I reported it

just me

Registrant
When I was 12 I experienced inappropriate touch by a pediatrician, it is the reason I am here on MS and I have been here off and on for more than 11 years. I recognized that the acts I experienced were mild in the context of the more explicit abuses experienced by other survivors. (I am trying not to minimize too much, like many of us do, but I feel context is necessary). After much work here and elsewhere I realize that even though the acts were 'mild' the abuse of power and how it effected me then, and all these years later, was significant.

So why am I posting on the ASA thread? I am having a hard time posting this here, I keep minimizing and thinking this post may not belong here but unfortunately this may be the correct thread and I need to get this out even though I'm ok and coping well with this situation. (Much thanks and gratitude to @Fitz for supporting and listening to me throughout this process, you have become a true friend)

Two years ago:

Either.
1. I am very unlucky for this to happen to me again
2. This must happen a lot
3. I am completely overreacting

Two years ago I went into a local surgery center for arm surgery. By way of introduction, for this procedure they use two types of anesthesia, an 'arm block' and general. In order to do the 'arm block' that makes the whole arm numb the patient needs to be awake so the doctor is sure he put the medication in the nerve correctly. Since this is painful they normally give the patient a pain killer and an amnesic medication that causes the patient not to remember the procedure even though they are still awake. Since the amnesic medication makes me sick they could not use it and they only used very strong pain killers for the first part. This introduction is important because it means that I remember EVERYTHING until the general anesthsiaia put me to sleep. What is also important is that it is very rare not to use the amnesic medication and only the anesthesiologist knew that I didn't have it.

(Very mild trigger warning)
The 'arm block' was done in a preop area and it was very painful, and unfortunately I remember it well even though I was on serious pain medication. After this they wheeled me into the operating room. As is typical for surgery I was wearing a hair-net, a gown and compression socks, that's it but I was covered with blankets until being asked to transfer to the surgery table. The blankets were removed and I was asked to transfer to the surgery table. The table is a narrow padded surface that is no wider than ones torso with arm extensions. I transferred and the assistant who was strapping me to the table using wide Velcro straps, strapped my legs in and then put a strap across my belly. At that point she threw a sheet or blanket over me and was smoothing it out...that's when the genital contact took place. She felt my genitals with her hand, it was not an accidental passing tap with the back of the hand, it was a 'feel'. That's it, that's the whole big deal I gave all these details to get to... I don't want to make more or less out of this than it is, but let me just say it clearly, she felt my penis with her hand.

On the one hand I thought, could that have been intentional, why would anyone do that with other medical personnel in the room and then I wondered did she do that because she thought I wouldn't remember it anyway, almost all other patients wouldn't. When I woke from surgery I immediately began to have these questions and doubts. Was it really intentional? I could not know her intent. But I knew how it felt. Was I overreacting? A justified touch or exam would not have bothered me at all. I was afraid to tell, but I kept asking myself why? If I was a woman everyone would take that kind of touch and a report seriously. There was no medical related reason to touch me there for this type of surgery.

For two years I have been asking myself, what am I afraid of? As one who has made CPS reports as part of my work and as an advocate for children, was I now a hypocrite, why was this so difficult? It dawned on me that this was so very similar to what happened when I was 12, a medical provider in a position of power using their role to touch, perhaps to covertly abuse. Once again I would never be sure because I can't know the intent of that individual. There was no proof and there never would be.

What's the worst that could happen if I reported it? After a lot of thought, I realized that I had two fears, I WAS AFRAID THEY WOUDLN"T BELIEVE ME and I was afraid they would treat me differently if I had to go back to this doctor in the future. Wow, I'm an adult and I was afraid they wouldn't believe me. I guess we all keep this inner childhood fear. Maybe they would minimize (even more than me) and say it was probably an accident, he was overreacting. Maybe they would think I was a weird, or just jumping on the #metoo bandwagon. Why was this so difficult.

So after two years I decided I could handle it if they didn't believe! And I could report it anonymously so they wouldn't treat me differently in the future and in this way I could feel like I'm moving forward and perhaps they could prevent abuses to additional patients.

I called the facility anonymously and asked for the manager and told my story. SHE BELIEVED ME! Wow, what a relief. I apologized for not giving my identity but she was so real and accepting, she promised investigate and really understood and showed empathy and compassion, understanding that this was difficult for me. The experience was so positive that I gave her my real name and information to make it much easier to investigate.

Thank you for reading all that.
Either:
1. I am very unlucky for this to happen to me again
2. This must happen a lot
3. I am completely overreacting
 
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Fitz

Registrant
Wow... I am SO proud of you @just me! I know how much you wrestled with all of this. After talking with you & others, I am leaning towards option #2 -- and I do not feel you are very unlucky or overreacting.

I have also benefitted from your support & friendship.
 

Photoman

Registrant
That for sure had to be a hard decision to make to report it. The fear of them not believing you sounds like a lot of us as of why we never told of our abuse. I'm proud of you and pleasantly surprised they took you serious. You did the right thing. No telling what goes on after we're 'dead to the world' while under for surgeries. You were just lucky you remembered after all the drugs. I hope you've saved others from the same treatment.
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
Perhaps 1 and 2 but definitely NOT 3. You showed incredible courage in overcoming your fears and reporting! As the others said WELL DONE!!!
 

just me

Registrant
I appreciate all of the responses, thank you.

It is interesting I felt strongly enough about it over two years that I finally reported it and wrote this up; it almost feels petty that I did. Such a 'relatively' small thing. I keep telling myself that everyone, including me, would agree that if this happened to a woman it would be clear and understandable that it would be upsetting, but somehow as a guy they way we/I am minimizing it it feels like I'm, well being a snowflake- and I have never looked at myself that way. I generally come off as confident and secure- oh well, I guess I'm human after all. We humans are complicated.
 
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The Bluefoot

Registrant
While I was reading your stories I was thinking. That maybe someone else had reported this doctor first and they brushed it off or they looked into it and saw it as a mistake or accidental touch. maybe both form 2 different patience. The good doctor got away with it twice. But by you reporting it is a 3rd time its no longer an accident or mistake its a problem now. You never know you one time report could now prevented and other victim . from being touched. I so proud that you had the course to report the doctor. I wish someone reported the doctor I saw then I was 5 before he taught me good touch bad touch.
 
You certainly have been unfortunately when it comes to medical treatment. After the first experience its no wonder that the second experience disturbed you so much. It would have brought back all those childhood fears. That's what happened to me when a woman at work basically attacked one night when I was working. I was paralyzed with fear and didn't know what to do because it brought back the fears from my childhood abuse. I've had that arm block twice. The first time with out any medication. I went in cold for it. They attached electrodes so my arm so they could test nerves as they worked to numb the arm. It was an intense experience but did not find it painful. The worst part was know what they were doing, sticking a giant needle deep into my arm. The second time I insisted on getting the happy meds before they numbed the arm. The second time it was done by a different doctor who used ultra sound to track the needle and did not use the electrodes. It was much more pleasant.
 
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