A Truthful Nobody or a Lying Somebody…?

I learned during Dr. Liar’s testimony that listening to a person tell one lie after another when you know the truth, and when the lies are about you and all around you, is a very difficult, uncomfortable situation that tests even the strongest of wills. I knew listening to his testimony would be one of the most challenging things I would have to do in my lifetime, but I honestly didn’t know how hurtful it would feel then and even now as I write this many years later.

Dr. Liar arrived at the courtroom as he did each weekday, wearing the same blue suit and with an attitude as if he didn’t have a care in the world. In fact, he gave the impression that he couldn’t wait to get up on the witness stand to tell his side of the story.  As he walked up, he held his right hand up and swore to God that the testimony he was going to give was the truth.  He stated an oath that is part of centuries-old language used in Pennsylvania courts since 1772. It says:

I, (name) do swear by Almighty God, the Searcher of all hearts, that the evidence I shall give this court and Jury in this issue now being tried shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and as you shall answer to God on the last great day.” 

The first time I heard the oath I was shocked. I was expecting ‘do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’ However, I preferred this oath since I felt it contained substance and true meaning. Since I am a Christian, I have lived my entire life in hopes of going to heaven when that time comes. When I first heard the oath I  visualized myself answering to God and telling him that “yes, I told the truth during that horrible court case and I am proud of it.” If I hadn’t told the truth, I believe I would feel as if I would be haunted by those lies for the rest of my life. I am certain that is what a guilty conscience is all about and I am so thankful that it’s something that I don’t have to live with.

I could write several postings about Dr. Liar’s testimony; however, I feel as if those of you reading have a good understanding of what he said. During most of his day-long testimony, he played the unintelligent doctor role who kept asking for the questions to be repeated, or he would ask for it to be asked in another way since he didn’t understand. He is an educated man — a doctor for goodness sake, and he couldn’t understand the questions?  I was supposed to be borderline retarded and I understood the questions!  He also came across as if his testimony was rehearsed. I admit that mine was, but even to this day, I don’t feel as if I came across that way. He also talked very quietly and was told by the judge quite often that he needed to speak up. I assume he wanted to appear soft-spoken for whatever reason.  

During the earlier part of his testimony, he was asked to explain the first time he met me and what the diagnosis was for my neck condition. He explained that I had a herniated disc at C5-6 and had already been through the preliminary steps that precede surgery, without relief. When asked if he told my husband and me that I would get relief from the Cervical Discectomy and Fusion surgery he said that he explained the odds.  He was also asked if my husband attended each appointment and stated that he couldn’t remember (he definitely demonstrated that he had selective memory).  We found that hard to believe since “I was his favorite patient and that he was praying for me.”  We had also given his wife and he presents for their unborn twin girls and he was extremely thankful and had his wife send a thank you note. However, while on the witness stand, he said that he couldn’t remember me as a patient when the hospital told him that there was a potential lawsuit.  He stated that he had to refer to his files to “look me up.” He never remembered making any mistakes during my surgery.

He was also asked about being board certified. He told the jury that we never asked him if he was board certified and he didn’t know that the hospital had him listed that way on the their website. He indicated that he had completed the work to become board certified, but needed to take the examination, but hadn’t taken the time. He stated that my husband and I must have misunderstood him. He did agree that we did ask whether or not he had been sued and if he had any pending litigation and what was the worst outcome of the surgery he had experienced.  He indicated that we had asked all the right questions.

Dr. Liar spent a considerable amount of time discussing the surgery itself and remained steadfast that it wasn’t anything that he did that caused my spinal cord injury. Not even hitting the spacer with the mallet. Our attorney asked him to demonstrate to the jury how hard he had to ‘tap’ the mallet to get it into place and when he did strike the demonstration bone and spacer it was so loud that it echoed through the courtroom and down the halls as well.  My husband and I were nearly in shock to know that he hit me that hard with a metal mallet. It was all I could do not to cry when I knew how hard he had hit my spinal cord….and for no good reason.  He could have used a smaller spacer. To me, a simple alternative. Simple for even a person without a doctorate.

Continuing on with the surgery, Dr. Liar, explained about the nerve monitor and how the level may drop when something happens during surgery; however, never admitting that the something was him hitting my spinal cord.  He also was asked about going on vacation following my surgery, which he said was untrue.  He told the jury that he visited me each day in the hospital, both in the ICU following surgery and when I was moved to a regular hospital room. Shocking to hear since every word he said was a lie.

When shown the prescriptions that were hand written for physical therapy and stated spinal cord injury, Dr. Liar indicated that his practice gets busy and he wasn’t thinking when he wrote it. He stated the physical therapy facilities don’t pay attention to what is written in the diagnosis corner.

Also, each time Dr. Liar mentioned the hospital, he kept reinforcing that the hospital was a Level I Trauma Center with 24-hour Neurosurgery Coverage since the panel of jurors were from the area where the network of coverage serviced.  For the hospital to have this level of classification is a benefit to the community and he and his attorney took every opportunity to remind those in the courtroom of that fact.

The last two hours of Dr. Liar’s testimony got rather heated with our attorney getting frustrated with Dr. Liar’s inability to answer the questions honestly. He would try to avoid the question and talk around it as much as he could. Our attorney would state to the judge that the witness was not answering the question and he would be ordered to do so.  However, he would just tell bigger lies. There were three people in that courtroom who knew the truth…Dr. Liar, my husband and me.

Dr. Liar and the hospital turned my world in circles, broke my world into pieces and instead of telling the truth — they chose to lie and mislead anyone who was listening. I could hardly believe that someone with so much potential could belittle himself. He had been praying for me so I assume he must be a Christian — didn’t the oath mean anything? It’s amazing what your mind does when faced with such hurtful, heartless people. I began to question how two people could have such different stories. However, why would I lie?  Why would my husband lie? I even wanted to know why Dr. Liar was lying? I was hurt. People don’t do this to each other. We are supposed to treat each other with respect, right?

Dr. Liar may say he didn’t remember much about me, the surgery or doing anything wrong, but I am sure there are many days when he is in surgery and thinks about what he did as he smashes a mallet into a spacer into someone else’s neck. Did I want to jump up and say he’s lying?  Of course I did…more than you will ever know. I knew my husband wanted to do the same — I could see it in his eyes.  But, we didn’t. We knew we had the truth on our side.

I learned a lot about myself during that day in court. As difficult as it was to listen to someone lie, I learned that I had developed patience and to Dr. Liar and the hospital that I was just another nobody walking around in pain.  When I first met Dr. Liar, he made my husband and I feel comfortable with his fake kindness and concern. He talked the talk and walked the walk and told me he could get rid of my pain and help me feel better. And, I believed him. However, I learned that I was just a nobody who was convinced I was a somebody by another nobody. Whew….the things you think about during eight hours in court! However, no matter what happened in court within the next few days, I was going to prove that I was somebody and I was a somebody who mattered.

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2011.


About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Court, Depression, Disability, Employer and disability, God, Medical Malpractice, Pain, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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