A former Slave Lake resident is looking for answers after what she says was an unauthorized and bungled surgery on her ear. The doctor, she says, accepted no responsibility, and in fact lied about it.
As Monika Cook tells it, it’s a series of very unfortunate events, starting with a workplace poisoning incident at her new job in High Prairie.
In the spring of 2021, on her first day on the job, she inhaled toxic fumes from a bottle. A drop of the chemical (sulphuric acid) also splashed into her ear. What followed was about as bad as it could be.
“I was unable to work or function for weeks,” she says.
In the following months, Cook says, she had recurring ear infections, pain and hearing loss. She was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist in Edmonton, for what she was told would be an ‘ear flush.’
She got a lot more than an ear flush.
“The ENT (doctor) processed to do surgery – without my consent, without anaesthetic and with unsterilized tools. I was in so much pain I almost passed out.”
Cook said she asked the doctor what he was doing, and to stop doing it. He told her it was a normal part of the procedure.
When she got home, Cook said her ear was bloody and she could feel loose skin in it. The wound got infected and she ended up in ER in the hospital, “nearly dying,” she says.
It turned out, she says, that the doctor actually drilled into her skull. An ER doctor told her he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but later a physician at the clinic in Slave Lake “verified the extent of my injuries.”
Cook considers what happened to her assault, and has talked to the Edmonton Police Service and the RCMP about it. She’s also taking it up with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).
Cook says she has asked all sorts of questions about what happened and why, but hasn’t gotten any satisfactory answers. Her communication with the CPSA says, in part: “He lied about everything that happened that day. He did not tell me about the surgery. He did not ask for permission. He did not say what drugs or tools he would use. He did not inform me of the associated dangers before during or after the surgery. He was supposed to remove earwax! Not rip my ear apart. I would have never approved or gave my consent. His actions are an outrage.”