Shop the right doctor (or drop the wrong one) for you

The decision when choosing a doctor and deciding to continue care with one is not a one and done decision.

Recently, I was initially very pleased with a specialist I was referred to. The doctor was proactive, listened to my concerns, had a positively aggressive treatment approach, and was concise.

But his staff really changed the course for me. This is where the old saying, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch,” comes into play.

Interestingly enough, I learned that the term “expedited” is open for interpretation. To me (and most notably, the doctor) “expedited” meant immediate submission for insurance approval and a surgery date in the very next business week. This was what he verbalized to me.

When another day and a half went by without hearing anything, I made a follow-up call to the doctor’s office. I encountered a staff member who complained, “We just saw you yesterday morning.”

I reiterated the conversation the doctor had with me (with this same staff member present) and added that I didn’t want to be this ill for another month (in total 120 days), so yes, I was following up already. Suddenly, the staff member said, “We’ll call you tomorrow,” and hangs up the phone.

I can, without hesitation, say I’ve never been told by a doctor’s staffer, “We just saw you …” implying “What’s your problem?”; “Why are you bothering me?”; “Why do you care so much about your health and feeling well?”

Truly astounding. But upon navigating through the haze, immediate onset of migraine headache, and concern of being cared for by the doctor’s office, I began to feel empowered. Some days I wonder, can we ever catch a break with doctors’ offices?

Thankfully, earlier in the day I had a great call with my neurologist’s office’s staff. This staff member was cheerful and happy to report back findings from my neurologist and wished me a good rest of my day.

Thankfully I have loved ones that lift me up and empower me through these experiences.

I feel for you if you’re trying to get answers from your doctor, their staff, or if you’re having to take the lead.

I have a job. Why do I need to do their jobs? I’m paying them, remember? Monthly healthcare, copays, exam fees, the list goes on… It seems like a one-way street at this moment in time for me. It’s disappointing.

But, I always remember, options are there! If I am not happy with my medical care, my medical files can be pulled and transferred. There are no shortage of specialists in my region. I need to feel comfortable, not unsettled, in going to or having any communication with my provider’s office.

Of all places – now don’t get me wrong, I think humans should be met with kindness at all businesses – but in places of health care, shouldn’t proactive steps be welcomed?   

When we place our trust, finances, and health in a doctor’s hands – it includes the staff. I previously was going to recommend this specialist to others, but the staff had me indefinitely cross him off the referral list. And I’m done too.

We’ve heard time and time again that we are only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with. That goes for doctors too. One person can taint the whole office.   

So, if you’ve had a tough day with your doctor’s office, this is just a reminder that you don’t have to stick with them. Do what’s best for you. Look at the pros and cons, call your insurance company to see who else is an option, and let your intuition dictate the next steps for you. 

We’re all just trying to reach better health and it’s important to have a doctor and team of staff be implementing positive helpful steps too.

Remember, if your needs aren’t being addressed and your welfare doesn’t seem to be at the forefront, a doctor and his or her staff can be disposable. Drop them if you need. And shop for a new one. 

Coming next: Chronic sinusitis and infections that won’t go away