Friday, November 4, 2011

Letter that I haven't sent to the orthopedic office. Yet.

I just received a phone call from your Satellite office, advising me that my appointment scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 0945 with Dr. Soandso needed to be changed to 1500. This appointment was originally scheduled on October 12th, 2011 after meeting with one of your PA's to discuss the results of the MRI which could have been given to me over the phone. Instead, I met with him for less than 15 minutes, and my insurance was charged $77 and change, and left with no clear plan of attack, other than "yep, you need to see an orthopedic surgeon."

I sustained this injury on JULY 28th. I went to the ER. I was told "it's just a sprain, and sprains can take 4-6 weeks to heal."
I waited a month to allow time for it to heal. After a month, I called my primary care physician to ask if it was normal. She then demanded I see her instead of answering the question “IS THIS NORMAL”, she ordered an xray, and told me it would take 2 weeks to get the results. I balked and said "No, it will not take 2 weeks, I've been dealing with it for a month and I'm not waiting that long for x-ray results." The results came back 2 days later as negative, so they started me on the orthopedic office route, which I was told the orthopedic office would set the appointment up. AFTER A WEEK OF WAITING to hear from your office to set up an appointment, I was told that it would be a month to get into the Seaside office, and that they had a Satellite office that would be closer. OK, fine. I said if they can get me in sooner than a month, fine. The soonest appointment they had would be 2 weeks. OK. Fine. It was only after I insisted on the appointment being made that I finally got one.

September 14th, I met with the PA, to discuss the situation.

Plan was to put a boot on and revisit in a couple of weeks to see if it had helped.
By the September 29th appointment the boot hadn't resolved the issue, and an MRI was scheduled, by your office for October 4th. With a followup appointment, scheduled by your office for October 12th.

At the time of the October 12th appointment, I requested the soonest appointment available. I was told that the soonest appointment with Dr. So-and-So was Thursday, November 10, 2011.
After expressing my frustration to the secretary and about ready to burst into tears about the situation, she looked at me and responded with "Well, what do you want me to do about it?"
I work in customer service. I have worked in medicine. Regardless of the situation, whether someone is having a bad day, month, year, life, hated her job, her co-workers, fill in the blank, that statement should NEVER EVER EVER be uttered to a client, patient, customer, or anyone else who you ever want back as a returning customer.
This kind of customer service is where the provider and office staff believe that regardless of the situation, patients will come limping, crutching, wheeling, hobbling or be pushed to them in droves, and their office will overfloweth. Apparently the staff at your office is forgetting that regardless of the number of years that a physician goes to school, has been practicing medicine, operations performed, or patients seen, the surgeon is a salesman. A very well educated, respected member of the community, but he is selling his opinion to patients. As a salesman, a customer has the opportunity to choose whom they see. Just because Satellite Office is the primary orthopedic service in the East-Gish No-where area does not mean that I am bound by anything to use your practice. I work in Smaller City, and travel regularly to Bigger City, and have no hesitations going elsewhere to seek orthopedic treatment.

I have spoken with you about this situation. I requested my name be placed on a waiting list for cancelled appointments, both at your Satellite location and at your Bigger City location. I was told “once you’re established at an office we don’t typically transfer you to another location.” I understand that, what with paperwork, liability, time, etc. When I requested to be put on a waiting list, you responded "Well, not many people cancel their appointments" to which I replied "Yeah, because you make them wait a month to see you!"

Now, I might be able to understand the delay if I was constantly seeking pain management, or completely making this up. NEVER ONCE have I requested pain management. Not when it happened, not in the ER, not from my primary physician, not from my osteopath, and not from your office. That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean that it is not uncomfortable. That doesn't mean that my back has not gone out as a result of walking lopsided for 2 months because of the boot, or limping for almost 3.5 months post injury.

I could understand if we were waiting for something to heal. We are not, or at least how I understand it.
From what I understand from the appointment with your PA on September 14th, this is a surgical consult, because at that appointment Tony said “well, unless you have something weird like a ding in the bone and we would have to go in and make it smooth.” I said “Welcome to weird. If it’s weird, it will happen to me.” Turns out, I was right.

I have been patient. I have waited. I have worn the boot. I have been scanned, manipulated, x-rayed, magnetically imaged, and range-of-motion tested.

I have no doubt that if this situation turns into a surgical case, your office and staff will do backflips and jump through hoops to get this surgery scheduled as quickly as possible so you can have more money to increase your bottom line. Not because you want to help get me out of pain any quicker.
I'm not interested in financing any more toys, gadgets, gizmos, or housing amenities. I am not coming to you because you're my best bud...if that were the case, I'd schedule lunch, or have you over to dinner. I am paying you to take care of an injury. I am coming to your practice because I had success and I respected Dr. ThatIrespect's opinion, and I appreciated the way the case was handled.

I played by the rules. I went to the ER just after it happened, had it xrayed, was told it was a sprain, and sprains can take 4-6 weeks to heal. I said IN THE ER that this was the worst sprain I've ever had (and I've had my fair share). The ER doc looked at me and said "Well, do you think something else is wrong with it?" with the attitude that I know nothing and he was God and knew everything.
Every step of the way I have been patronized, ignored, delayed, and treated as though I know nothing. I have run out of patience, emotional reserve and restraint, and I am through waiting.

If I hear from your office about this appointment ONE MORE TIME for anything other than a confirmation phone call, and believe me, I know when this appointment is because I so incredibly frustrated, angry, hurt and irritated, and I have made this appointment a priority, I will not be back to see your practice.