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Letter of Complaint

May 31, 1999

Investigations and Resolutions Department                             Ms. R. Smith
College of Physicians and Surgeons                        1234 Anywhere Street
5678 Downtown Avenue                                            Tym Buk Tu, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin                                                                          99999

Dear Investigator:

Just past midnight on 00/00, 1999, I lost my husband, the father of my children, my best friend, and the love of my life, Gxxxx Bxxxxx. I believe his death was, in large part, due to the negligence of two doctors, Dr. Hxxxx Bxxxxx, our family doctor, and Dr. Bxxxx Sxxxxx of the XXXXX Health Centre.  I ask that you investigate the nature of the circumstances surrounding my husband’s death.

My husband, Txxxxx, had the privilege of never having to require any type of medication. He always looked fifteen years younger than he really was.  Perhaps this was due to his love of sports, as he was an Olympic athlete in his youth.

Txxxxx was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998.  This was followed by radiation therapy under the care of Dr. Cxxxxx Cxxxxx, Pxxxxx Mxxxxx Hospital.  Six-month check-ups indicated the radiation was a success.

In 2005, his PSA levels became erratic.  A biopsy was performed.  It suggested 10% of the cancer was still present.

Dr. Cxxxxx arranged a Cryoablation of Prostate and Suprapubic Cystostomy for December 21, 1998, with Dr. Jxxxxx Cxxx, Lxxxxx Uxxxxxx Hospital.  This was followed by the daily supervision of a nurse at home.

On December 29, 1998, Txxxxx and I noticed a swelling of his feet.  The nurse recommended we see our family Doctor, Dr. Bxxxxx Sxxxxx, which we did on December 30, 1998 ( see Nurse’s attached note ).  Dr. Bxxxxx dismissed the problem as nothing serious.

On January 10, 1998, we visited Dr. Cxxx for a routine post-surgery check-up as well as the removal of his catheter.  Observing Txxxxx’s feet which were still swollen and now slightly blue in colour, he urged us to see Dr. Bxxxxx a.s.a.p.

On January 13, 1999, we saw Dr. Bxxxxx.  In addition to the swelling and blue colour of his feet, Txxxxx’s blood pressure was extremely low.  Dr. Bxxxxx, in my opinion, “panicked”, and immediately sent us to Emergency at xxxxxxx Health Centre with his note ( see attached ).  The Emergency admitting Doctor, Dr. Bxxxxx Sxxxxx ordered a blood test, and an arterial, but not venous obstruction was investigated ( see attached coroner report ).  Why would an arterial investigation be ordered when the swelling in the legs and feet typically implies “Deep Vein Thrombosis”? We were told everything was OK, to go home, and to “eat lots of bananas”.  Dr. Sxxxx also scheduled an Abdominal CT Scan for January 16, 1999.  Why not schedule a lower leg ultrasound?

Txxxxx’s symptoms continued to worsen.  Therefore, we revisited our family Doctor, Dr. Bxxxxx on January 17, 1999.  I suggested a venous investigation to Dr. Bxxxxx.  Once again, for the third time, Dr. Bxxxxx felt everything was fine, dismissed us, and sent us home.

On January 20, 1999, Dr. Bxxxxx called to say the CT Scan was fine and that there was no spreading of the cancer.  Less than 24 hours later, my husband Txxxxx passed away from “Bilateral Peripheral Pulmonary Emboli” due to “Right Sided Deep Vein Thrombophlebitis”.  Dr. Bxxxxx openly blamed the Emergency department at the xxxxxx Health Centre, as well as Dr. Sxxxx, and is willing to testify against them.

I believe both Dr. Sxxxx and Dr. Bxxxxx demonstrated professional negligence during their care and treatment of my husband.  I believe had “one more test”, that being an investigation of Txxxxx’s veins, been ordered, my husband Txxxxx would be here today.  Deep Vein Thrombosis has become a very common term in the past few years, mostly thanks to airline travel.  It is also a common side effect of long periods of inactivity commonly associated with surgery, particularly in people over the age of sixty.  Likewise, the use of Heparin and Warfarin as anti-coagulants is extremely well known as a precautionary treatment to prevent DVT.

Our family is devastated.  This is an emotionally difficult time for me and my family, exacerbated by the absence of what should have been reasonable, prudent, and more thorough care for my husband.  It was to be a time for my husband and I to savour the fruits of our labour and enjoy our retirement, not a time for my family to question the integrity of his medical care after his death.

Thank you in advance for your investigation into the medical care and or negligence related to the death of my husband, Txxxxx Bxxxxx.  Should you require any further correspondence or information, please do not hesitate to call me.

Although I grieve for my husband, my family and I, as well as the medical profession, must investigate the circumstances of his premature passing, so that the medical profession may learn from it and, hopefully, prevent others from suffering the same fate as my beloved husband.   

Sincerely, and with deepest regrets,


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