Feb 1, 2010

Open letter to the doctor I saw this morning

Dear Dr. Whatever,
I appreciate that you are filling in for my regular family physician. I understand that you probably do things a little differently than she does; but your practice leaves a few things to be desired.

Despite that you have all of my medical records electronically, I didn't make a big deal over filling out all of your paperwork, with medical history, medications and allergies. If I'm willing to go along with writing all of this down for you, the least you could do is read it. Especially the part where I wrote - "Allergies: I had a rash while taking Doxycyline." Yes, a rash. Some skin redness.

I made myself comfortable and was pleasant while your nurse took my blood pressure. Unfortunately, she refused to share it with me, saying, "the doctor doesn't allow us to share test results with patients." When I raised this with you, you told me that patients aren't sophisticated enough to understand these confusing numbers. (It's only blood pressure for Gawd's sake!) Or, worse, they might want to have a conversation about it!

You walked into the room and stated your name and stared at me. Was that an introduction? Next time you might want to try a greeting, such as "Good morning, my name is______".

I realize that you don't know my medical history, but could you please try take my word for it when I tell you that I use a saline nasal rinse every day. And yes, I do know what saline is.

And finally, when you asked me if anything seems to help my sinus pain, and I told you that a Tylenol-based decongestant seemed to improve symptoms, perhaps lecturing me about the lack of efficacy of these products ("No, that wouldn't have helped, studies have shown that these don't work) was a little uncalled for?

Thank you for your time, I hope not to see you again.

(am I being too harsh?)


  1. OH MY GOD. They wouldn't even share you blood pressure results with you? Because you're not sophisticated enough to understand? WTF? That is unspeakably patronizing! You'd think they'd want to educate patients on stuff like that - keeping people in the dark is dangerous. Man, you are not being harsh enough in this letter!!!

  2. No, you're being too nice.

    And btw, perhaps the tylenol helps your sinus pain because it is a PAIN reliever. If it has pseudoephedrine in it, that would help too by vasoconstricting your nose.

    I really cannot believe that she wouldn't share your blood pressure with you.

    How frustrating an interaction that must have been for you!

  3. Since it was a "fill-in" doctor i saw, I can only imagine that he assumes all of his patients are as dumb as turnips.

    Funny, I even offered to him that perhaps it was the pain killer in my Sinutab that was making me feel better. He just dismissed everything I said.

    Since this encounter happened at our new fancy private care clinic, I will be writing to the CEO to share with him my displeasure.

    Incidentally, I looked this guy up on RateMD.com and he had quite a few evaluations. Overall, people called him cranky and negative. One suggested he retire soon.