Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Monday, February 21, 2005

Clinic controls

Pearls and Dreams

I have a doctor that I am absolutely thrilled with her quality of care. I couldn't be happier with the way she treats me, how she respects me, how she educates me about my conditions and the time she spends with me.
She has yet to give me any cause for questioning if she's the right doctor for me or not.

So, a friend called and asked if I'd recommend my doctor. I said, "Sure! But there is one thing you need to know, her staff is impossible to work with."

The nurse that checks me in, I have no problem with, except, she's not really a nurse, but a tech. Which doesn't really bother me, except the hospital/clinic doesn't tell you that, they just tell you her name, and you don't know you're not dealing with a nurse unless you ask.

But the one that IS a nurse, oh my goodness, she is impossible. She doesn't care, she's lazy and she is careless. In the last 2 years, there have been 4 times that my doctor has told me that she wants me to see a particular specialist, and the referral has never been made. My husband is still waiting, after 15 months for the referral to physical therapy to for his post polio syndrome.
I was told last July, that she wanted me to see a particular opthamologist ...every month, she has me come in for an appointment ..and every month, I tell her, I never got the referral, and every month, she steps out of the room to go tell the referral nurse to make the appointment. Every month, it never happens.
I see her tomorrow, and we will again, have the same conversation.
Last month, I was wheezing pretty badly, and she ordered a nebulizer for me. The nurse told the home health company that I only had medicaid. Not true, I've got medicare/medicaid with medicare being the primary.
Medicaid would not cover the medication from the home health, medicare would. Not only that, but medicaid gives me a limited amount of prescriptions a month ...6... I'm on 13, you add one more to that list that doesn't HAVE to come off that 6, and it's an unnecessary burden to the patient.

I'd take it personally, but I know it happens to others too. I've talked to others who use this doctor, and they have the same problems.

Last summer, I was trying to get into the new rheumatologist. The only one in town who accepts medicare/medicaid. She told me that the wait was 6 to 10 months. I called the clinic, they never heard from me, so I told my doctor, so SHE personally sent the referral with me standing right there. 2 months later, I have the appointment. I tell this nurse, "Hey! I got into Dr. W already! Two months, not too bad!"
A man standing right there storms out of the office. STORMS out.
Turned out ... it was her husband who'd been trying to get into Dr. W. for a whole year, and she kept telling him that the waiting list was just too long. I guess she's an equal opportunity offender.

What I don't understand is this ...my doctor has no choice in who works in her office, she works in a clinic and her staff is assigned to her ... so why do hospitals and clinics put up with people like this who continually risk not only the doctor's reputations, but the health and wellbeing of the patient? When are the doctor's going to be given the autonomy to be the best doctor's they can be?

So many times I hear friends complaining about their doctors, and I wonder how much of it is the doctor ...and how much of it is the insurance company ...and how much of it is their staff that they did not choose?


  1. I wonder too. The last time I went to the doc with hub was the first time we saw this new doc. She's from Poland. I liked her instantly.

    She had to keep interrupting our time b/c she was admitting a pt in a hospital. Well, this male doc who aparently is senior physician or something chewed her out royally. I was so upset that I almost went out in the hall to tell him to be a little more professional.

    You're so right: when? Sheesh.

  2. unfortunately, it's all about unions.

    Our nurses are on the border between horrible and absolutely horrendous and there is NOTHING we can do about it.

  3. It's absurd. The nurses that I've come up against in the hospital, by and large, have been good. A few exceptions, but ..when you consider that in 15 years I've had 22 hospitalizations, and 3 of those were over 15 days ... I've had a lot of shifts spent in hospital beds, you're going to have some problems here and there. Worst two cases was in ICU ... I'm now terrified of being in myasthenic crisis in ICU ... yikes!

    But the worst that I deal with is in hte doctor's offices, and the worst of the worst is this one nurse. Just drives me batty. She is NOW furious with me because my mom had asked for physical therapy in the water, and Dr. S didn't know if it was available in our area, told this nurse to find out, she didn't do too much research before telling the doctor there was none.
    I started physical therapy for my knee and lo and behold ..they have a pool! I asked about it ..yes, they do pt in the pool for post polio and fibro ...yes medicare covers it.
    So, today at my appoitnemnt, I tell Dr. S.
    Nurse B has to now do what she was asked to do and was very angry with me. "what is the name of the place you're getting your therapy? Why are YOU getting therapy?"

    It's none ya business ... I didn't tell her that, I told her for when I fell on my knee. She said "for that little bump?"
    That little bump? That is STILL BRUISED and swollen 2 months later ... and the kneecap that won't stay in place ...

    ARGH! this woman drives me insane!!!

  4. I can soooo feel your pain on this... I've noticed it particularly at big teaching hospitals. The docs have no say about the staff, so they get people who are underqualified, rude, lazy, inefficient, etc, etc.

    I have actually had the reverse experience a few times, though, to be honest. Exempli gratia: The internist I've been going to for almost four years now drives me absolutely nuts. He's a nice guy, I like him a lot. But as a doctor he leaves me totally pissed off about 95% of the time.
    *** People wonder why I don't just move on to a new doc. There are many reasons that I won't bore you with now, but...

    One reason is the staff. The nurses are absolutely incredible, the front desk reps are personable, efficient and helpful.. On and on.

    Now if I could just take those nurses and place them with a doctor whose style of medicine I liked better. Alas!

  5. I learned a long time ago that we are not only our best advocates, but sometimes the only advocate.

    During the eye injury incident I've been discussing on my own blog, I had an incident that really highlighted it. I was in the hospital bed after my injury with my eye all bandaged up, and a nurse came in with a razor to prep me for surgery. When she wanted me to pull down my pants I refused. Good thing, they were about to take out my appendix!

  6. Cliff ... YIKES ...could she not see by the eye patch that your appendix wasn't the problem?????

    Ok, granted, I never did make it to medical school, but I do remember from high school biology that my appendix is no where near my face!! YIKES

    Oh, and when I said Nurse B ... I wasn't calling her a 'B' ...her name starts with B ....