Thursday, November 13, 2008


Oish, what a couple of days I've had. I've been mulling over the situation with my former doctor in the post below since it happened, and in addition I had a bit of a verbal spat with my ex (resolved, I think), AND the freaking IRS appears to have lost the bloody tax check I mailed in. They'd like a new one by November 27th, thanks, even though my bank shows they already cashed the blasted thing. Arrrgh!!!

Some weeks it just doesn't pay to get out of bed, yanno?

Ah well, anyway...

I think I've come up with part of what might have precipitated the doctor's outburst. Prior to my appointment there was a woman in the waiting room ahead of me. Accompanying her was her very rude, loud, boor of a husband. He'd been creating a ruckus out in the main reception area, continued to create more problems in the GYN waiting area, and proceeded to loudly grouse his way back in to the exam and appointment area with his wife. Something about "You gave them $140 for nothing!!" with his wife desperately trying to shush him.

It's highly possible that this was the patient my doctor was dealing with right before me; if so, I'd say that it's also a pretty safe bet that he used up any and all reserves of understanding and courtesy while dealing with his patient's asshat of a husband.

So he finally escapes from that lunatic and enters my room, where in his perspective I first gripe about the wait time, and then I deny information that, again in his perspective, I certainly had been given.

So he lost it. Ouch.

And while thinking about the doctor situation, I've also been reviewing my own actions both during the event and leading up to it. In the course of that particular navel-gazing exercise, I flashed on a couple of entries Dr. Rob put up in August: Getting Along, Part 1 - Doctor Rules, and Getting Along, Part 2 - Patient Rules. So, as evidenced by those links, I went back to those posts and re-read them, most specifically the Patient Rules post.

In brief, the rules:
1. Your doctor can't do it alone.
2. Be honest.
3. [Your doctor doesn't] play favorites.
4. Don't mess with the staff.
5. If you don't trust, leave.
6. No news might be bad news.

For more detail, please see Dr. Rob's original post in its entirety.

The doctor in question appeared to believe I broke Rule 4, although the nurse to whom this refers agreed with me that I didn't accuse her of lying. Now she and I might disagree about what I was told vs. what I heard, i.e., she is certain she read his remarks verbatim whereas I'm positive that I would have heard it if I'd been told I had a hormonal imbalance, since I was convinced my problem was, in fact, hormonal and I remember being flatly disgusted that it wasn't. But in light of the fact that everything else I was told does indicate that the problem was indeed hormonal, there is a possibility that I misheard her. I can't understand how I could have missed it, especially as I was convinced the testing would finally show some hormonal cause to the 22-day-period-from-hell; but I must admit, since I can't replay what she said, the possibility is there.

My culpability in this situation, overall, lies in the fact that I totally hosed it on following Rule 5. I've re-read my posts about my health issues last spring, and it was clear from what I wrote as the testing progressed that I wasn't happy with my care or my doctor's communication. I also was afraid to call his office to seek clarification on anything, for fear I'd annoy him or cause him to talk to me harshly. He had that reputation with his office staff prior to his practice moving, to the point that one of the nurses who was assigned to another doctor in the building told me they all held their breaths when he arrived in the morning until they knew what kind of mood he was in.

Gee, I had others telling me he was difficult and I was experiencing some of the same thing as well as fear of worse. Why in the world did I remain under his care?

Simple... and stupid: I was afraid of offending him and/ or hurting his feelings.

Like I said... stupid. Unbelievably, ridiculously stupid, especially in light of what happened since I didn't listen to my gut and find another doctor.

Any offense or hurt feelings on his part couldn't possibly have compared to what I was subjected to this past Tuesday. And unless the man is an irredeemable jerk (which I'll admit that I suspect, but in all fairness I also know him to be capable of wonderful professional caring and concern from one of my friends who has seen him), he's also disturbed by what went on.

So to all three of you who are still reading this blog with my sporadic posting and all, please-oh-please, if you have any doubts about your doctor, if you just aren't feeling comfortable, if you have some niggling worry, find another physician. No one, doctor or patient, can thrive in a relationship without trust. And the damage done by leaving a doctor's care is much less than the damage that can result from continuing to see a doctor about whom you feel in any way uneasy.

Believe me.

Now all that said, I certainly don't feel any of this excuses the doctor's treatment of me. It explains it -- doctors are people too, and all of us screw up at times -- but doesn't excuse it.

It isn't appropriate to accuse patients of acts they didn't commit.

It isn't appropriate to attempt to deliberately embarass patients.

It isn't appropriate to badger, belittle, and verbally batter patients to gain false confessions of actions they didn't commit.

It isn't appropriate to talk over patients as they try to explain something and raise your voice to them.

It isn't appropriate to continue to continue to harrangue patients who are obviously in great distress, manifesting physically as well as emotionally.

It isn't appropriate to threaten and intimidate patients with the implication that you will harm their ability to receive decent medical care in the future.

Oh, and if there is some sort of discussion that must take place due to a difference of opinion, I personally feel that patients should be permitted to get dressed and the discussion be moved to a more neutral location rather than carrying on an argument while the patient is stuck in a vulnerable position on an exam table dressed in a backless gown with a paper drape, and nothing else.

So on breaking Rule 5? Totally my fault. But as to my former doctor's treatment of me? Utterly unacceptable.

1 comment:

Tycho Beresford said...

A very timely post. I've been having my doubts about my doctor and even took myself off of her prescription because of lack of trust. You're right; I need to find a new one.