Lost faith in doctors

Last year I had a pelvic infection which caused an abscess. When I went to the GPs they had given me antidepressents for my pelvic pain telling me they could also help with the pain (Amitryptilline). This did work for a bit but then after a couple of months the pain became more severe and spread from one side of the pelvis to the other, then eventually I had a feeling like something burst and I was in a lot of pain, when I got to Casualty they asked "Why didn't you see your GP?" they seemed quite exasperated. I had been back to the GP, a couple of times, but she had been pretty dismissive, telling me an earlier ultrasound (taken several months previous) had been OK. I eventually got a CT scan in the hospital and had to have an emergency laparotomy and IV antibiotics. There have also been problems with adhesions and bowel obstruction which I think may have compounded things, also I wonder if the pelvic infection was to do wih previous surgery rather than eg an STD which may have made it trickier to diagnose.

Previous to this, the year before, I had another serious condition (intussusception of the bowel requiring surgery) and the GP (a different GP) didn't send me to hospital, I had to take myself to casualty when it became really painful but they sent me home. I understand that was pretty difficult to diagnose and extremely rare in an adult, but for a pelvic infection, I would have thought that was less so.

I had changed GP, but now am thinking I should have stuck with the original one as at least i would have had some more consistancy of care. I wonder if the problem is I also have a history of depression from years back and this seems to sometimes cause them to think I'm being over-anxious or something. Having been through all of this now makes me even more anxious! One scary memory I have is my heart racing and being told it was probably anxiety whereas I think it might have been tachycardia from the infection...who knows now? I find it hard to get the GP to talk about it.

Has anyone else had similar problems and how did you deal with it? I am wondering about changing GPs again - it's a smallish town with several GPs practices within walking distance- but am worried would then have to start again... I have got transferred for my hospital treatment to another hospital ad the one nearby (which I went to) has a bad reputation anyway and I wouldn't go back, and the GP did sort that out for me which is good. I don't have much on paper about the infection which happened, the discharge report the hospital gave me was very vague and just mentioned the adhesions and laparotomy- nothing about the antibiotics or infection- so I dpn't feel I can really go to the GP and point out it was missed.

I just want to be sure things will go OK in future really.

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  • This is very reminiscent of an experience I had several years ago, the excrutiating pain, feeling of something bursting inside, anti-depressants, I had a couple of cysts on an ultrasound as well as discharge but the gyne was telling me it was nothing. The pelvis felt infected and a locum GP I saw wrote this in my GP notes. I went on with this for almost a year when my usual GP who had been on maternity leave checked my abdomen and noted a pelvic mass. Still the gyne disregarded it suggesting a hormone treatment for endometriosis. An emergency doctor came to see me, I had a hysteroscopy which showed nothing. Eventually I got referred out of the area, had a laparoscopy which showed severe pelvic infection resembling acute appendicitis. This led to several subsequent surgeries for deep endometriosis and adhesions both in this country and abroad. You have a right to see your GP records and to have copies. This may shed some light on the matter. You can also ask to see the practice manager to discuss your concerns. You can also raise the matter with the Patient advice and Liason service (PALS). What part of the country are you ?

  • Hi Judy, yes I saw in your reply to another post you had had something simillar and it made me think then. I wondered, does this often happen to women then? A couple of years previous, I had thought I had a womb infection after having an IUD fitted, and then saw a GP (who happened to be male) who did a proper exam, swabs, and sent bloods off, prescribed antibiotics in case, he was very good (it turned out it wasn't, that time) so it seems to vary a lot between doctors. Shouldn't be the case though.

    I'm in Bath. Have had my surgery follow up moved to Colorectal at the BRI in Brisol. Thankfully, although I've had to have further surgery for adhesions at another hospital, I haven't had many further problems with the pelvic pain / infection.

    I also saw a gyne who was pretty dismissive at the time all that was going on. She refused to talk about the possibility of infection from the previous (original) op and as that was delayed / misdiagnosed I had the feeling they didn't want to make the link between that and possible problems afterward (I had complained to the hospital about being sent home and had been given a very defensive and dismissive letter in reply)

    I'm a bit wary of complaining further as it didn't help me previously. Did you mention anything, and did it help?

  • Just read back through this again. That's awful that you had severe symptoms for over a year- it makes me cross as if they treated these conditions sooner it wouldn't require such a lot of work afterwards- all these operations! Also, as I'm sure you know, these abscesses can be life threatening. very scary. When I actually got my appointment with the gyne through, it was after the emergency op, my husband brought the vague report about the op and she copied it, telling me that was very useful, that there was nothing she needed too do, there was no reason I shouldn't be able to have more children etc... (luckily I have children from before all this happened)

    I've also had the general surgeon being very vague about adhesions too despite me having these ops for bowel obstruction, not very helpful.

    I find it's the combination of the possibly serious and life threatening consequences of not treating these conditions, along with the dismissive attitude of some doctors, which is the most difficult thing. I could cope with the possibility of these things happening as long as I know someone would help treat it, (scary as the symptoms may be).

  • Yes, I absolutely agree. A pelvic mass is a red flag symptom and life-threatening. I was astounded by the lack of concern. Pain has been with me ever since and I often wonder if things would have been different had things been dealt with competently.

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