The letter

Letter is signed, sealed and delivered.  We decided to post it, but it is really long – you have been warned!  We feel better that we have had our say and hopefully, if nothing more, they will put measures in place to stop this from happening again to us, or at all to other people.  Hope you are all doing well out there!

Further to our phone conversation today we wish to highlight some concerns we have had regarding our experience with (clinic)

Issues regarding specific dates:

After our initial consultation process in 2007, in subsequent phone conversations (Tui) was referred to as “he”.  Despite correcting the caller this happened on at least three occasions.

In January 2008, after our first IUI we were invoiced for $875 instead of $630.  We were told we were the first to query this and it was the result of a problem with the computer system.  In the same month (Tui) went for blood tests for initial screening and her results were lost, which meant the tests had to be repeated.  For our first cycle we were not advised when to start our blood testing, and we had to call back to find out.

In May 2008 (Tui) was erroneously sent a letter inviting her to join an infertility support group. 

In June 2008 we had to call for results.  After finding out our IUI had failed again, we received a letter congratulating us on our pregnancy.

In July 2008 we began using Clomiphene stimulation. Both our doctor and nurse reviewed the E2 level and ovulation patterns and said that we had “perfect ovulation”, and due to the good response Gonal F and the trigger shot were unnecessary. For the next 8 IUI cyles, and at almost every scan we went to, we were told by staff members to either carry on with Gonal F or that they would organise the trigger shot. When we replied that we were not using these as we didn’t need them, we were questioned as to why not. Often this involved persistent questioning and an attitude of disbelief from the staff that we were not doing everything we could, despite the medical staff familiar with our file agreeing it would be a waste of time. We were also told on numerous occasions that a note would be put on our file advising staff we were not using these drugs and why, however we would still go through the same thing each cycle.

During the IUI process, it was discovered the Sydney IVF catheter was best suited for our inseminations.  We were told this would be written in our notes for future use but on most subsequent occasions we have had to remind staff to use this.

In February 2009 a completely wrong Day 1 date was recorded which meant that blood tests were not scheduled until CD11 and scan on CD13.

In March 2009 after enquiring about an AMH test we were told by a staff member that there wouldn’t be any use doing it because they already had so much information on our cycle, and that they would need to talk to the doctor.  We were told that we would be rung back.  We were never rung back and had to make contact again ourselves and found out that according to our Doctor the testing was important. During these phone calls the staff member also advised that we would not be able to access any further treatment until we had paid the arrears on our account. These ‘arrears’ were the result of a bill for an IUI from October 2008 that was not issued until March 2009 and we had only just received notification of this error from the clinic.  

In July 2009 we specifically requested 2 hours notice for an insemination as we had to travel to Auckland.  We were rung and asked to be at the clinic in 10 minutes.  In this cycle we again had no contact as to when to start bloods.  We rang on CD8 and left a message and were not contacted.  We rang again on CD9 which is the day we usually start blood testing, and had to leave another message before getting a response. This happened again on a subsequent insemination but on that occasion we began testing on CD9 as per previous cycles with no instruction from the clinic. We had to phone and tell them that we had done so which we were told was the right thing to have done.

In October 2009 when we were undergoing IVF treatment, and following the failed embryo transfer on October 6th 2009 we were advised that someone would contact us and let us know if they were able to arrange for an anaesthetist to be present for a second attempt on October 8th 2009. We left two messages before being contacted after 5pm on October 7th with the information we needed.

On October 27th 2009 in regards to the latest issue that we spoke about on the phone, we were contacted by the funding coordinator.  I questioned the information she gave me as it was contrary to what we believed was going to happen after our meeting with our doctor.  What was most objectionable was the questions regarding my BMI and the manner in which the questions were asked.  I was asked my weight, why I couldn’t lose weight, was there a medical reason I couldn’t lose weight.  I fail to see why these questions were even asked by this staff member as I believe it is a matter between myself and my doctor or nurse.

Other general issues:

On one occasion when I went for a scan there were dirty tissues from a previous scan left on the bed which I had to put in the rubbish bin.

