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09-05-2016, 11:34 AM   #1
MissLeopard83
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Writing a Letter to a Doctor

I was wondering if any of you had any experience writing a letter to a doctor from whom you experienced poor or substandard care? I'm sure most of you remember my horrible experience with the GI doctor I saw who treated me as though my symptoms were "simple IBS" and didn't listen when I told him over and over that my symptoms were worsening or not improving with the medication he prescribed. Countless times, he kept telling me that it was dietary and that I should take X, Y, and Z and it should improve. I spent over $1,500 in tests and appointments to find answers and it turned out to be something totally different. I think he was a little quick to dismiss my symptoms as something "simple" and didn't really care that I was in pain.

After pondering it since receiving the pending diagnosis of endometriosis (it can't be 100% confirmed without laparoscopy which I'm having in October), I really believe he's not only done this to me, but to other patients. When he would tell me stories of the patients he has "treated," he used strong words and he seems as if he believes most of his patients are attention-seeking or drug-seeking. The GI group that he's in is highly respected and I don't feel as though he is a good representative of that team.

Anyway, I want to write a letter and stick to the facts, but I'm not sure who to address it to - the doctor or the practice manager (and have said manager give it to him). My grandmother and mother agree that I need to tell him. They see how angry I am at the lack of compassion I received. My mom thought the guy was nice until I reminded her she only saw him for a minute or two when we were at the surgery center for the scopes - no one accompanied me to the appointments. He was a totally different person when someone else was around.
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09-05-2016, 11:37 AM   #2
ronroush7
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Is there some board of doctors you could send it to?

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09-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #3
MissLeopard83
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Is there some board of doctors you could send it to?
That's the problem - I don't know. I've never written a letter about a doctor before. I know there is a president and CEO over the group, so I'm wondering if I should send it to him.
09-05-2016, 12:32 PM   #4
ronroush7
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I would.

09-05-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
my little penguin
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Question do you ever want to be seen in that practice/group by any other doctor?
Something to think about prior to " burning that bridge" so to speak .

Also remember doctors are taught to look for horses not zebras and judging by your pending dx the Gi would not be an expert in gyn issues and would have no way of knowing you had gyn and not Gi issues .
Second your Gi was right in that you didn't have Ibd or evidence of Gi disease you had issues with a completely different system

Not saying bedside manner couldn't have been better btdt many times over and gotten pretty steamed .

Just things to think about
Is the act of writing the letter helpful
Or sending it
Or fallout from the letter

Typically you get survey forms after all visits to rate quality of care with an open comments section that can be anonymous
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09-05-2016, 01:06 PM   #6
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I had a bad doctor for years myself, but never wrote a letter for anyone because I didn't know if it would help any or get me anywhere. Best thing I could do is choose a different insurance for the next year when I was able to and was glad I did. I found someone way better than I'd ever had.

Depending on where you're located and what your options are insurance wise I'd advise you to look around to see if you're able to do the same. Sometimes that's better than writing a letter and can get you where you need to be faster.
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09-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #7
MissLeopard83
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Question do you ever want to be seen in that practice/group by any other doctor?
Something to think about prior to " burning that bridge" so to speak .

Also remember doctors are taught to look for horses not zebras and judging by your pending dx the Gi would not be an expert in gyn issues and would have no way of knowing you had gyn and not Gi issues .
Second your Gi was right in that you didn't have Ibd or evidence of Gi disease you had issues with a completely different system

Not saying bedside manner couldn't have been better btdt many times over and gotten pretty steamed .

Just things to think about
Is the act of writing the letter helpful
Or sending it
Or fallout from the letter

Typically you get survey forms after all visits to rate quality of care with an open comments section that can be anonymous
I've been given the links to those little survey forms and have filled them out on a few occasions. I'm not sure if they really look at them or how objective/subjective they are in terms of whether a patient is upset with the care they received. I do remember, however, when I wrote in the comments section that the doctor had been discussing other patients with me and, when I called for an appointment, the nurse said he was out of the office for 2 weeks. Not sure if that had anything to do with what I wrote. I know that the same time he treated me, he was treating a woman next door to my exam room and I heard him and the patient having some pretty strong words which ended in her storming out of the exam room. This was one of the patients he told me about and she had end-stage pancreatic cancer. She very well could have voiced some complaints, too.

Anyway, I cannot see any doctor at the practice right now because my insurance no longer covers that group due to a dispute. I don't foresee the need to go to a GI doctor again anytime soon. I would hope that if I have a legitimate complaint, which I do, that they wouldn't flag my file. Before discovering the news about the insurance change and getting a different diagnosis, I was wanting very much to switch doctors to get a second opinion. I understand that he specializes in gastroenterology and not gynecology, but he also has a double specialty in internal medicine. My GP is an internist, as well, and she considered all sources. Maybe he is a bit rusty? I don't know. But it does make me uncomfortable that, even if he thought it was IBS, he wasn't willing to send me for a second opinion. He didn't think to send me to the group's nutritionist for dietary recommendations, either. I didn't even know they had one until now. She specializes in diets for IBS patients as well as IBD. I just think it could have been handled much better, is all.
09-05-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
MissLeopard83
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I had a bad doctor for years myself, but never wrote a letter for anyone because I didn't know if it would help any or get me anywhere. Best thing I could do is choose a different insurance for the next year when I was able to and was glad I did. I found someone way better than I'd ever had.

Depending on where you're located and what your options are insurance wise I'd advise you to look around to see if you're able to do the same. Sometimes that's better than writing a letter and can get you where you need to be faster.
Unfortunately, my insurance thru work does not cover this group (they switched insurance companies and the current one is in a dispute with the group; has been for over a year). This group also seems to scoop up any good GI doctors in the area. None of the other GI groups get good ratings except for one and it's 50 miles away. I'm not interested in seeing a new GI doctor right now, anyway, since most of my symptoms are not GI-related. About the only thing I would go back for is to get a test which my former GI doctor did not order, which is the gastric emptying study.
09-06-2016, 08:56 AM   #9
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Others have already raised some good points, so to add to that, The American Medical Association has some info on filing a complaint about a physician which may be helpful to take a look at and the procedure for going through the state medical board (if you want to go that far, but some useful info either way)

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/phys...uestions.page?

http://www.assertivepatient.org/complaint-letter.html
09-06-2016, 03:06 PM   #10
MissLeopard83
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Others have already raised some good points, so to add to that, The American Medical Association has some info on filing a complaint about a physician which may be helpful to take a look at and the procedure for going through the state medical board (if you want to go that far, but some useful info either way)

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/phys...uestions.page?

http://www.assertivepatient.org/complaint-letter.html
I'm not so sure my complaint warrants his license being under review, but I do think that my concerns are valid enough that he should be aware of the situation and be more cautious to dismiss symptoms in the future. I will look over both links you posted. HIPAA is tricky in that they pretty much have to mention names or make it so you know exactly who the patient is. Otherwise, not much is done. My mom reported a home care nurse a few years ago who would order medical supplies for other patients and discuss case reports while at our house. The nurse was investigated, but no discipline was given. It's difficult to prove, in any case.
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