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Out of Our Minds
Friday, November 04, 2005 9:05 AM
Customer Service, Medical-Style
Kevin Salwen on Health & Wellness

I quit my doctor this week. It's not that I don't like him -- in fact, he's wonderful -- it's that I can't stand everything that surrounds him. In the past 2 months, I've endured 45+ minute waits at the office, an inability to schedule an appointment for a hip problem I've had, a series of 'would you like to see his physician's assistant instead?' questions, and a 5-day callback after I left a message saying I was hurting.

Fortunately, none of this was life or death. But when I went there Wednesday afternoon and waited for more than an hour, I finally threw in the towel. I didn't yell at anyone or make a scene, I calmly walked to the receptionist's desk and told her I was leaving and didn't need another appointment. And I began looking for another doctor.

Yes, I know I'm late to the discovery that the medical community is a mess. I know the insurance process has screwed everything up. I know I'm not the first person to lament the loss of personal care. But here's what I'm wondering: Hasn't anyone figured this out? Is it no longer possible to get good medical care in a civilized environment in which the relationship doesn't feel like an auto-service shop? Any tips out there?

Sign me, Fed Up in Atlanta


Pam - 11/9/2005 7:17:14 AM
In the 70s when I was pregnant, I had very lengthy waits at the obstretrician's office.

Only when I went and asked did they tell me 'He had anemergency call' -- I could have gone and done some shopping or taken a walk in the park, but no - they kept me (and a number of other pregnant women) sitting there.

I'm just saying, this is not new!

Good for you for voting against it with your feet!
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 11/5/2005 9:16:05 PM
Hey Kevin, Sorry about the hip issue...you know how I feel about the medical profession and this is from the Canadian perspective. Here's what I don't get though...if we all know there is a problem and the medical community recognizes there are problems and the governnments publicly declare there are problems...who dropped the ball? Everyone knows about it and nobody can or wants to change it. It's like a big pink elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. Is it hopelessness, futility or something else? What would it take to call this frustration into action? I like that you say you quit your doctor...here's another level of that. I noted that you said you did not get mad you just left...how about writing a letter...we know you're a good writer, to said now fired doctor telling him/her why you quit....As Gandhi says 'be the change you wish to see.' Best of luck. Living la vida fearless, Jan


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