Tuesday, January 09, 2007

pia otolaryngologist

So Evangeline needs a tube operation in her left ear. Or does she?
That's what the otolaryngologist we saw today tells us, and ordinarily I'd be inclined to trust his judgment. After all, he's the guy who went to medical school; he's the one who chose to specialize in ailments of the nose, ear and throat; he's the one who has seen the results of her CT scan and her hearing test; and he's the one who can see the fluid buildup behind her left eardrum.
The problem is, Dr. Sable, whose real name I choose not to use, is one of those whiz-bang doctors who comes into the room, fires off his diagnosis and prescribed treatment in a rapid-fire stacatto that puts most machine guns to shame, and then leaves the room. His visit to the room was so fast that papers fluttered through the air in his wake, windows were blown out, and I was left spinning like a dreidl on Hanukkah trying to follow him.
It started to hit me when I got home just how annoyed I was. First I called the woman in charge of scheduling surgery and left her a message saying that I needed to schedule an operation and that I'd like to know who all would be available to perform the surgery. It was starting to hit me by now that if a doctor can't be bothered to slow down and give his patients or their parents time even to process what he's saying, let alone ask any questions they have, then I'm not sure I have a good enough feel for his professionalism at surgery.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I don't want someone operating on my daughter, even if it's just on her timpanic membrane, unless I have confidence in him, not only as a doctor but as a human being. By treating us like a bullet on his to-do list, Sable blew that completely.
So, since we had gone to that practice in the first because Sable's partner had come highly recommended, I called back and said I wanted to see the partner, and that what's more, since Sable had completely failed to deliver a satisfactory visit today, I'd like the co-payment from this visit applied to the make-up visit. The receptionist was obliging, but I could tell she was a little taken aback by how upset I was.
I doubt I'll get the refund, but it should work that way. If I buy a shirt and it's defective, I get a refund. If I hire an electrician and she doesn't do the wiring correctly, she comes back and does it the right way at no extra charge. So if I take my daughter to the doctor and he's a putz, I shouldn't have to pay for his shoddy service either.
The thing that's really biting me on the butt here is that I feel I essentially failed today to be the advocate that Evangeline counts on me to be. I should have interrupted Sable in mid-whirlwind and said, "Would you mind repeating that at a speed that I can understand?" I should have reminded him that my daughter is not a file in the drawer, not a hearing chart, not the results of a CT scan, and not even an ear with some apparent fluid buildup behind it.
Two adults failed Evangeline today, but at least Sable has an excuse. To him, it's just a job.

1 comment:

MJ said...

been there done that. sometimes doctors can have their asses up their heads.