Monday, October 3, 2011

Change Doctors?

Here is an excellent piece again from Dr. Kevins blog; 10 reasons why you need to change doctors I have taken the liberty of reproducing a couple of paragraphs from the above which apply on this blog.

"4. You are rarely being seen by the doctor but are almost constantly being seen by a physicians assistant or nurse. Not that there is anything wrong with physicians assistants or nurses because they do play a very important role in health care, but if you are seeking the care of a specific healthcare provider and are rarely ever getting to see that individual (and you are not getting the care you believe you need as a result) this is a good sign that it may be time to make a switch."

My previous post this morning goes into this issue. Even after my surgery I was only allowed to speak to Travis. I was confused as to why the surgeon was unavailable to speak to me and I was continuously shunted off to his "assistant." Could it be that the "assistant" was actually the real surgeon? So he was the one I needed to talk to about any complications? What a bait and switch operation! The surgeon himself sees me and cons me into having a horrible surgery which most definitely WASN'T in my best interests and then fobs me off on his little assistant! (unknown to me) This same assistant who referred to me as "it" when looking for me in preop! This is BS in its purest form!

"5. The provider becomes defensive and angry when asked polite but challenging questions. No health care provider is always correct with diagnostic decision making or managing treatment. Patients should feel like they can have an open and honest discussion with the provider which includes asking questions about possible alternative diagnoses, treatments, or inquiring about information gathered from popular news sources. Provided that the questions are asked politely and without the intention of being antagonistic, there is no need for the provider to become upset. There is no need for a patient to feel scared to ask questions of their physician, nurse, psychologist, etc."

I got fired for this. (I must admit that the surgeon fired me at the same time as I decided that he was insufficient to continue my care. He "fired" me by writing a letter to the np that originally sent me to him. The np wasn't even working at the clinic any more, so the firing was merely symbolic, but what a symbol of medical care it was!) I had many issues with my care which I expected the physician to address. Numbness, pain, loss of grip, screws sticking out into the soft tissue and sawing at my tendons. He was not only uninterested and dismissive but he also fired me so that I could work on the problems which he or his physicians ASSISTANT (not ASSOCIATE) caused with somebody else. This wouldn't be so bad, but once again I had to pay for an absolutely uncalled for "consultation" which is anything but! My new surgeon hadn't seen the inside of my arm and warned me that since he didn't know where the nerves ran in MY arm, that there was an increased risk of yet more nerve damage. So you see it's not just getting another surgeon that is involved.

"6. Feeling rushed. Healthcare is best when the provider is able to take the time to listen and understand the patient’s problems. When the provider gives off signals (e.g., frequently checking the clock or a watch, sighing when questions are asked, walking towards the door, cutting off questions) that he/she cannot spend much time with you, it may be time to consider seeking the care of someone who can."

I didn't feel rushed at all when I went in for my "consultation." My stepfather is a doctor and I am well aware of time restraints. However, it was obvious to me later that my surgeon hadn't listened to a single word I said. He was always "too busy" to come to the phone before the surgery. "Too busy" to see me in the hospital prior to or after my surgery, and possibly "too busy" to perform the surgery himself. Just "too busy" once he had convinced me through lies, omissions and plain old scare tactics to have the surgery.

"7. When the provider makes decisions that turn out to be harmful. An example of this would be going to a pediatrician for a child with respiratory problems and constantly being told it is probably due to allergies despite the fact that the child has no known allergies and has not improved with allergy medications or a nebulizer. Due to the delay in taking the parental report seriously that the problem is likely more than allergies, the child develops pneumonia and is hospitalized. Situations like these are reasons switch providers. While no health care provider is free from making mistakes, this does not mean you have to stay under that provider’s care."

I should never have had the surgery I was conned into having. It caused more damage than it alleviated. Please see the x rays in my 2009 posts.

"8. The provider has decided upon your course of care before evaluating you. This one sounds hard to believe but it happens sometimes. I had a situation once when I went to a doctor, he saw my chief complaint, and filled out two medical scripts before talking to me or evaluating me. Medication and other treatments should be based on a discussion with the patient and an evaluation."

My surgeon had decided upon a course of action by reviewing my x rays prior to ever seeing me. My x rays revealed a fracture that he wanted to operate on. What this meant to me was completely irrelevant to my surgeon. He also had decided that I would receive general anesthetic instead of the nerve block that I stated would be acceptable to me. There was no discussion about it. He never told me about the risks of SEVERE side effects. There was no revelation about general anesthetic being used against my will because my surgeon (as revealed afterwards) only works on unconscious patients. My break went from "no visible or palpable deformity" to "severe deformity" unless surgically remedied. (See the x rays and physician notes.) What my surgeon referred to as "vast improvement" was a minuscule adjustment, barely visible IN THE X RAYS, to the angle of my wrist. (completely invisible by just looking at my arm) For this minuscule adjustment to the bone angle, I got permanent loss of grip, numbness, tendon damage, am at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and have PTSD and a medical phobia. Not to mention the almost 20,000 dollar bill for the first surgery and more thousands of dollars for additional doctor visits, additional surgery, treatment for the hospital acquired infection and counseling for PTSD. What a deal.

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