What can you do if you are concerned about the way a physician practices medicine in Minnesota, USA?
You can find a lawyer to help you sue the physician for malpractice. If you have a good case that lawyers believe is winnable, then you may not have to pay the lawyer their fees upfront, but they will usually take a chunk of any money paid for your damages. However, if more than 6 years have passed since the incident that concerned you about the way a physician practiced medicine on you, then you no longer have the option to sue.
You can contact the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, a state regulatory agency that licenses physicians and ensures that Minnesota physicians meet minimum standards of practice. The Board’s responsibility is to protect you, the patient. If the Board is able to be of assistance, then you can receive complaint forms. To initiate a formal review, your signature has to be notarized on the completed forms and the packet returned to the Board.
I registered the following complaint with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.
“I am writing to complain about medical treatment I received that has left me so disabled that I am only now able to file this complaint. I had a Bartholin gland cyst for 20 years that had been drained in an emergency surgery due to sepsis. The surgeon had informed my now ex-husband that if it came back, then it would need to be marsupialized. My Bartholin gland cyst came back about 20 years later, and I was sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency Department by the insurance company. I was seen by Dr. Timothy Thompson. He shoved a cold speculum into my inflamed vagina and torqued the handles to open my vagina up wide, which was completely unnecessary. I screamed in pain, but still he poked and prodded around until he concluded that it was no big deal. My ex-husband and I begged for same-day surgery, but Dr. Thompson prescribed a 10-day round of antibiotics. “Broad spectrum antibiotic therapy is warranted only when cellulitis is present” (Management of Bartholin’s Duct Cyst and Gland Abscess, Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(1):135-140). The same article recommends excision of the Bartholin gland to exclude adenocarcinoma when the cyst occurs in patients older than 40. Dr. Timothy Thompson went against both aspects of the literature published more than a decade before and upheld by later articles. Even worse, he treated me like a homeless drug-seeker when I asked for pain medication without Tylenol. My liver cannot handle Tylenol, and I tried to explain to Dr. Thompson that I am a Ph.D. scientist with experience in drug discovery and development and have been over-exposed to chemicals. But Dr. Thompson told me there is no opioid without Tylenol and would only prescribe hydrocodone-acetaminophen. After a couple days, I could no longer tolerate the pain and I took a hydrocodone pill. I then experienced hepatic encephalopathy. Not long after my surgery, I was diagnosed with PTSD and my whole life fell apart. I lost my husband and my house, I was disowned from my family, and I have been unable to get a job.”
I mailed my complaint packet on July 21, 2022. Yesterday, December 22, 2022, I received a letter from the Board stating that “the facts of the case did not provide a sufficient basis for the Board to take disciplinary or corrective action against the Respondent’s medical license.”
I received the letter last night, and it triggered my PTSD. Today, December 23, 2022. I sent the following email to the Senior Medical Regulations Analyst who signed the letter from the Board.
“I received your letter denying my maltreatment and ongoing suffering. Your letter states that the “facts” of the case do not warrant any disciplinary or corrective action. Unless you have proof that Dr. Timothy N. Thompson is now treating the estimated 2% of women who get Bartholin gland cysts in a manner that is consistent with peer-reviewed medical literature, then I wish to escalate my complaint to a higher regulatory authority. I presented clear proof that I was mistreated in a way that is specifically contraindicated in the literature long before I went to the emergency room. Yet you deny these facts that are clear from my medical records along with the literature I cited without any explanation. Please let me know how I can appeal your decision or escalate my complaint.”
I received an out of office automatic response with the contact information of two more Minnesota state employees, including the Complaint Review Unit Manager. So, I forwarded the email to them. I received a response from a Senior Medical Regulations Analyst saying that “there is no appeal process for decisions made by the Complaint Review Committee.”
How can they be on my side when I don’t even have the right to see Dr. Thompson’s response? How can he possibly claim that he did the right thing in the face of literature specifically saying he did the wrong thing? His treatment damaged me, and I am still suffering almost 7 years later. I think that deserves a corrective action at least. The Complaint Review Committee is comprised of 2 MDs (Medical Doctors or physicians) and 1 non-MD, which is already clearly slanted toward the MDs. Also, who knows what kind of gender bias the Complaint Review Committee can have? Men cannot get Bartholin gland cysts, so a committee full of men would have no idea how much it could hurt and may not be interested in a condition that affects 2 out of every hundred women in the USA. Clearly the vast regulatory bodies that soak up enormous amounts of our tax dollars do not work for us, even though they purport to. They are on the side of those who have the money = power. The truth, the only righteous authority, is meaningless. That is why we are suffering and will increasingly suffer the consequences.