Perseverance needed

Perseverance and doggedness needed to obtain medical records

By J.N.

Some years ago I contacted the doctor in Launceston who had taken over the practice of the two doctors I had attended during my pregnancies (1958-1966), I was assured that he had spoken to one of the retirees and she had stated that they did not prescribe D.E.S. The present doctor said he "was able to reassure numerous women that the retired doctors did not use D.E.S."

This reassurance was well-meaning but false, particularly as the doctor himself (and no doubt countless others) was not aware of the proliferation of brand names under which D.E.S. and related compounds were marketed.

To the doctor's discomfort, I continued to press the point over some months, and was finally and reluctantly given a brief glimpse of my history, which revealed that I had been administered D.E.S. during my pregnancy.

I also saw that I had been given Duogynon injections during my third pregnancy in 1962. This was for no other reason than to establish whether I was actually pregnant.

My request for photocopies of my history was denied.

I want to stress the importance of doggedness in determination to be given access to your history. Don't be deterred by the barriers your doctor erects, wittingly or unwittingly. The doctors I attended were two of the few obstetricians practising in Launceston at the time. They had a busy and well known practice and there may be many women who would have unknowingly been given D.E.S.

Published in our newsletter DESPATCH in 1989