Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I Hate Dealing With Doctors, Part 1

I've been trying to find a new doctor. I take Armour Thyroid and I'm trying to find a doc close-by who will prescribe it. So I call the doctor that we take the kids to when they have an issue (not a Pediatrician because I really don't put much faith in them). I try several times to reach the nurses station. The voice mail message said if I need an antibiotic, to leave the drug number and my name and number. I don't need an antibiotic, so I didn't leave a message. So I try to talk to the receptionist.
I tell her: Before I set up an appointment, I need to find out if Dr. Rogers prescribes Armour.

"Well, you'll need to come in before we can tell you if she'll prescribe that for you."

I try again: "No, I don't mean if she'll prescribe it for me, I mean: does she ever prescribe Armour? Is she opposed to that brand?"

"I can't tell you what she'll prescribe without knowing your medical history since you've never seen Dr. Rogers."

Ugggh. I try a third time to explain what I'm asking and finally she transfers me to someone else.
I explain that I don't want to make an appointment and pay for an appointment only to find out that Dr. Rogers doesn't prescribe Armour to anyone and therefore won't for me.
She goes through the script again about needing to come in before they can tell me what the doctor will prescribe. I roll my eyes, but patiently explain it a different way. I can't remember now what I said differently, maybe I put the accent on the word ever, instead of the word prescribe. I don't know. This time, however, I'm understood. She says she'll have the physician's assistant call me.
Ok great!

Then the physician's assistant calls me. I patiently explain what I'm after. (Armour Thyroid, in case you're still as confused as the medical staff at Dr. Roger's office.) The P.A. first used the script, then finally after I explained it AGAIN, she said:

Oh, you're looking for a new doctor? You've never seen Dr. Rogers, so you want to make sure she prescribes Armour before you come in, right?


"Dr. Rogers isn't taking any new patients currently."

I didn't have a very kind reply to that, I'm afraid to report.


mommy4 said...

HA HA HA HA!!! I'm sorry you had to go through that. But it sure is funny to read.

The Herd said...


I have a similar story...I was having dizzy spells(I had them last year at a certain time of the month), but haven't had them in over a year until last month.

So, I called my dr. I talk to the receptionist--blablabla---I explain---I only need to know if I can take advil after I have taken a migraine pill!!! Well, I got the run around too...she said I need to come in...I say--I can't even get out of bed---so she sends me to the nurse's line--no help---nurse calls me back and tells me the same thing!!! UGH!!!

Then, the dr. has the receptionist call me in the morning and tell me on my cell phone answering machine that I should go to the ER--I might have a brain tumor!!!_AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Now, that makes me feel real good. By the way, the dizziness was gone by morning...and I don't have a brain tumor!! Thank the LORD!!!

I feel your pain!! You might call your pharmacy where you get your meds and ask them if they have another dr. that perscribes that in the area. You might not get an answer, but then again, you might!!

musicmommy3 said...

Great Title.

I used to work at a clinic before I had my kids.

We weren't allowed to "diagnos" anything over the phone but we certainly would have answered your question correctly. lol

Dr. G said...

I'll try real hard not to take offense at your title. :) But I am sure what your really meant was Why I hate dealing wtih doctors and their stupid office staff. Unfortunately, all though the doctor may be good, their office staff is usually terrible. You wouldn't believe the stuff that I went thru while in private practice with staff. It was one of the MAIN reasons I left to become a hospitalist.
Did you ever try Heather Akins? I had email her and and she said she does rx'd amour thyroid. Also have you considered an endocrinologist who specializes in hypothyroid disease and would have MUCH more experience rxing amour than an FP or IM

Ginger said...

Kelley, Kelley, Kelley,

I've been waiting for and fearing your comment. lol No offense intended. I'm part of a yahoo group for those with hypothyroid and you wouldn't believe the Endo horror stories. They are consistently idiotic when it comes to thyroid treatment. I don't know why. But I've read enough to know I'd rather see an FP. I know my stuff well enough to know what I need and want. ;)
Thanks for the name. I was looking for that email again actually. :)

Carolyn said...

I think it is more than doctors' offices. I think it is a problem with listening to people and then really trying to help them find the answers. You could substitute insurance companys, phone companies, cable, cell phone, and the list goes on, I've had a similiar conversation with all of them!!!

BTW, I'm glad you got a lead on a name from dr. g.

SeƱora Smith said...

