I am most grateful for what the French health system has done for me, and I hope will continue to. But sometimes battling with its administration and the highly compartmentalised and individualistic approach of its professionals drives me to despair.
It is now six weeks since I had the D&C in the Ganges Clinic and the biopsy results went to a laboratory in Montpellier, which examined them the next day. They then diagnosed probable Mullerian cancer of the uterus, but sent the results for a second opinion to a specialist in Lyon – and a copy of their letter to my gynaecologist ook three weeks to reach my GP, Maelle.
Maelle then tried ringing Lyon, only to be told the specialist was on holiday for two weeks, that is, to the end of last week. I then saw the Ganges gynaecologist, who referred me straight away to the surgeon in Montpellier. He and his secretary were confident they would have the results by the weekend.
I waited, and waited, and finally rang the Montpellier clinic on Tuesday, only to be told that now it was the surgeon and his secretary on holiday! Since every doctor works as a separate entity, nobody else was in a position to chase up the report or tell me the result. I kicked up such a fuss over the phone that finally I was passed to another gynaecologist whos said that if the result came through he would phone me. If not I will have to wait till Monday, when my surgeon gets back, for him to chase the results.
Since January I have seen and/or been treated by my GP, the gynaecologist in Ganges, the second gynaecologist in Ganges who operated, radiologists in Ganges and Montpellier, the surgeon in Montpellier and an anaesthetist in Montpellier. They all seem to operate as individuals, carry out their reports or treatments, give me the results, refer me by letter or prescription to the other medical people – but don’t seem talk to each other. There is nobody driving or coordinating my case.
The lack of information on whether the cancer is Mullerian or not means the difference between a straightforward keyhole hysterectomy and much more major, extensive surgery. Not to know which to expect next Wednesday is frustrating on a planning level (how many weeks do I have to arrange to be away, for example) but also distressing. Tomorrow I’m going to see my GP, Maelle, and ask her – in the absence of the surgeon – to contact the Lyon lab direct to try and follow this up.