The following Kaiser Permanente horror story arrived in our inbox a few days ago. This unfortunate patient has been put through hell for over a year without so much as an apology, and — you guessed it — as usual the medical records do not reflect the truth of what occurred. Meanwhile, in our area the semiannual bombardment of Thrive ads has begun, to coincide with upcoming open enrollment. This always leaves us wanting to throw things at our television, so to make ourselves feel better we have created a new Video page.
Complaint against Dr. Matthew James Sherman
In 2008, through my PCP, I was referred to Dr. Sherman, a colon rectal surgeon, for treatment of anal fissure. After a year of unsuccessful medication, the doctor performed anal sphincterotomy in Dec 2009. However, instead of getting better, my fissure got worse. I developed a large anal skin tag protrusion from my rectum. The doctor then persuaded me to have another repair. Reluctantly, I agreed to the surgery which was deemed to be minor and it was done at Kaiser Sand Canyon on January 12, 2011.
The doctor said following the surgery that he had found a small lump located behind the rectal wall, posterior vaginal wall. Suspecting malignancy, he removed the lump and tissues around it. It was only capsulated infection, negative for malignancy. I was discharged and went home the same day.
On the 5th day after the surgery, I noticed blood oozing from my vagina. I wrote an email to Dr. Sherman, questioning about the bleeding. He refused to accept the responsibility, telling me it was a GYN problem, and I should have sought advice from the GYN department. On the 6th day, more emails were sent with information about small stool particles and gas passing through my vagina. The doctor then asked me to come back to his office for reevaluation. After speculum examination he agreed that perforation was present. I was then sent to the OR at Kaiser Lakeview Hospital on January 18th for repair. Dr. Sherman removed the rectal suture and evacuated a large amount of blood collected where the cyst was cut. He told me after the surgery that he had tried to patch my vaginal mucosa, but vaginal rectal fistula was created from the hematoma pressure. However, he failed to identify the source of hemorrhage. I was sent home after spending one night in observation. I noticed upon discharge that I still bled a little but I was assured by the doctor that the bleeding would stop.
On January 24th, the bleeding from my vagina intensified and 911 was called. I was taken to Fountain Valley Hospital ER for stabilization, and then transferred to Kaiser Lakeview Hospital. The intense pain, the profuse bleeding and the discomfort of having bowel movements became unbearable. I requested to have diverting colostomy, hoping that the repair would have a better chance of success.
Dr. Sherman performed another repair. He stated he found an active blood vessel causing the hemorrhage and tied it to stop the bleeding. When I recovered from the surgery, I found out I had had ileostomy instead and was advised that ileostomy was easier to perform in my case. I stayed in the hospital for 12 days because of ileus, a complication from the surgery. At this point, I did not wish to continue treatment with Dr. Sherman and requested referral to another surgeon who, I hoped, could fix my problem. I was referred to Dr. Abbas at Kaiser Sunset. While waiting for an appointment with Dr. Abbas, I was referred to another local colon rectal surgeon, Dr. Henry Hwu for another opinion. After the examination, he stated he didn’t see the fistula but insisted that I had colon cancer. He suggested that I should have another colonoscopy and more tissues should be dissected for testing. I felt so distressed and angry. He had no manner to say at my face that I had cancer without any lab result. Therefore, I refused all his suggestions and did not allow him to perform any procedures. I saw Dr. Abbas for the first time on April 25th, 2011. After undergoing 3 surgeries done by Dr. Abbas, I became confident that I was in good hands. Finally, my fistula was patched and my ileostomy reversed on January 11, 2012.
For a year, I went through 6 surgeries, suffered abscesses and developed allergy to paste and skin barrier, insomnia, bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. I lost 4-5 months of work. My employer does not have a disability program. Currently, I still have some issues with bowel control and sensation where the fistula was.
Even though Dr. Sherman is a very nice person, he is, as far as I am concerned, professionally incompetent. He overlooked my body size and dissected more than my margin would allow. He did not recognize his mistake and failed to take action when I notified him about the bleeding. He also failed to stop the bleeding and that sent me to the ER for the 3rd time.
His indecision and incompetency have caused me so much pain and emotional distress along with physical suffering and financial damage.