Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Give Your Profession A Bad Name

Dear Doctor D,

I wanted to let you know that I will not be returning to your practice in the future, and I felt it was only fair to tell you why. I'm letting you know via letter, as I am afraid of what would happen were I to call.

First, I do want to tell you that I really appreciate the speed with which you first got me into your practice. When I cut my thumb open and needed a doctor for the wound care, the fact that you got me in to see a nurse the same day I called was really appreciated, especially since I was a new patient at the time.

From there, it kind of went downhill though. Since Google and the phone book still list your old address, I might suggest alerting new patients to your current location so that they don't try to enter an abandoned medical building and have to call to get directions.

And when I arrived at the medical office and saw no one in the waiting room, I was pretty stoked to be able to get in and out pretty quickly. Granted, I was somewhat behind on my Sports Illustrated reading, but I had other things to do than reading. Oddly, no one came in or out of the reception area while I waited the half hour to be called back, but I'm beginning to think you have a transporter in there. That must be why I waited so long for the nurse to look at my finger for seven minutes before sending me on my merry way.

I did realize that I was probably overdue for a physical, so I made my appointment with you this time, Dr. D, instead of the nurse practitioner. I had a bunch of things that I wanted to discuss and make sure that they weren't concerns, and I'm just biased towards doctors for these things. Again, it was great to be able to get an appointment fairly quickly; friends of mine have horror stories of waiting weeks to get in for a physical.

I had the fun experience of waiting by myself in the waiting room for a good twenty minutes. Funny, I thought 8am was the first appointment, but I guess I was wrong. I did see the sign as I was signing in that any paperwork was $X to fill out, phone calls were $Y, and so forth -- that's why I'm writing you a letter instead of calling. I don't take kindly to being charged for complaining.

In the room, a nurse took my vitals after only a few minutes, then I got to stew -- naked under that paper gown, of course -- for awhile, hoping that you'd show soon. When you arrived, you introduced yourself and did ask if I had any concerns. I told you my concerns, but that was it as far as you were concerned. You decided that I needed a blood test and were ready to walk out and be done. When I asked what the next steps were, you said that we'd figure them out after seeing the results of the bloodwork.

Oh and I almost forgot to thank you for writing down the word Mirena on a prescription pad as information for me to look up, since that was your birth control solution to me, although your office doesn't handle them. No questions about preferences or anything, just asked if I was taking anything now and wrote that down for me. I feel so informed.

When my blood results arrived, a nurse called to let me know that everything was normal. While that was a relief, that did beg the question of next steps because I assure you that my concerns aren't in my head. The nurse was confused for a moment, as she wasn't your nurse calling me back. For whatever reason, my lab results were assigned to a different doctor's nurse. And I had to ask her three times for various labs because originally all she told me was that my iron level was fine. I'm afraid to ask for a copy of the lab results for fear of what you'll charge me, as I think it was near $15 per page.

Regardless, she said she'd pass along my question to your nurse and that someone would call me to talk about what we do next. Three days later, your nurse called me and asked what I wanted from you. I explained, and she said that she'd pass the message along to you.

Two days later you called me. You said that blood work was fine and so I didn't need to come back again for another couple of years for another physical. When I started asking questions, your tone got much more clipped. I reminded you that I'm trying to figure out what's going on with me - for example the fact that I am burning around 2,500 calories a week at the gym and yet somehow gaining a half pound or so a week for the past few months. While I didn't give you my calories burned total in this conversation, I had mentioned it when we first chatted. Your recommendation was to ramp up the exercise and ramp down the calories. My hope pretty much died there, since I can assure you that isn't the issue. I can't get to the gym more than four or five times a week, and I eat quite healthfully and in moderation.

I pretty much wrote you off at that point, and I didn't bother to bring up my heart rate issues again. Or argue with you about my caloric intake or outtake. Or discuss my exhaustion even when getting eight plus hours of sleep. Or mention my recurring issue with low blood levels that weren't for whatever reason evident in the sample I gave. I can assure you that I won't be back to see you again. And I won't be recommending your practice to anyone I know.

Oh, and my work happened to send me an email about testing my resting metabolic rate right after this all transpired. I paid the small fee to have it tested. My RMR is around 1,550. When you couple that with the calories I'm burning on a daily basis, I'm actually not eating enough food. I'm literally unintentionally starving myself -- so thanks for your advice and the deep dive you took to decide what I should be doing.

Lastly, when my PAP results arrived and a different wrong nurse called me to let me know that they're normal -- so my information was passed to yet another unnecessary person in your office -- that really was just the icing on the cake. I don't question my decision whatsoever.

Good luck with your practice,

PS Yes, I'm cranky today, but I am highly disappointed with this doctor and practice. They forgot the patient aspect of care.


MaBunny March 4, 2009 at 7:40 PM  

WOw, I'd be ticked off too Michelle! Sounds like you have good reason! Did your Thyroid Profile check out good?

