Feminist Doctors in PDX.
October 8, 2020 8:18 AM   Subscribe

My wife is looking for a new doctor (Portland, OR / Providence Insurance) that won't brush off a cluster of weird symptoms or longterm, low-level pain.

My wife has been dealing with some long term pain and a couple other weird long-term symptoms (not the point of the ask; we're not looking to crowdsource a diagnosis). She's been getting kind of the 'women's pain brush off' for a couple years now. This has been exacerbated by the office she goes to, which is a teaching practice, so she sees lots of residents and even the fully fledged doctors there rotate out pretty frequently. Nothing against residents, but she's been getting head scratches for a while, and just had a string of doctors that aren't really investigative enough to sort out the issues. Trying to find someone experienced, and feminist oriented.

She's trying to get a line on a couple doctors to visit and go over her medical history with to see if they will 1- take her seriously and 2- have any ideas on how to proceed with a treatment or symptom abatement.

Ideally we would like to find a doctor somewhere on the east side, but for a great doctor she's willing to go just about anywhere in the Portland Metro area. Providence insurance is a must. We've tried searching directly through the insurance wing of providence, but they don't index things like "takes women seriously" or "feminist doctors," which is really what would be helpful.

FWIW she's tasked me with finding a few candidates, because she's slammed at work and I've got a couple weeks between jobs right now to tackle some of the legwork here.
posted by furnace.heart to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Dr. Dahra Perkins at Elevate Health is a wonderful, caring doc. I don’t know if she specifically takes your insurance but her website says they will work with you and your insurance company. I guarantee she will take the time to understand your wife’s issues and listen carefully to her concerns. Good luck. It’s a very frustrating place to be, especially right now.
posted by Gusaroo at 8:49 AM on October 8, 2020

My wife and I moved out of Portland years ago, but still drive back for South Tabor Family Physicians. They're so much better than anything in our rural hospital. Specifically we see Dr. Crover. https://www.southtabor.com/team/jeana-m-crover-m-d/
posted by Snijglau at 8:56 AM on October 8, 2020

This sounds like what happened to my sister when she had very bad Lyme Disease. The one who finally diagnosed her was a Sports Medicine doctor (even though it had nothing to do with sports injury). So maybe she should try a different kind of specialist rather than a general internist/family doctor/primary care.
posted by maxg94 at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2020

I don’t live in Portland right now, and not sure if this is the type of doc she needs, and be forewarned that the office’s online/IRL aesthetic is extremely glitzy pink (which is very Not My Vibe), but still, I would personally consider flying cross-country to go see Dr. Tuesday Pearson again the next time I need a gynecologist. I didn’t realize just how dismissive and judgmental my old doctor was until I went to Dr. Pearson.
posted by circle at 9:39 AM on October 8, 2020

Response by poster: I should clarify; rereading my post it seems vague: She's specifically dealing with the fact that a doctors are kind of shrugging at her general, long term pain (intense, weeks long headaches, bouts of unexplained muscle pain, some other unrelated issues; again not looking for a crowdsourced diagnosis here), which falls under the general umbrella of "doctors not taking women seriously when they say they're sick or in pain" not "pain related to female anatomy." She has a good gynecologist/OBGYN that she's comfortable with.

She's looking for a GP that can, if not help, at least act as a gatekeeper if a specialist is needed (our insurance is picky about that).
posted by furnace.heart at 9:46 AM on October 8, 2020

My wife and I recently switched to Hands On Medicine which is on the east side. They might fit the bill.
posted by elmay at 10:30 AM on October 8, 2020

I was a patient at Hands On Medicine and I would strongly recommend AGAINST Whitney Ault, who told me straight out that ADHD can be managed with coping skills and that medicine isn’t effective. She also isn’t keen on antidepressants. She was not someone I wanted to trust with my health.

I know 5 people (probably more) who see Kim Kelsey there and recommend her very strongly, which is why I went there, but Kim is very difficult to get an appointment with for that reason. Overall I think Hands on Medicine skews a little too much into the woo and less into evidence-based care for my taste but Kim is apparently the holy grail of medical providers.

