I work in an ER per diem so I can be flexible in my hours so I can devote time to my toddler. Just started working at a certain hospital, had an unfortunate death under my watch in which there were system problems,problems with my management and problems with a noncompliant family.Although I admit that I did not recognize clinical deterioration in a timely way I am not the sole reason this person died. I am being sold down the river by the hospital who is reporting me to the department of health and taking no blame for system errors. I am probably going to be sanctioned or revoked despite the fact that I did the best I could under the circumstances presented. If I had a solid track record with this hospital, i.e. a longer relationship to prove my competence, I may not have been made the scapegoat. This is a career buster. I am sick of the Monday morning quarterbacking that goes on and the demand for perfection and no less. Doctors are human. We make imperfect decisions that impact others profoundly. Should we lose our livelihood for it?
I feel very bad for you. But this story sounds like a recent episode on the TV show "ER". Maybe your hospital administrators watched it. First, I would get a very clever and capable lawyer, because your hospital may be violating some contract rules, and house staff by-laws. I've seen a few physicians in our community who should have been canned without a second thought (one was an anesthesiologist who was watering down and stealing drugs during cases to support his drug habit-one of my patients woke up in the middle of a case!). But these guys-and I mean that literally, were allowed to come back after a leave, and practice, and inflict their incompetance again! But we had a female neurosurgeon who stayed here less than a year, she was asked to leave because one patient died, supposedly because she was slow making a decision to operate! So get your hired gun and scrutinize your hospital's peer review rules and by-laws, and be tough! And it doesn't hurt to keep the nurses in your favor by being nice and bringing them treats from time to time. They can give you lots of dirt on other physicians that may help you prove you're being discriminated against! Good luck.
It seems only a matter of time before all of us find ourselves in similar circumstances. The litiginous nature of our society doesn't do us any favors. However, if a few mentors would step up to the plate and advocate professionalism and decorum and provide more role models for young docs and even not so young docs. And stop the cannabalism of our own kind maybe we'd get somewhere.
It may seem trite, but remember: this too will pass. It sounds like you are getting hosed (excuse the language). It seems to me that we women tend to internalize these things a lot more: think that maybe we ARE to blame somehow, and subsequently don't fight for ourselves or let things roll off as easily as we might. This is a tough job that we have here. But you worked hard to get here and you can't let these types of things end it for you.
Of course it is only normal to spend many a sleepless night thinking about this and you have a lot of unpleasantries ahead of you, but you need ot know that, like you said, you did what you could and you are not going to let them scapegoat you. I too have noticed that the standards seem to be different for women, and believe me you are not the only 'human' physician out there.
Please know that we are all there for you (this forum is such a great thing) and that you will make it through.
Thanks for the encouraging replies. I know its a tough road and I will weather this storm. However, I am getting weary of this, burnt out and want a change of venue. Are there any women out there who have successfully transitioned out of medicine?