Rx for Distress, Part 1

Dr. NickLet’s talk about doctors, shall we? I’ll leave out the good and instead focus on the bad and the ugly. Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing what, in my opinion, makes a Dr. Nick (the malpracticing doctor from The Simpsons). These clinical catastrophes are frighteningly common and should have most patients heading for the hills. I encourage you to share your stories, opinions, and experiences, any of which might be used in future posts.

I’ll start with the simplest, yet most commonly perpetrated, blunder.

Consistently misdispronounciating my name or the name of my illness. My name is not Iona, Mona, Ramona, or Naomi, and I do not have Hurler’s syndrome. I can understand mispronouncing my name or the name of my illness the first time we meet. After that, getting my name or the name of my illness wrong just shows me that you cannot be bothered to take the time or make the effort to learn about me. If you cannot be bothered to take the time or make the effort to learn about me, then you obviously cannot be bothered to take the time or make the effort to treat me.

Now, I’ll move along to a situation that can kill a doctor-patient relationship in an instant.

Assuming that I can’t possibly know anything because I’m “just a patient.” Unfortunately, because my conditions are rare, I can’t count on my doctors to know everything, or anything, about them. This means that I do a lot of educating whenever I go to the doctor. This education, however, only works when the doctor is open to receiving it. Here’s a newsflash to many doctors: Graduating from medical school does not give you an excuse to not listen to or learn from your patients. You don’t always know what is best for every patient, and you definitely don’t know everything, so it is completely unacceptable to insist that you do. My GP wanted me to see a rheumatologist to get his opinion on how to best manage my condition. I was reluctant to go because I have yet to have an experience with a rheumatologist that could possibly qualify as decent. I wasn’t given a choice – it was see the rheumatologist or have my pain medication taken away. I saw him once before and knew he wasn’t that great, so I brought my mom with me. It made absolutely no difference. He kept asking me why I didn’t do the physical therapy he recommended (because I couldn’t) and telling me that I’d be fine if I just walked 2-3 miles every day! Mom and I tried to disagree with him as politely as we could, but to no avail. He just kept repeating himself, only LOUDER and s-l-o-w-e-r. It’s very hard to piss my mom off, but even she stood up and headed for the door before the doctor was finished berating us. He continued to spout incorrect information about EDS and how to manage it, and tried to convince me that starting pain management would be the biggest mistake I ever made. He was wrong – about everything. Doctors like this one should retire, immediately.

Be on the lookout for the next installment of Rx for Distress for even more medical mayhem.

SPEAK UP! What do doctors, nurses, or other medical “professionals” do that makes your blood boil? Share your stories and opinions and they may be used in future posts!



Filed under Doctors, Frustration, Rx for Distress, Specialists

12 responses to “Rx for Distress, Part 1

  1. i was in the ER with stomach pain and bad nausea… a doctor came over and told me i should just go home because he “wasn’t going to get me high” and besides, i had zofran at home. i told him that i have daily nausea, so if i’m in the ER for nausea, it’s BAD, and not something i can manage at home. he took that as ‘i can never care for myself at home” and told my mom (infront of me) that i belong in a nursing home.
    i also always love telling a doctor or nurse over and over again to LOOK AT ME when you’re speaking to me (i’m hard of hearing and rely on lip reading to fill in the gaps i can’t hear) only to have them start talking to me while their back is turned, or they’re looking at something else. drives me nuts.

    • Oh my God! I can’t believe that ER doc did that! Actually, I can, sadly, but the “I’m not going to get you high” comment really takes the cake! I had something similar happen when my gallbladder went into self-destruct mode. They practically threw me out as soon as they found out I was a chronic pain patient. The nurse came in, SLAMMED some Demerol into my IV, and threw me out. I had another attack a few days later and went to a different ER, where I was treated much better.

      Were you ever able to file a formal complaint against that jackass doctor? I hope so, because that definitely qualifies as abuse.

      I swear, no matter how many times you tell some of them you’re impaired in some way, they just don’t listen! I always inform doctors and nurses that I’m legally blind. Plus, you can see there’s something wrong with my eyes just by looking at me. I wonder if they’d pay attention if I slapped them in the head with a bedpan?

  2. doctorblue

    Check out The Doctor Parent Trap post at http://doctorblue.wordpress.com Many doctors readily admit viewing their patients as children in need of their help. The parent-child scenario doesn’t help develop a trusting and honest relationship between adults. I’d love to survey doctors about what they really see their role as. Their answers could help screen out those patients should never see.

    • That is a very astute observation. I never thought to consider how my doctors view me in terms of assuming roles. I only thought about how doctors viewed me in terms of my personality traits, habits, and so forth.

      I wonder if this could be exacerbated by the fact that I’m only 26 years old. I’m still young, so it would be easier for doctors to see me as assuming the role of a child.

      Doctors have screening procedures for “bad” patients, drug-seekers, addictive personalities, non-compliant types, and those who are likely to sue. Why aren’t there screening procedures for “bad” doctors? There should be at least one way to weed out doctors who are negligent, abusive, lazy, etc.

