My letter to the patient advocate:
"To whom it may concern,
I am writing to register a complaint about the behavior of Pediatrics Attending Dr. N. My newborn daughter is currently under Dr. N's care against our wishes and in spite of multiple requests for an alternative physician.
Our complaints are as follows:
1. Dr. N misrepresented himself and his role in the care of my wife resulting in a great deal of unnecessary emotional distress and greatly complicating our post-partum course of care.
2. Dr. N was emotionally and physically inappropriate with my wife, culminating with him cornering my wife in the hallway when she had left the birthing suite to get away from him and kissing her on the cheek.
My wife and I had planned a home birth and were under the care of the X Birth Center. We came to University Hospital for induction of labor following premature rupture of membranes without progression to labor. Upon our arrival we requested to speak with the Peds attending as it was our desire to take our infant home with us with the minimum hospital stay and with a minimum of medical intervention and we wanted to discuss our soon to be born infant's plan of care with the doctor who would be taking care of her.
We had not had any previous contact with any physician when Dr. N arrived in our room and immediately began to tell my wife that she needed to prepare for a C-section and that this was most likely going to be unavoidable for us. This was very distressing for my wife who had planned a home delivery and had hoped to be able to have one up until an hour before arriving at U.Hospital. Dr. N. then told us how he planned to care for our as yet unborn child. When my wife, who was by this time extremely alarmed, protested that she would rather sign out AMA than follow the course of care proposed by Dr. N, he responded by placing his hand on my wife's feet and saying that if she were his daughter, he would beg and plead with her not to do such a terrible terrible thing. We continued to try to register our desired plan of care with the Dr. and he continued to assert that he was going to ignore our wishes, referring to our soon to arrive daughter as "my baby" and claiming to be the baby's ombudsman. He also continued to talk about my wife having a C-section and gave dire predictions about what was about to happen to her, all of which proved to be entirely unfounded. Dr. N's demeanor so upset my wife that she got out of bed and fled from the room. I continued to speak with Dr. N, who continued to state the he was not going to be responsive to our concerns and desires and that he knew my wife would do what he wanted her to do because he could see that she loved the baby. Meanwhile my wife was out in the hallway desperately inquiring from the nurses for a way to escape from this physician, if not from the hospital all together. When my conversation with the doctor concluded without agreement on a plan of care, he left the room and sought my wife out in the hallway where he, without any consideration for her state of mind or her regard for him, approached her, kissed her on the cheek, and offered assurances that he would take care of everything etc.
My wife returned to the room only after assurances that Dr. N was not her OB and would not have influence over her course of treatment. We immediately began to state the we did not want any further involvement with Dr. N and inquired as to alternate physicians who might be available to us. We were told that there was essentially no alternative to Dr. N available to us. We also asked for the patient advocate and were ultimately visited by a hospital representative although we were not able to speak to her in detail as my wife was in active labor by the time she arrived.
My wife and daughter were both entirely free from complications and had no signs and symptoms of infection. Out of a desire to return to our previous birth plan and specifically to avoid further contact with Dr. N, we attempted to arrange to take our daughter home without lab draws or other invasive tests. We declined Dr. N's offer to release us immediately upon receipt of negative lab results because we flatly do not trust him and find interacting with him to be distasteful. We requested to speak to the attending on call for nights and offered to have the labs drawn if we could transfer care to her, but we were told that she was not responding to pages and that there was no way to contact her. We attempted to sign our daughter out AMA but were told by a social worker that if we did so child protective services would be called and our baby would be taken away from us. We offered to return daily with our daughter so that her condition could be monitored and inquired as to other possible alternate arrangements, but to no avail.
At this time my wife remains at the hospital with our daughter, essentially being held captive against her will. We are told that a Neonatologist will be made available to us for a second opinion in the morning, but we are still under Dr. N's care. We have reached a stalemate, where he says he will release us in 48 hours if there are no complications. Unhappily, we remain at his mercy.
Obviously, we are extremely unhappy with the care we have received. Dr. N lost our trust when he made disturbing assertions about my wife's care when he had no business doing so. He is the pediatrician and had no business discussing C-sections or any aspect of my wife's treatment with us, much less being the first to do so. We find his demeanor condescending, arrogant, and entirely dismissive of our role as parents. We find his physical contact with my wife to be entirely unacceptable. We feel something should be done to rectify the situation.
We were very happy with the physician who delivered our baby and with the nursing staff on the unit and have had positive experiences and interactions with all of the hospital staff with whom we have come in contact with the exception of Dr. N only.
Thank you very much for your attention.
We ended up signing out AMA after 24 hrs and another showdown with the social worker. The sky has not fallen on us yet.