Saturday, December 26, 2015

Throw the Dice

I presume that many think my loathing of the medical field began in 2008 and the subsequent abuse by the staff at Harborview Medical Center. No. I think it was around age 7 when I went for a blood test, the "Doctor" took the blood and broke the needle in my arm. Later I found out that he was an Osteopath, an odd category of non Doctor, Doctor that later reappeared in my life in the Big Brother series with Will Kirby. Why I remember that, no not the blood test but the Will Kirby part shows I watch way too much TV.

But that never improved in my life. My mother went to Dr. Feelgood in the 70s who prescribed Valium to my mother making her a drug addled mess.  This I know now was not unusual as at the time as it was just another way of oppressing women;  I do think the real issue was that she was menopausal and that was the real problem of which he knew nothing nor how to treat.

I have had some good some bad and some who served the purpose. I have always gone to a Doctor with my "problem" and "need" and it was a Doctor who told me no more antibiotics as they are not great for every ailment. He was ahead of that curve apparently.  But most are pushers as we have learned not just drugs but tests and treatments that serve no purpose but lining their pocket.

And the same for Dentists. I have no relationship with my current Dentist who when I was 16 was willing to work with me and changed my perspective on dental crisis.   Today I have no faith nor trust in any of his suggestions, so before he destroys my mouth any further I will wait, and in turn interview three new Dentists to find which one suits my needs both dentally and personally. It is the later that of which I am most concerned.

I have never understood the personal connection until as the editorial points out - until it happens to you.  So I see why people are so vested in the drama about Obamacare and medical needs, the fear that you have to go through this again seems to be taking a risk that is about your health.

The reality is that they are all crappy and the crap shoot is finding the one that isn't.


The Doctor Is Out. For Good.

By JON METHVEN
The New York Times
DEC. 25, 2015

I HAD heard stories of doctors disappearing — gone, suddenly, their offices closed and no forwarding address to be found — but I never expected it from my physician of 12 years. After weeks of phoning his office, I finally reached him. He referred to himself in the third person: Dr. J. was unavailable, the practice was closing and if I wanted my medical records, I should come fetch them.

This was a man who had peered into my nose and mouth, performed prostate examinations and talked me through afflictions. He knew I was married, had children, and what I did for a living. That he would skip town without notice seemed an abrupt ending. He didn’t even tell my health insurance provider that he had shut his doors.

When I arrived the next day, the doctor handed me my records and said he was closing the practice and moving it to Texas. He had not notified anyone because there were too many patients to contact, an explanation I accepted without contention, the way I had adopted so much of his advice over the years.

Everyone seems to have a health care provider they swear by — a dentist who can pull teeth without painkillers, a chiropractor who can realign spines one-handed. “My doctor is the best,” I’ve heard countless friends say. Rarely do they say “my doctor is the worst” — partly because people don’t usually stay with bad doctors very long, but also because bad doctors aren’t always obvious, at least until they do something obviously bad. Like, say, suddenly closing their practice and relocating 2,000 miles away.

In hindsight, there were signs I did not have the best practitioner. The nurses were fresh out of school, using my veins for target practice as they stabbed for blood. I was often prescribed serious medications for mild ailments. I was once left in an examination room for over an hour. When I emerged half-dressed in a cheap gown to check on the wait, a receptionist apologized, saying the doctor had left for the day. He had forgotten about me.

Doctors are a responsible lot, generally speaking, but sudden departures are not unheard-of. According to Lori Jenkins, a health care consultant in Clifton Park, N.Y., closing a practice without notifying patients is often a sign of business troubles, personal problems or impending malpractice suits. All the while, a patient might have no idea what lies behind the stethoscope. “You see things happening, but think it’s normal,” she explained.

After weeks of navigating health care bureaucracy, I’ve discovered no misconduct. Dr. J. is still registered to practice medicine in New York State. The Department of Health claims his practice is in good standing.

And yet, no Dr. J. On the practice’s Yelp page, a Brooklyn reviewer inquired if anyone knew the whereabouts of Dr. J., claiming the office doorman said he disappeared seemingly overnight. Another reviewer, a client for over 10 years, confirmed he had vanished without a forwarding address.

I found a new doctor. She promises not to skip town for the southern border. She discovered a stockpile of wax in my ear she called “alarming,” something that Dr. J. had never noticed. Since our first consultation she’s called twice to check on ear maintenance. My new doctor is the best.

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