My partner (a butch woman) has been dealing with a fever of unknown origin and a host of other symptoms and has been, no joke, to about a dozen doctors over the past 7 months. While she still is seeking answers and has been referred to the Mayo clinic going forward, I would recommend that your wife see one of the internal medicine doctors that did the most in terms of coordinating her care and trying to figure out what was going on: Dr. Rima Chamie, MD at Providence Family Medicine Gateway.

Your wife might be interested in joining the Facebook group “Portland Metro HAES Resources & Support” (HAES=health at every size); while it’s based around healthcare that is weight-neutral it’s overall a really fantastic resource for anyone (of any body size) who is seeking competent care. It’s how I found all the providers mentioned here. I’ve also seen very strong recommendations for Dr. Margaret Black, MD at Providence Family Medicine Glisan from that very same group, I just haven't personally seen her! There’s a pretty long list of providers listed in the group files and many posts for people seeking answers for complex cases if you want more recommendations.

Lastly, I no longer see her because I don’t have Kaiser insurance (but throwing her name out there in case you ever switch providers), but my last doctor, Dr. Emma Fite-Wassilak (Kaiser Mt Scott Clinic) was remarkable. I’ve never had a doctor who listened to me and worked so hard to find solutions to my health problems and was dedicated to helping her patients navigate Kaiser...I seriously might buy my own insurance next year instead of using my partner’s just to be able to see her again.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:55 AM on October 8, 2020

Thank you for that perspective @thorn!
posted by elmay at 12:25 PM on October 8, 2020

For what it’s worth I have heard good things about Hands on Medicine from so many people that I would second your recommendation, elmay, I apparently just saw the one provider who is iffy (I had someone else warn me against her based on their experience on the FB page I mentioned but she was the only one accepting new patients at the time).

I’m very militant in my belief that people of all sizes deserve care and it is amazing that HAES part of the clinic’s ethos...they have a sign at their scale that the number doesn’t determine self-worth or health or something like that and you’ll find the classic and radical book Fat!So? in exam rooms. :)
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:46 PM on October 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really like my NP at Providence Family Medicine on NE Glisan. Her name is Heather Pfeiffer.
posted by perhapses at 7:23 PM on October 8, 2020

I'm having good luck (so far) with my new provider who is not a doctor, but a PA. I hesitate to recommend her for your circumstance, however - I'm not certain how she is with NEW issues, but she was very willing to listen regarding my previously existing diagnoses and expedite my return to treatment and specialist care after several years with no insurance. Work/life kind of got crazy to the point I needed a break from additional appointments besides the absolutely necessary ones, so we haven't yet gotten into the things where "this isn't normal, but I have no clue what's going on"... figured we'd start with the stuff we KNEW needed dealt with, and see how it affected the other random-seeming things, y'know? (If you would like her name/office, I'd be happy to PM it to you - I don't really want to risk tying info here too tightly to me, there's a few sensitive posts I've made.)

Also... one of my health issues involves a rare disease with various symptoms, including some unusual headaches which can range from extremely painful to just... odd-feeling. It often takes a long time to reach a diagnosis. So... just in case, I'm mentioning it. Check the symptoms on idiopathic intracranial hypertension and see if any of them match up.
posted by stormyteal at 1:17 AM on October 9, 2020

I am a fan of Providence, and I've been happy with everyone I've seen so far. But I also find it nice to have my physician in my neighborhood. It *might* be worth a try to call the Providence clinic nearest you, and talk to the person who answers the phone. Let them know you're trying to find a new GP, and really need their best listener, and someone who likes to troubleshoot/problem-solve. You might get lucky and the front desk staff might have a good option for you. I'm pretty sure that's how I got my physician - I chatted with the office staff about what's important to me, and they recommended my current GP. If the staff doesn't give a good vibe, then it's ok to move on.
posted by hydra77 at 9:30 AM on October 9, 2020

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