Today I made a formal complaint

To whom it may concern,

I wish to provide some feedback on my most recent experience at one of your pathology collection centres. While I do not wish to cause any trouble for your staff, I think it’s important for you to be aware of the personal distress that was caused to me today when I was having blood drawn. I do not wish to identify the name of the person who undertook my test or the location of the clinic, I just wanted to make you aware of my experience in the hope that such distress will not be caused to others in my situation.

I had my blood taken today to confirm the successful termination of a pregnancy of unknown location. The specimen collector confirmed this was the reason for my test, asking me if I was currently still pregnant. I told him that I was not. The request form also clearly stated that my doctor was a fertility specialist, and that a copy of my results was to be sent to my fertility clinic.

Unknown to the collector, my unsuccessful pregnancy was the result of my fouth cycle of IVF. My husband and I have been desperately trying to have children for several years, experienced pregnancy loss in the past and were devastated to find we had to terminate our most recent pregnancy because it was not located in the uterus. These are all very personal details that I prefer not to share with others.

While administering the blood test, the collector asked me of my plans for Christmas. He then began to talk about his own Christmas plans even though I had not asked him about them. He told me how special this Christmas would be for him because he and his wife were going to tell their extended family that they were expecting their first child. He told me all about seeing his baby’s heartbeat at their first ultrasound, how excited he was that he could announce the pregnancy to his family on Christmas morning, how thrilled his mother and mother-in-law would be, how unexpectedly wonderful the pregnancy had been, and how he planned to be at every ultrasound and appointment so he didn’t have to miss out on any part of this very special experience.

During the appointment I smiled and nodded because I did not know any other way to react. I was completely stunned that the collector was being so utterly insensitive. Even without knowing that I have been going through IVF, surely he could understand why I would not want to hear such things while I was having blood drawn to confirm the end of my own pregnancy. My husband and I had also planned to tell our families of our long awaited pregnancy on Christmas morning, however that will no longer be a possibility for us.

Undergoing fertility treatment and losing a baby is hard enough as it is, without being subjected to such insensitivity whilst I am having my blood drawn. This incident has been extremely upsetting and stressful for me. After I left the clinic I was very emotional and suffered an anxiety attack. I will now be fearful of returning to have my blood drawn in the future because I will associate those feelings of panic and anxiety with your collection centres.

I wish for it to be known that the staff member who collected my blood was extremely pleasant and cheerful. I thought it was great that he attempted to make conversation while the test was in progress. I simply think that the subject matter he chose was entirely unacceptable and perhaps your staff need to be counselled on how to behave tactfully in the workplace and whilst dealing with patients.

I appreciate you reading my feedback and hope that you will take my comments on board.

Kind regards,

Sadie

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22 thoughts on “Today I made a formal complaint

  1. Seriously?! My heart hurts… my last retrieval was by an RE that was 7 months pregnant and “upset” by it as she felt she was too old at 37 to “do it” and I got to hear all about it… not the same but the pain has some “cousin” to it.

  2. That’s the definition of “irony”…geezus. Your response was very tactful and I hope they give it serious consideration. I’ve thought about letting my chiropractic office know that I stopped coming because my DC was made aware of my IF troubles but has never mentioned how his treatment is helping me in this matter…and the only thing he speaks about is his very pregnant wife. He’s very young and obviously has no grasp of how pervasive IF and RPL are–sure, I smiled and congratulated him but then I called and canceled all my appointments. It’s just, it’s a small clinic and I don’t think they would care if I complained, I would just seem petty and unreasonable to them. It bears repeating that I’m sorry you’re going through this and this guy’s ignorance adds insult to injury and I wish he knew–not only the rules of appropriateness–but how bad it HURTS to lose a pregnancy. XO

    • I would never have had the guts to write the letter if it had been a small clinic like your chiropractic office! Luckily this is a large company with over 100 collection centres so I felt like it was ok to complain.

  3. oh my! Beautifully said! You expressed your concern, heartache, but still emphasized that you understood the person didn’t realize what they were doing and was never “rude”. Guys seriously have NO clue on stuff like this and they especially need training on what to say and what not to say. I’m glad you wrote a letter because until someone says something, things do not change. I’m saying prayers for you that you won’t have another anxiety attack again :/

    • Thank you I felt a bit bad for complaining because he was such a nice guy but he has to choose his topics of conversation a bit more carefully. I had another awful panic attack later that night but I’m hoping the worst of it is over now.

  4. Oh dear. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Yesterday I went to a GP for a physical and when he asked if I had children and I replied “No, I have some fertility problems we’ve been working through for the last two years” his response was “practice makes perfect!” It’s NOTHING like what you went through, but it’s just yet a nother example of how the people we think should be on our team don’t know how to act.

  5. When having blood taken at my fertility clinic to confirm dropping BHCG levels the nurse congratulated me twice on being pregnant. I wanted to punch her. People in the medical profession should know better and learn to keep their mouths shut, or ask insightful and sensitive questions with empathy.
    I’m sorry this happened to you.

    • It was a really awful experience he even showed me a photo of his wife on his phone!! I just wish I hadn’t been so shocked at the time that I couldn’t speak up and tell him that he was upsetting me.

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