mswillie (mswillie) wrote in bad_service,

Inspired by the bad doc tale below

Quick backstory.  My BF was laid off, lost his insurance.  This actually all started in November 2007.  He woke up one day with sore knees, over the next several weeks his knees swelled to the size of softballs and it was nearly impossible for him to walk.  He also began experiencing frank hematuria, general muscle weakness, fatigue, irritability, and loss of appetite.  He lost so much weight he became emaciated (~130 lbs) and was pretty much just a rotten bastard to be around.  He couldn't work, hell he could barely walk.  Long story short he applied for and received medicaid.  WooHoo!  The safety net has worked and he's on his way to finding out what is wrong.

Here's where the bad service starts.  He goes to see his new doctor, and the doctor decides to send him for physical therapy and an HIV test.  No x-rays, no pain meds, no exploration of the urinating significant amounts of blood.  He also drills him on what drugs he takes and how much he drinks (he doesn't).  I'm not upset about the HIV test, if I was looking at my BF for the first time I would consider that.  It just wouldn't be the only thing I considered.

This seems kind of strange to me but he's scheduled for a follow-up in two weeks so I suggest he give the PT a try (my bad) and then go back for his follow-up.  Two weeks later the therapy has done nothing but make the problem worse, the HIV test is negative (if it wasn't I'd have killed him myself), and I told my BF to insist that the doctor send him for a Lyme test as it's rampant in my area.  The doctor ignores my BF's hematuria concern, tells him to stick with the PT, and finally agrees to order a Lyme test.  His nurse also continues the "what drugs are you on" drill, going so far as to try to trick him into admitting illicit drug use. 

When my BF told me I was livid.  Luckily my sister is a doctor so I called her and asked her what she thought.  After a conversation full of "you're kidding me's" and "he didn't send him to a urologist11!!!!1!!" she called up a colleague and got my BF an appointment with an orthopedist who my sister holds in very high regard.  He sends my BF for X-rays which show torn meniscus (menisci??) arthritis, and extensive bone fragments in both knees and a damaged ACL in one knee.  He tells him to stop the PT and schedules him for the first of two knee surgeries.

My BF finally called the PCP and asked about the Lyme test.  It was positive.  They had the results, they were positive, not equivocal, not a maybe, he lit that thing up like a freaking Christmas tree and they didn't bother to call.  I have no idea if or when they intended to let him know.

Next thing we know Dr. Asshat is tripping over himself to take care of my BF.  He refers him to a urologist and even calls the house to see how he's doing.  I don't know for sure, but I'm convinced that either he caught wind of my BF's visit to the orthopedist or, more likely, the orthopedist chewed him a new one.  I asked my sister, she doesn't know, although she said it wouldn't be out of character for the orthopedist to do something like that.  Dr. Asshat's 180 degree turnaround will remain a mystery I guess.

When it was all said and done, In addition to the knees, my BF had Lyme disease (at least stage II or possibly III) and a kidney stone about the size of a quarter lodged in his ureter.  Two knee surgeries, two lithotripsies, and a month of doxycycline later my BF was finally cleared to work a few weeks ago.  Of course now he has to find a job but that's a totally different rant.

The bad service stemmed from the notion that the doctor had that an underweight, unemployed, male on medicaid was nothing more than a drug addict.  In males any hematuria should be immediately check by a urologist as it is a symptom of bladder cancer.   He was also dangerously close to kidney damage but I guess in at least one doctor's mind "drug users" (even if they aren't) don't deserve decent care.

And before anyone asks, yes my sister could treat my BF but we would all prefer that not happen as it could make for some really awkward holiday dinners.

edited to fix cut (I hope)

Tags: *medical/pharmacy
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