      Surveying doctors would absolutely be a worthwhile pursuit. It would shed some light on why doctors do the things they do, and help patients to stay away from the bad ones.

  3. Hi Ioma,
    It is absolutely dreadful the way some doctors treat their patients. I’ve had doctors not talk to me, but talk to Neil, or whoever else is with me, as if I were incompetent or didn’t know what they were talking about. Very much the parent-child role. Very rarely, do I get an ER doctor willing to fully listen to me about my condition and what works and what doesn’t and give me Vicodin for pain. Ha! I’ve actually turned them down before. Or they see that I take morphine daily and don’t offer anything at all, I then have to explain to them that it is long-acting and not for acute pain. That opens up a whole other argument. Pssht. I am very lucky to FINALLY have doctors that listen to me, willing to admit that they don’t understand the whole of my condition, and trust me when I tell them that I know what I’m talking about.

    This series of posts would make a great personal pamphlet to give to doctors!

    • I’m glad you like this post, but I’m sorry that so many of us can relate to it!

      I’ve been treated so badly by some doctors that I’m left dumbfounded as to how they graduated medical school and continue to actually have patients!

      Oh gosh, the subject of pain management. You just can’t talk pain medications with some doctors. Part of the problem is that we’re young, so in their opinion, we must either be stupid, faking, or addicts, and sometimes all three. I shudder at the thought of ever having to go to the ER for a pain-related problem.

      They tried to throw Ultram (tramadol) at me for my gallbladder attacks! HA! What were they thinking?!

      I’m glad you have doctors who are willing to admit they don’t know it all. I don’t mind hearing that a doctor doesn’t know something, but I hate it when they try to BS me into believing they know it all.

  4. Naomi

    you cant win with them at all a lot of times because they are the problem not us. I know ive been treated in ‘certain’ ways because i look 12, am young, etc etc sterotype stuff. If you are elderly they treat badly because they dont know how to treat elderly people. Or it may be a female vs. male thing who knows. Bottom line they are not being taught in medical school about HOW properly bond with a patient and work as a team. Basic social skills they lack. You wonder if some of them can even tie their shoes. Many of them may find out later that becoming a doctor wasnt for them but dont have the courage to stop and try becoming somethingelse and we pay for it. And now that neagtive behavior is the norm behavior from all these medical professionals it will spread. They need regulation or people to come by and slap them and be like ‘no thats not what you say to a patient.’ Dr. Grubb said what is so true, ALL of these doctors will bECOME patients someday. Would they really want to be treated the same way?

    • It sounds like Dr. Grubb has a good head on his shoulders. If/when I get the chance, money, etc. to go to a specialist, he’ll be at the top of my list.

      My previous GP definitely became a doctor because her parents expected her to. She really loves animals and would much rather have been a veterinarian. She never told me this specifically, but her profile on the practice’s website pretty much says it.

      Good, compassionate, caring doctors are so hard to come by, and this is frightening! It should be the other way around – bad doctors should be hard to find.

      I actually heard that, during medical school, they teach doctors to be detached from their patients. I know two people in med school who have been through this training and intend to resist and ignore it, thank God!

      Maybe patients should be allowed to review a doctor’s performance. They do, in fact, work for us, so why not? Maybe it could weed out some of the bad ones.

  5. I saw a neurologist recently who decided I was not officially diagnosed with EDS because I did not have a genetic test proving it. I explained at least 3 or 4 times that I had the Hypermobility type and there was no test.

    I t0ld him I was diagnosed by Dr Francomano, who is the world expert, and she believed that I have the hypermobility type, in addition to another condition. He kept saying that she may be wrong because she did not do a blood test…. needless to say I did not go back to that guy!

    • If Dr. F says you have EDS, then you have EDS. That neurologist is a moron, and I wouldn’t go to him if my life depended on it.

      Unfortunately, there is no test for HEDS. Even the test for VEDS is only about 97% accurate (it can yield false negatives).

  6. My ex-rheumatologist (not my last ex-, but the one before that) admitted to my face that the treatment for EDS related pain was a controlled release opiate. She then proceeded to stall me for two months, saying she needed to check for side-effects, or verify something with my neurologist. Then finally she said she wasn’t going to give me any because they would constipate me .

    I hate to be bullshitted. She knew good and damn well she had no intention of ever giving me anything, but lacked the ovaries to come out and say it. I could have saved a lot of co-pays.

    • What a sorry excuse for a doctor! She was totally stringing you along.

      Checking for side effects takes five minutes. And as for your neurologist, looking at your medical records, and maybe making a phone call is all the doctor had to do (unless you were on a controlled substances contract with your neuro). Constipation is neither inevitable nor incurable. Miralax every other day works wonders for me.

      I HATE being bullshitted and lied to, too. I think it’s probably the thing that angers me the most. It takes a lot of effort for me to even get out of bed and walk around my own home, not to mention getting out of the house for an appointment – DO NOT waste my time!

      I’m sorry you got dragged along like that. She certainly wasn’t wearing her ovaries on the outside, now was she? I hope your future experiences in pain management are productive and positive!

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