Friday, January 17, 2014

Seniors, Can You Tell When Your Doctor or Lawyer “Loses It”

When do you know it is time to move onto seeing a second doctor or lawyer for another opinion?  Actually, I think the warning signs are generally right before our eyes but we try to talk ourselves out of what we are seeing going on present day.  After all, this professional was top notch in the past.  Do we really want to switch?  My answer is that if the thought has crossed my mind, I probably need to act on it!  I have two stories to relate on this.  At the conclusion of each story, I switched doctors and had the procedure done by someone else. My perceptions might have been wrong.  That person might have been perfect and I may have been mistaken.  But I would rather be safe so I moved on.  Here are the two events.

I was admitted to the hospital with what proved to be later as colon cancer 2A.  It was loss of blood, severe anemia, which caused me to go to the emergency room. My internist set up most of the doctors for me to see and one of them was a senior age man, the oncologist. What bothered me about him time after time is that he never seemed to know what was on my chart and was depending on me to tell him.  I suspected he did not have sufficient computer skills.  When finally he asked me if I had heard yet if I did have cancer, I had had it with him (the results had been in for half a day and were “yes”).  I had my internist secure another oncologist for me after telling him I could not use an oncologist who never read my chart in advance of seeing me.

Second Event: I had an appointment with my long time OB-GYN related to unexplained bleeding. When I arrived at the office there was a sign posted saying that if you could not wait for the doctor, you should reschedule.  This sign made me nervous and even more so as first one hour went by and then a second hour. I demanded of the nurse what was going on and she said the doctor was with another patient.  I also saw the doctor then in another room and there was a long conversation going on with the patient who was laying down on the table. The doctor then came out and spoke to me and essentially explained that because of passionate dedication to the field, each patient was given as much time as was needed. I did end up staying for my appointment but as I left, I asked the receptionist if this was now the new protocol and she said it was.  This is why the practice had had to put up the sign as many patients could not wait hours for their turn. Thereafter, I found a new doctor as I was worried this one was trying to treat patients’ psychological needs as opposed to their OB-GYN ones. If I wanted to see a psychiatrist, I would, as I had done so in the past.

I have seen situations where lawyers needed to be replaced as well.  Usually the harbinger that something is wrong is that the lawyer avoids your phone calls.  Unfortunately, I have less to impart here as I rarely see other lawyers.  But the basic idea is to see what is before your eyes and follow your instincts.

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