Sunday, May 8, 2016

Angry Mother's Day

I have a wonderful mother and four wonderful children for whom I'm incredibly grateful. I wish a very happy Mother's Day to all of you who have great mothers and/or children.

As a 4x loss mom who longs for another baby, I know this day can be hard. I wish peace and comfort to all of you who struggle today for any reason.

But today, I am angry.

I've been involved for a number of years in an online support group for women who have or had preeclampsia. This is a peer-to-peer group. We are not doctors, and even if we were we don't have access to medical records. We can't make medical diagnoses or recommendations. We can point women to information and encourage them to ask questions. In the last few days, there have been four women in our group that I am very concerned about, and I question whether they are getting the best care.

All four have or had symptoms that could be HELLP syndrome. One went in under 24 hours from being told by one doctor that she was completely fine to another telling her she had HELLP and there was no hope to save her baby. As I look back on her interaction with the group, she had concerning symptoms as far back as two months ago, but the first doctor repeatedly refused to test her for anything. The second mother has just been admitted and is finally getting a full battery of tests. The third was released after a mere 10 minutes without being tested because her blood pressure, which has been fluctuating for a while, was normal at the time. The fourth is in the military and is dealing with a doctor on a power trip who not only refuses to test her but won't let any other doctor test her, either, and as a member of the military she can't go outside the system for a second opinion.

Pain on the upper right side of the abdomen can have a number of causes. The most dangerous is the liver, aka HELLP syndrome. Yes, it's rare, but a simple blood test can rule it out. Then you can move on to other causes like gall bladder, pulled muscle, and baby pushing against the ribs. Why won't more doctors order the test? Why don't more of them know that HELLP can happen before/without PE and with normal blood pressure? A simple blood test can be the difference between life and death, worry and peace. JUST ORDER IT ALREADY!

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