My mom had a heart attack on April 13th of this year. It was her first, and hopefully only. Blah blah blah, long story short, she ended up with a pacemaker being put in. She was told that within a few weeks she wouldn't even notice the pacemaker and that it shouldn't hurt. A few weeks later, it was still bothering her, so she went in to the ER.
One corner of the insertion site was infected. They gave her antibiotics and sent her home. It's been two months and still the area is raised and constantly painful. Her cardiologist won't listen to her and says it's just keloid (sp?) scars that she has to deal with.
Concerned, my mom sought out the Kaiser website to look up info on her doctor, only to learn that he is NOT a licensed cardiologist, but merely a licensed internist, as are all the people in that department (at least at Kaiser South San Francisco where she goes). My mom is not the calmest of people, so now she started to panic and immediately decided to get a second opinion.
A friend of hers runs with a Kaiser doctor from Oakland and asked him. He recommended she call and make an appointment to see one of the cardiologists from Kaiser San Francisco. When she went to do this a few days ago, she was told that she could NOT make an appointment for a second opinion without a note from her primary care physician. She contacted his office, only to be told that he is out of the office until July 5.
Being in constant pain (so much so that she's getting to the point where she may deal with a three hour ER wait soon), she asked the doctor's assistant to check with the doctor on call, who refused to sign the form.
Many people recommended that she call Patient Assistance, which she did today. These people called the doctor on call (I don't know if it was the same one), who again refused to sign the referral. She's scheduled to see her cardiologist on 7/10, but she wants to go in sooner, and NOT to SSF, which any cancellations would be for.
She's pissed, I'm pissed, and I'm ready to just tell her to yes, go sit in the ER, because I'm getting sick of her complaining, sick of the doctors giving her the run around, and sick of being the one she turns to when I'm freakin' 25, not in the same city as her, and she has a husband who will help her with this if she's too... whatever to stand up for herself!