Thursday, June 19, 2008

What do you do when a doctor says that you are not Ted Kennedy

You write him and his boss a letter.

I went to a highly regarded Pain Management specialist in my area. I filled out the questionnaire. Signed all the release forms, answered all the questions the nurses had. Then, I sat in the exam room waiting for him. He came in, annouced that I was seeing too many doctors (which I already knew) and that I was not Ted Kennedy and that all I needed was a hip replacement. I did not need to see specialists. My jaw dropped, and I said but what about all the other joints that are causing me such difficulty? He said, "You just need to bite the bullet and make a choice of what is hurting most. I lost my composure, I teared up and started crying, sobbing, etc..... That was a first. In all the years that I have struggled with my medical problems, I never had someone, who did not know me, be so cavalier, opinionated, and generally gruff. He did mention that he was being tough on me. It took me several minutes to regain composure.

In hindsight, I wish I stood up to him more than breaking down and sob. I did tell him I was affronted by his behaviour. Frankly he was demeaning, unprofessional, and egotistical. Am I not important enough to have good quality care to help preserve my mobility? He apparently does not know what it is like to have several joints inflammed and non cooperative at the same time.

What was he trying to impart to me...that this is not life threatening and that I was not a deserving patient of his time. Oh, and was he making a judgement of the number of doctors I am currently seeing? Did he even enquire as to why? No! I did explain that I was working on interviewing doctors in my area to be apart of the team that helps me manage my lifelong condition of serious joint problems. And, he was apart of that process.

In the end, he provided some reasonable suggestions for means to help me deal with chronic pain in the joints. So, I am grateful for that.

This week I called the clinic back and spoke to the head nurse letting her know how angry I was by his behaviour. She said she heard from him what he said and she told him that it was inappropriate. Apparently he agreed and said he was sorry. She said to me, that she told him that, too bad the patient won't hear it.

I have decided this is one situation I am not going to let go silently. His behaviour, along with his posture -- slouched in chair with legs splayed -- was unprofessional. I am resolved to write him a letter telling him what I think. I will cc his boss.

There is no reason why a doctor should treat anyone poorly, especially a Pain Management Doctor. Thank goodness I have a fair amount of home support and am not suicidal. He raised doubts in me of not deserving good care, or being proactive about my care. I really hopes he treats his terminally ill patients with more tenderness. Maybe they are more deserving in his eyes.

Has anyone else had such an experience, and if so, what did you do?


Anonymous said...

Oh, yes!

But in your case, I would write Ted Kennedy.

Alex said...

I am so glad that there is at least someone out there that has a sense of humor! So anonymous, do you want to share your story.

Anonymous said...

How much time do you have?

Alex said...

I have time. Please do.

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