Friday, September 13, 2013

You're Fired!! (or, How To Find A New Doctor)

It's one of the scariest, most humiliating events that can happen in a patient's life. The doctor comes in and says, "I'm sorry, but we have nothing left for you." That's it. Maybe a 30-day supply of meds, but it's over... You've been fired as a patient. Your heart breaks, and sometimes they even blame you as an excuse to cover their @$$. You feel defeated, abandoned, and most of all, rejected. I thought being fired meant the doctor had decided there was no hope left for me. And for the first six times it happened to me, I felt suicidal afterwards. But thankfully I had friends and former doctors who told me through my tears that it was NOT my fault, and there are doctors out there willing to help. It's just a matter of finding them, which I was finally able to do. Here's how...

First, know that you're not alone. Second, Do NOT take this personally!! They most likely didn't fire you because of anything you did wrong. They fired you because they can't handle your case. That's not your fault, that's their shortcoming. And having you around is just a constant reminder of their failings. Of all the professionals out there, doctors are least likely to admit they can't do something. Which means the only ting left is blame the victim (i.e., patient).

Know that I'm so sorry you're going though this. But also know this isn't the end! This is a Golden Opportunity to find someone who genuinely cares. I've been able to do this myself, even though it took me a long time to figure this out (years). If you follow the steps below, you should be able to find a doctor who won't run away.(YMMV*).

  1. Call doctor's offices and ask to speak with the appointment scheduler.
  2. When you get a live person, ask them if you can ask a few questions about the doctors first. (If you're redirected to a nurse or other staff, that's fine... Just make sure you're talking to a live person for the next steps.)
  3. Start of by explaining that you have a difficult case, so you need a doctor who's going to be willing to spend a lot of time with you. Tell them you're looking for someone who specializes in tough cases, and ask if there are any doctors like that on staff, and if they're taking new patients (and your insurance).
  4. If you're in pain and this is a pain clinic, ask if they allow narcotic therapies in conjunction with other remedies. (You can also ask if they are into any Eastern remedies like acupuncture and mindful meditation.)
  5. If you like their answers, thank them & schedule an appointment.
  6. If you *don't* like their answers, thank them for their time and call the next office.
  7. Repeat until you find a willing doctor.
  8. Once you do, go to your GP and ask for a referral to the doctor you've found (most are happy to do so). If they ask why, tell them the answers you received and why you think that doctor is right for you.
  9. Make your first appointment.
"I thought being fired meant the doctor had decided there was no hope ..."

This is not "doctor shopping," this is doctor screening. Some doctors are in the point in their career that they want just the easy, routine cases. They are not likely going to want to help us. Younger doctors are often more willing to take on challenges to prove their skills. Older doctors, doctors close to retirement age, not so much... Unless they've specialized in tough cases (there are such doctors), but those doctors are rare.

IF YOU RUN OUT OF MEDICATION, you can go to your local Urgent Clinic or Walgreen's Clinic for refills until you ware able to get into your next appointment with your GP. Your GP will normally cover medications during a transition period. However, if it's your GP who fired you, that can really leave you in a sticky situation. In that case, call any specialists you see and let them know what's going on with your GP. They're also usually willing to cover temporary  medication refills during a transition like this. You can also talk to your pharmacist. Many of them will be able to give you a few days' supply of vital medications, or medications you shouldn't come off quickly. Of course, narcotics cannot be obtained from anyone but a doctor. Worst case scenario, go to the ER.

Good luck, and I hope you find a doctor who will work for you.

*YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary

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