I just had a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE experience with a doctor. This is the reason most people do NOT go to doctors. It kinda makes me not want to go to a doctor.
Let me give you the whole story so you can assess the situation, get really mad, and provide me with constructive advice. If you don't feel like reading it all, scroll to the bottom and tell me what I should do if I am unsatisfied with the quality of care from a doctor.
posted by hal_c_on to health & fitness (41 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
So within the last 6 months, I noticed a LOT of symptoms, including a DRAMATIC weight gain over 60 days ( I'm 30 years old, and started off weighing 140-145 lbs..it has NEVER gone over 150 lbs, but suddenly I gained about 30-35 lbs for a total of 175+).
Without going into too many details about the symptoms, so that everyone on the 'net knows what I have. I looked into it (webmd, mayo clinic, wikipedia), and said "wow...these are the same symptoms another member of my family had before being diagnosed with condition X". Maybe I have it too. I looked into patterns of inheritance...yes, it is possible.
So I found an Internal Medicine doctor through my insurance (BCBS-PPO), called them up, and scheduled an appointment. At the office, the medical assistants/nurses checked my weight and blood pressure, and told me to wait in the room.
I'll be honest, I didn't know what the hell to do in the room. The last time I went for a physical was 10 years ago. As I waited there for 15-20 minutes, I wondered if I should take my clothes off, or not...or what? Maybe the nurse/assistant forgot to tell me where those robes that don't cover your butt are stored, etc. In the end, I decided to keep my clothes on because the other option would have been a LOT more embarrassing if I was mistaken. When it doubt, don't let it hang out.
So the doctor came in, didn't introduce herself, and went to work. She listened to my heart and lungs, made me follow her finger with my eyes, and did some simple reflex tests. I started to talk to her at this point, told her about my DRAMATIC weight gain (w/o any change of diet/lifestyle), and she just IGNORED all my symptoms. She asked about my exercise habits, and I told her they haven't changed in 10 years. "Maybe you need to exercise more". The visit with the doctor took less than 5 minutes.
"Maybe, but theres no way that would explain 30+ lbs in 60 days", I said.
"You're probably not exercising correctly". She said.
"Possibly, but that still cannot account for the weight gain in such a short period. It could also be condition X that another member of my family has".
"No, men don't get that", she said.
"Actually, its rare, but men DO get it", I came back with.
"Yes, I know, I'm the doctor". Ummm ok...what the heck do I say to her?
"So can you give me some blood tests, because I still think something is off".
"Ok, but you really need to exercise differently", she said. "You're getting older".
So I left the office, feeling like I'm dumb, fat, and old (I'm 30...I don't look old. I get ID'd all over the place). I went over to the lab and gave them my blood.
I joined a gym, and started working out hardcore. 2 hours each day, with 30-45 min of cardio EVERYDAY. During those cardio sessions my HR averages 145, and it maxes out at 171. I really am working out. After 2 weeks...no change in weight. Highly unusual. Whenever I want to lose 5-10 lbs, I go to the gym, hit a treadmill regularly for 2-3 weeks, and I shed weight like crazy. This time, its not working.
I also kept tabs on what I ate. I eat about 1800 calories a day, spaced out in about 5 meals. Thats how I've been eating. I also have a fairly healthy diet (vegetarian except for fish and eggs, no fast food).
The next week, I called the doctor's office and asked them about the blood tests. They told me that they can't release it over the phone, but if a doc didn't call me, its "probably fine". Umm, ok. So I came in that same day to get a copy of my blood test, and doctor's report. The report had NOTHING about what I talked about except that I was overweight (Alright, I'm a fatty...sigh). Everything on the blood test looks good (within range)...except for ONE test. I looked that up, and BAM...there it is. It confirmed my suspicion of condition X.
Still no call from the doctor, though.
I went in for a second opinion to another doctor. As soon as he came in, I said "I'm here for a second opinion. I believe I have condition X, "
"What makes you say that", said the new doctor.
"Well I have symptoms, symptoms, symptoms, and 30+ lbs weight gain over 60 days".
"Wow...thats over 20% of your weight in less than 2 months...bodybuilders would want to do that, except it looks like it wasn't muscle (thanks again, I'm such a fatty). Well the first thing we would need to do is some blood tests" said the doc.
"I have some from 3 weeks ago right here".
Within 30 seconds of looking through it, he goes 'WHOA, this is 4 times higher than average...you actually DO have condition x. Why did you not tell your doctor about these symptoms?"
"I did...she neglected to give them any weight, and even didn't write them down on the report. She just told me I needed to exercise'
"What did you say when she called you with the test results?", asked the doctor.
"Umm, she never called me...I had to go get them myself."
"Wow", said the doctor.
He took another blood sample, and prescribed me some meds...and told me I will need to come in monthly to see if I'm getting the right dosage, and vary if I'm not. He also said I will probably be on these meds for the rest of my life. Great. The good news is, that this should correct the symptoms I have been having, and I should see my weight back to normal by summertime.
In any case, had I NOT taken the initiative to get the blood test results from the first doc, and taken them to another doc for the second opinion, I wouldn't have found this out until something REALLY bad happened and a competent doctor would have done the test AND FOLLOWED up, or for another 10 years when decide to go to another doctor.
So now, I'm going to write professional, yet critical letter to the doctor, CCing her medical group, and the insurance company. Is this what I'm supposed to do? Is anything going to happen?
WHAT CAN I DO? I'm not suing for money, I just want to do something so this doesn't happen again with this doctor. It was this doctor's bedside manner, and attitude that made me think "Wow...I totally remember why I don't to the doctor every year". I also totally understand why some people say "I don't go to the doctor...I hate doctors". What I used to think was an ignorant attitude towards medicine, now seems legitimate if all the doctors were like my first doc.
If I was treated that way, I'm sure others are treated that way; thats just neglect. I checked the insurance to see the doc's bill. The insurance paid $155(for the doc, not the blood tests), I also paid $20 copay for a total of $175. $175 for a 3 minute visit, and a diagnosis of "FATTY!"
What can I do, who can I report this to? Is writing a letter to the doctor too small, is writing a letter to the AMA too big? Would sending it to the insurance company do anything? Where in Blue Cross/Blue Shield do I send it to? HELP!