The Doctor Messed Up and I’m Not Pleased

medical symbolF has told me multiple times that I should write about how we navigate the medical system. Usually we’re in the car, on the way to an appointment, and I’ll go down the list of things I had to do to make said appointment happen. This is in addition to all we had to go through to make sure he had any coverage at all. It’s amazing how different two people’s experiences with the healthcare exchange can be.

By the way, this is in no way a bash on the Affordable Care Act, without which F would still likely be uninsured. It’s a bash on the red-tape system that has always existed and has now gotten worse.

That said, I’m not worried about that stuff today. I’ll come back to it. Today I’m upset at F’s doctor. He’s seen her all of one time and has a follow-up scheduled for the end of June.


The short version of the story is that he hurt his knee. After going to the ER and then a specialist, his Medicaid plan switched to a HMO on 5/1, after which we were told he’d need a referral to switch to a specialist who was covered under the HMO.

No big deal. He hasn’t seen a primary care physician in a long time, either. They actually fit him in right away (he was in the office on 5/2).

The doctor he is seeing is a bit older, and a bit old-school. F liked that she didn’t sit in front of her computer, tapping away while asking questions. She was firm, but personable, and asked me to leave the room for the actual exam so she could ask him some more personal questions. She then allowed me to come back in to gloss over what was going to happen next.

She didn’t give him the referral, for reasons that were understandable. She did say she was going to order all of his records from all of his doctors – his cardiologist, previous primary care physician, and the ortho specialist he’d seen for his knee.

And here is where I start to have a problem.

Approximately two weeks ago, we came home from work on a Friday night to find a voicemail from Dr. W stating she wanted to talk to F about his MRI results. I was a little confused by this, as she must have realized he’d seen the specialist right after having the MRI done – it was an emergency situation. That said, we called the office first thing the following Monday. Someone put us on hold and Dr. W got on the line. She had a conversation with him, reiterating how bad his knee was, telling him to let her know when the pain is no longer tolerable so they can talk about what’s next, and she wished him good luck.

Fast forward to this past Friday, the 13th (oh, Friday the 13th – maybe that was part of the problem). I come home from work and find a voicemail for F from Dr. W. She states that he has an appointment at the end of this month and he’d “better keep the appointment because he didn’t return her last phone call.” The tone was slightly nasty and condescending, which I guess might have been slightly appropriate had he not returned her call. But he had.

What the hell?

Now, in all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of Dr. W. She’s alright but she’s not for me. If my doctor were too busy to see me and I were sick, I’d see her, but I wouldn’t choose her.

F, like I said, likes her well enough and she’s firm with him, which is good for him. But… bitch… did you seriously leave a condescending message on my home phone?

I told him about the message and told him my gut (my female, instinctive gut) really doesn’t like that doctor. I mean, she didn’t make a note of talking to her patient on the phone? When she took out the file to call him again this week she had no memory at all of having looked at these records, of speaking to him?

And – the part that irritates me most – when she picked up his file to make this Friday’s condescending call – she didn’t look closely enough to see that we had called just the week before, spoken to another doctor because she was out, and had shuffled Forrest off to urgent care? (And she didn’t see a note from urgent care)?

Do you all see the same gaps I’m seeing?

We’re all human. Save the “she’s human” bullshit for a bit. She’s the doctor in charge of the care of the person I love and, quite frankly, she messed up. I don’t feel like she’s paying attention to what she’s doing. She’s only 1 appointment in with him. What will happen when she’s got months of test results to sort through?

That said, I called the office first thing this morning. I’d hate for her to think F didn’t call her back twice. I told the girl who answered the phone to please remind Dr. W that F had returned her call 2 weeks ago, that they did speak, and that the tone of her message was not well received in our household. I told her that he would be keeping his appointment. The girl who answered had very little to say. I get the feeling she didn’t understand. She said she’d give Dr. W the message. Who knows if she really will or not.


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