something for pain. He just told me he didn't know and walked out. So I went and found the doctor and asked him, since he had already examined my husband. The doctor said yes and my hubby finally got some Demerol. So I think sometimes it's the doctor, sometimes it's the nurse forming an opinion about who's really in pain. Once he had his ultrasound and they decided to admit him, the nurse began offering pain medicine, even though the first dose he had was still covering him.

I personally believe that someone is in pain if they say they are in pain. My giving someone pain medicine in the hospital is not going to cause them to get addicted to it. Addiction is a psychological problem anyway.


15 Posts

Thank you all for your replies. A few questions were raised, so I thought I would answer them.....

The doctor said that the reason he felt I was a drug seeker was because I was admitted to the hospital on 3 occasions during my last pregnancy several years ago.......once for a kidney stone/infection, and twice for preterm labor with contractions about every 3-5 minutes for several days. On all 3 of those occasions I was given pain relief when it was needed. He also said that 2 months ago I asked for cough medicine (which apparently has codeine in it) and he said that these two events made him believe I was just there to ask for pain meds. My husband I found this so ridiculous since I had not been in the hospital since the birth of my first child....and oh, by the way, I did not receive any IV pain meds during my labor, and in fact, I would have opted for an epidural during all the preterm episodes too, but of course they only do the epidural if a delivery is immenent. Anyway, he is the head doctor in his practice, so I cannot go any further over his head.

And also, I was in the maternity ward during this whole hospital stay since I am so far along in pregnancy. (They monitored the baby constantly, etc.) So I WILL have the exact same nurses for delivery. :(

The doctor did suggest a psych consult, which infuriated me. I was in physical pain. I was literally doubled over as we were talking. I knew I wasn't some drug addict off the street....I am a Christian loving mother and wife who doesn't even like to take antihistamines, for pete's sake......I didn't need a psychiatrist! (rolling eyes)

And one last question......what is JCAHO?


1,024 Posts

Pain is what the pt says it is to the extent the pt says it is. The doctor shouldn't have made rash judgments without the u/s report. I would report him. Like you need anymore stress at this point in your life.

By the way, congrats on your little bundle!!

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

JCAHO, Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals O? (I forget what the O stands for, sorry!

JCAHO's job is to inspect a hospital every 2 or 3 years and determine if they meet quality standards. 80% of this is done via chart review, IMHO

But, JCAHO has rigid standards for pain and demand that all pain be not only documented, assessed on a numerical scale Somewthing you can quantify it pain with ie "the pt is having severe pain is not as clear as the pt reports pain of 8 on a 0-10 scale. Then it must have a follow up noted, was the pt given pain meds/ or treatment, what was the response 30 minutes after the treatment, pain decreased to 5 on 0-10 scale. Goal being pain of 2 or less.

So labeling you as a drug-seeker w/o any legit justification is ridiculous. Well, since, if he really did believe that, and did recommend a psych consult (not that you needed it!!! :) ), the n he is not negligent, but he has certainly defamed your character IMHO.

Unfortunately, I think this IS the norm lately, sad, but true.

But, good for you for not taking it!! GO to the CEO of the hospital and ask who you can take your complaint to. I think it isn't a bad idea to put it in writing and cc it to JCHO, and the big wigs at the hospital.

PS I had a kidney stone last year, and THAT HURTS!!!!!!!!! OMG, worse than labor IMHO!

Good luck to you.

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