Editor's Note: The woman who submitted this story asked that it be shared anonymously.
One morning I woke up with small bruises down both legs. I thought it was strange but didn't pay too much attention. Every morning there were more little bruises and by about the fifth day I was covered in bruises from my waist down. I went to my primary care doc and showed the bruises and when asked about anything else that was bothering me, I told him I'd also had a dull pain in my left side, but it wasn't painful enough to complain too much about. The doctor barely glanced at me and prescribed a steroid pack because, "these things can sometimes happen for no reason".
I thought I was on my period when I started the steroid pack because it was about that time and I had just started bleeding. Three weeks later I was still bleeding extremely heavily and while the bruising hadn't gotten worse, it hadn't gone away. I went back to the doctor because now I was concerned about the bleeding (I'm normally like clockwork with a 4-5 day light period, which I explained). The doctor did not do an exam but instead gave me some birth control to stop the bleeding because, "sometimes the steroids can do strange things like that". Also, the pain in my side was still there and had not gotten better. I went home with birth control.
About another week later and the bleeding was even worse. I was dizzy and couldn't stand for more than a few minutes (I'd been bleeding heavily for a month now). I went back to the doc. They gave me a pee stick pregnancy test at the office which came back negative. They ordered several blood tests which I went and got right away at the hospital next door. They said they would have results within a few hours and would call me if anything was odd.
I went home, and by that evening I was so dizzy, I couldn't walk, and the pain in my side was shooting instead of a dull ache. I called to see if my results were in. They were, but the doctor's office said they couldn't give me any results over the phone and I would have to come in. I explained that I was too dizzy and in too much in pain to drive, and I just needed to know if they found anything concerning. They refused to give me any results or even to tell me if there was cause for concern. By the time my boyfriend got home from work I wasn't able to stand. He took me to the ER. We explained everything that had gone on and the nurse pressed on my side where I said it hurt. I almost jumped off the table in pain. This was the same hospital that had done the blood work for the doctor's office, so they were able to pull results. The nurse came back and said that my pregnancy hormone in the blood test was over 800, so something was definitely the matter. I explained that I had been bleeding heavily for a month, so I was pretty sure I wasn't pregnant. Eventually she ultrasounds me and finds an ectopic pregnancy. If I hadn't gone in to the ER and caught it, I could have died.
The next day, the doctor at the office called me in a panic. They had finally looked at the results and realized that the problem was severe and wanted to cover their asses. I explained that I would be fine thanks to the ER staff, but I should not have gone over a month in that condition basically just being given pills for symptoms. I basically told them they were lucky that I'm not litigious outside of my work as an attorney, but they really need to take people seriously. This literally could have been a matter of life or death.