Hi Ginger - It's Julie from ye ole CM group :o) I love reading your blog. I have to chime in on this one! I sooo agree w/the office staff issue! And my Dad is a dr. so I really get it. Here's what happened to us once:

We were at VBS, and my ds (maybe 4 at the time) was brought to me w/a red eye. I couldn't bring him back without a dr. note saying that he did not have pink eye (or until he'd been on an antibiotic & symptom free for 24 hrs). Ugh. So, I called our family dr. and was told that he did not have any available appts. No prob. I just need someone to look at his eye - can one of the other 3 drs. see him asap? "No, ma'am, your insurance won't cover your appt. if your doctor is in the office and you see someone else." What?! Ok, I made an appt. for the next day. Then I thought, we'll just see about that, and called another dr., who was very helpful and said "come right away".

When I called to cancel my first appt., the one with our doctor, the receptionist was horrified that I had made an appt. with ANOTHER doctor - oh, no! Her boss would be so mad! Please cancel that and come in here - we will work you in!

Unfortunately, I don't think the doctor ever understood how unreasonable and flat out lying she had been with me. He thought I was irate with her (as she had burst into tears afraid of getting in trouble) and demanded to see him immediately under threat of changing doctors. Puhlease.

Turned out, it was not pink eye & we got to go back to VBS.

Incidentally, next time we went in, that receptionist was gone :o)

Boy, it felt good to vent with you. hahaha!!

MommaofMany said...

UGH. I share your sentiments. Things have to be really bad around here before I'll get into the doctor's office. I guess it doesn't help that our adult medicine doc seems almost worthless.

My husband broke a couple of ribs and didn't go to the doctors for a week! Then it was only because he ran out of pain meds (Vicoden, leftover from another accident). The doctor told him he was crazy for not coming in, but all they did was tell him to wrap it up tight, My husband already knew to do that, so why waste the office visit money??

For Vicodin...that's why! He has half a bottle left to get him through the next broken rib!

dr. g said...

I must have been really distracted when typing that comment. It is horrifying to see all my typos. Blame it on the 3 kids crawling on me or that I am a product of public schools. Haha
I am actually having dinner with Dr. Heather tomorrow night. We share the same birthday. I don’t have her office number but can get it if you need it.
I agree with Carolyn that really this is a listening problem and lack of customer service. After Kevin and I moved back to Texas, we were shock at how rude people in service had become. We were only gone for 6 years, but it was not the friendly Texas that we remembered at least not from anyone in customer service. Our culture has just gotten so lazy and has much lower standards. I can’t tell you how many similar incidents I have had with various utility companies, contractors, store clerks etc.
Also, wanted to mention that I have had several unpleasant experiences in Dr.’s offices too. Although I am doctor at work, I am not one at home. I don’t take care of Kevin or my kids unless it is absolutely necessary. They all have their own doctors. We have changed doctors twice now for the kids, not because of the dr. but her front desk staff.
As far as the Endo is concerned. It is surprising to me that your yahoo group has had trouble with them. I am sure you know that they are internists who have then done a fellowship in endocrinology. Compared with other subspecialties, their area of expertise is fairly small. You would think that they would be highly knowledgeable about hypothyroidism. And that is all they do all day. Where as a generalist, might see 2-3 hypothyroid pts a week that need dose adjustments. But you are right, with a patient that knows what is going on and a good FP this is not a problem that should be too hard to handle.

Stacy said...

You have my empathy, Ginger!

As the parent of a child who sees many specialists, I could write a book on the bone headed things that happen with both staff AND doctors, but this isn't my blog, so I won't take up your space.

I am a firm believer in finding a doctor for life, and holding on for dear life, good ones who really listen and work for you are hard to find, but when you do find them, their staff care for you too because the doctors pay attention and make sure their patients are getting the right attention from all directions. Ok, forgive me that was an awful sentence. I am dead tired and can't even think of a better way to write it! I am sure hoping my intentions weren't lost in that mess!

Ginger said...


You're so gracious! I love getting your comments. :)
I know it's not logical and it's not even *my* experience, but I've been scared away from Endos. I'd rather tell an FP what I need than try to convince an Endo that being this tired isn't normal. (Gobs of ppl say their Endo told them they were just tired because they had kids or because they weren't so young anymore, etc, etc.)


You're too funny! I knew exactly what you meant.

Nealy said...

Although that was a terribly frustrating experience for you, reading it was a tremendous belly laugh for me, so thank you!