Mrs. Buck March 4, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

OMG, this is unbelievable, I'd be so upset! Good on you for getting out of there - no need to be subjected to that lack of customer service more than once!

septembermom March 4, 2009 at 7:58 PM  

You have every right to be upset! You have valid concerns which should be addressed by an attentive, caring doctor. So many stories of patients having to fight to be heard by doctors. I hope you have better luck at your new doctor's office.

Raevyn March 4, 2009 at 8:19 PM  

What an absolute jerk of a doctor! I would also follow up with a copy to the insurance company as well.
When I spent months tired, and unable to lose weight despite working out and eating well, as well as being in pain nearly constantly, I was blessed with a great doctor who listened to my concerns and diagnosed fibromyalgia on my first visit.
I hope you find a better doctor soon.

Jennifer March 4, 2009 at 9:53 PM  

OMGosh, I've heard of crappy doctors but, this one takes the cake. You might want to send a copy of your letter to the local medical review board. Especially after the advice he gave you to decrease your caloric intake and increase your exercise when the total opposite should have been advised. (Can anyone say M-A-L-P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E?) The privacy issue is another thing I might be alarmed about. Too many times folks feel subjected to Doctors and the 2 hour wait in the waiting room only to wait another hour in the exam room to be seen for a total of 5 minutes by someone who's obviously wanting to be somewhere else. It's just so frustrating but most of the time we feel trapped by it. I'm glad you escaped the trap! :) Hopefully your next doctor won't be such a jerk!

Michelle March 4, 2009 at 10:15 PM  

MaBunny - Yep, thyroid was totally fine. I don't know the exact numbers because getting specifics from the nurse was like pulling teeth... I gave up.

Mrs. Buck - Yeah, I'm obvioiusly not happy. And I'm done.

septembermom - Well the worst part is that now I won't go see another doctor about any of this for another year or so. Here's hoping that my heart rate going to 180 within two or three minutes of running isn't a sign of something more serious....

Raevyn - Hmm, well no pain so at least that's one diagnosis I can avoid. Considering I'm not a huge fan of my insurance company either (ok, raise your hand if you are), I'll probably let that sleeping dog lie. Unless I get irritated by it again :)

Jennifer - Next time I'm getting recommendations from people I know. This one I went to because I needed to see someone ASAP about my thumb and so just went with the ER doctor's recommendation because I didn't have time to figure out who was in my insurance plan that was also recommended by someone etc etc. I'm so planning ahead next time. (Yeah, I don't believe me either)

bernthis March 4, 2009 at 10:22 PM  

Welcome to health care in the US and everywhere. Universal care is no better, just ask my folks who lived in Canada for many years.

This system is so broken, I have idea how it can ever be fixed. Sorry you had such a crappy experience. I'm not saying all Drs. are like that but sadly most are and yet I don't think it is entirely their fault

Jamie March 5, 2009 at 4:43 AM  

Sounds like a real winner that Dr.! Time to find a new one. :)

Anonymous March 5, 2009 at 9:02 AM  

Hope you get a beeter Dr soon. If not a thyroid may be early menopause. Some get just the symptoms without being old enought for the menopause.

Melisa with one S March 5, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

WOW. Speechless. I'm sorry that you had a beyond-sucky experience!!!

I'm with Jamie. Time to find a new doctor.

Michelle March 5, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

bernthis - I know it isn't better under universal care, and I'm not advocating for that. And I know it isn't all doctors either. There are some very good ones out there. I just happened to run into one who's ... not.

Jamie - Yeah... a winner of what is the question!

elftea - Uhhh early menopause? Are you kidding me? I so didn't need to worry aobut that right now. I'm off to go WebMD that one now :)

Melisa - Yeah. Speechless. Right. And I'll get another doctor... next year.

Cookie March 5, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

Yikes! Sounds like a great doctor.

Michelle March 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

Cookie - You set your expectations far too low, you know that? ;)

Angela March 7, 2009 at 2:05 PM  

As a doctor's kid, I can say this with absolute confidence - find a better brand of doctor. They never get better - if you aren't treated well the first time, you can expect that trend to continue, and this guy sounds like a jerk. He obviously doesn't have any interest in getting to the bottom of your symptoms.

I will be interested to know what you do eventually discover, as I and another friend have both struggled with some of these issues (rapid weight gain, exhaustion, etc.). My blood tests were "fine" too, but my dr. was careful to warn that all blood levels are tested within a range, and while you might test normal, that point on the range may not be normal for your body. So don't give up!!


Michelle March 7, 2009 at 10:07 PM  

Angela - Yeah... although I will say that this was a chick doctor. But I think I'm giving up for the moment... I'll talk to someone again when I feel the need to. Right now I'm too frustrated to try again and have too many other things on my plate :) And that's ok.

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