Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Complaint Process

After a traumatic hospital experience in January of 2007, I have been trying to heal myself and advocate for prevention of traumatic experiences for other women birthing in American hospitals.

First I asked the midwives at the hospital who I would send a complaint to. I was told the nurse manager. I took my complaint to her who said it would go to an internal review board with the midwifery practice at the hospital and their supervisory obstetrician. I wrote a letter to them detailing the outcomes of the care they provided me. It was 5 months from the initial phone call to the nurse manager to the response sent from the review board.

The response I got back ignored my case of PTSD and that it was caused by their treatment. Instead, I was told that I had "received a clinically appropriate standard of care."

I wrote back pointing out this discrepancy in handling my complaint. I was told that my case was being forwarded to the Grievance Committee conducted by the Risk Management department of the hospital. I was also given the contact information for the Joint Commission and the State Department of Health. Both have official complaint processes for patients and family members who believe that their care was not conducted well for whatever reason.

Currently, a year after the initial trauma, I have complaints lodged with the Joint Commission, my state department of health and the risk management department of the hospital. I'm waiting to hear what they will say. And who knows if my complaint with have an effect.

For others interest in making a writen complaint about care they have received go to:
Joint Commission Complaint Form

The Joint Commission is a non-profit accredidation and quality assurance organization for over 15,000 hospitals and medical care centers in the US. They have some clout in getting hospitals to change their policies.

I will update when further progress has been made.

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