When discussing the possibility that eggs may have fertilised after IUI cycles due to cramping I was getting around implantation day, we were told by a staff member that it was impossible because if fertilisation had occurred it would show up in the HCG levels at the pregnancy test.  We asked our doctor who tells us this is not the case, that HCG levels will not change until implantation occurs.  We feel this is basic information a staff member should be able to give us accurately.

On occasions when we have highlighted concerns some staff members have been apologetic and tried to help, however on other occasions some staff members have become defensive and made us feel that we had no right to ask questions or our concerns were not valid. 

Most of these issues could have been avoided by;

–          Staff members making contact when expected as per the clinic guidelines, or when they say they will

–          Staff members consulting notes thoroughly before procedures take place

–          All staff members consistently communicating the same correct information to patients regarding treatment

–          All staff members acknowledging when a mistake has been made on the part of the clinic and validating any concerns a patient has

–          Staff members being careful to communicate in a manner that is respectful to the patient

We unfortunately have learned to question, check and follow up on all queries/processes with the clinic as experience has taught us that the information given is not always accurate or timely. We feel that as we have spent approximately $25000 with the clinic, the service we have received has been disappointing particularly when taking into consideration the emotional stress of this process.

Despite these issues, we would like to say that we do appreciate the care and assistance of many of the staff especially during our last IVF cycle. In particular we have found (Our doctor) and (favourite nurse) to be most helpful throughout our experience to date.

We look forward to your response and welcome any dialogue you may wish to have in regards to our concerns.

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14 Responses to The letter

  1. vee says:

    Pretty shocking when you lay it all out like that. I hope that the clinic respond favourably to your concerns and improve their practices as well as apologising to you both in full.

  2. S. says:

    this is a great letter, its awesome you wrote and mailed it. when i got to the part about getting a “congratulations on your pregnancy” letter after a failed iui, i got sick. that is really inexcusable (along with the many other uncool things that have gone on…) good for you for speaking up!

  3. GaybyRabies says:

    I’m so glad you were able to use your blog as a record for looking all of this up. I can’t believe how many times your clinic messed up. I hope this letter gets you some results…like free IVF now!

  4. A. says:

    Good for you for putting everything down on paper and sending it! Too often we just experience these difficulties and let them go….I hope that you get a response that helps you move forward!!

  5. strawberry says:

    So much of that is so distrubing. I’m glad you got that out to them.

  6. p says:

    what a nightmare. I cant believe a clinic could be so wrong on so many occassions. What a shame for you guys to have to go through all of this. It is hard enough without all of this happening. Hopefully your letter helps prevent someone else having to experience all of that.

  7. Meredith says:

    Wow- when you lay it all out, your experience was frightening. Your continued to pursuit of services is a testament to your desires to be parents! I hope that you all receive positive feedback and true change on the clinic’s part as an outcome.

  8. Joul says:

    Good on ya for writing that letter. Unfortunatly, some of these issues are all too common. We shouldn’t have to chase our test results, phone calls should be returned and EVERY staff member should know what the hell’s going on. We sure pay them enough!
    I hope you post their reply.

  9. Next in Line says:

    That is a great letter. Organization and follow up are so crucial in keeping stress levels down. I hope this letter gives the clinic the kick in the butt so that other people don’t go through this much frustration.

  10. Me says:

    Good for you for putting this together and making your voice(s) heard. Boo on the clinic. So sorry you both have had to endure all of this.

  11. thebao says:

    Excellent. Thorough, specific, and calmly stated. Nice work, ladies. I hope that this spurs them to some positive action on your behalf. You’ve certainly put up with enough of their BS!

  12. Pufferfish says:

    Wow, seeing it all down on paper like that…you have really been through a lot. It’s great you were keeping track and blogging about all of this so you could write the letter.
    I hope something good comes out of it.

  13. Geek says:

    Glad you had it written down. At least now they can’t pass you off as someone who just had a bad experience. You have it documented.
    Hope you get a response that actually results in some action from them, not just lip service!

  14. Pingback: Response from Clinic « Journey Towards Our Baby

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