17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Thursday, March 30, 2006

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

I was traumatized yesterday. Seriously hysterical crying to my husband on the phone like I haven't for at least 3 years. I might be accused of blog-hogging, but if there are no new posts on a Wednesday, then I say I am free to post the next day...and I am. The following is a letter that I want to send. My husband is telling me that paying the balance is worth further trauma being incurred. Anybody have experience with demanding customer service in the medical world?

March 30, 2006

Dear To Whom It May Concern,

It is my experience that when a medical professional and his patient come together for an appointment that the needs of the patient should be at the forefront of all discussion and activities that occur at said appointment. The doctor should listen to the patient and hear her concerns and needs. Questions should be asked and answered between the two, to get to the bottom of the health crisis and begin the healing process.

Yesterday I had an appointment with Dr. Chiaramonte at the Boro Medical Center in Long Island City, New York. I trusted that he would be a good doctor because he was listed on my insurance’s website. My experience with him was the most negative I have ever had with a medical professional, and left me feeling traumatized by the entire experience. Here is my list of complaints about the appointment with the Doctor:

• The doctor talked about himself most of the visit. I now know that he has an adopted daughter with red hair and blue eyes who is living with her fiancé, they have a 3 ½ year old daughter. Her fiancé used to play in a band that sold over 400,000 copies of their record, but left the band to start a new one. His daughter plays string bass in the new band. The doctor wishes that his future son-in-law would get a more promising job etc. etc. etc.

• He asked me about my symptoms and I think the only one I shared with him was my swollen vocal chords, and that is what prompted the personal story-telling. He did not ask me about my personal or social histories, family background, or previous allergy treatments.

• I told him that I had had my medical records forwarded to him and he said that knowing this office, they were probably lost. I was upset about this because that has my entire, complicated medical history of the past 15 years. He showed no regard for that history or the fact that it was now unaccounted for.

• He prepared 8 needles. I asked him what he was doing, he answered: “Don’t worry this won’t hurt”. I had not asked: “Will this hurt?”. Perhaps he has never had a patient that wants to be educated about procedures and what a doctor might be inserting into their bodies. Of course I recognized it as scratch testing, but I wanted to know what each needle contained. After pressing, I only know 2 out of 8: ragweed and dust.

• I mentioned my shrimp allergy. He went on to tell me about a $40,000 treatment that I was eligible for if my blood levels were elevated to a certain number, but that the treatment was only approved for asthma patients, so “we” would have to lie and say that I had asthma. He then referred me to the book that he wrote, told me to read a certain chapter and think about it.

• He mentioned his book to me at least 3 times, told me to read it and he would sign it (as if he was doing me a big favor).

• Every time I tried to express concerns that I had he told me to “slow down” and started talking about himself again.

• I left with 5 prescriptions. I have experience with only one. I asked for an explanation and I still can’t tell you what they are for or why I need them. One of the “prescriptions” was a website where I could go to read one of his recently published short stories that I showed absolutely no interest in hearing about or reading.

• Every time my baby made a sound he would stop talking, as if it was a great inconvenience to speak over a child.

• Every time I stood up to try and bounce the baby to get her to stop making noise, he ordered me to sit down.

• He asked me my name and I said: “Kage” and he replied… “Oh that’s my daughter’s name” And yet, he wrote my husband’s first initial and last name on all the prescriptions.

Here is my list of complaints about the facility:
• I arrived at the medical center and there was a pool of red blood in front of the check-in counter that I did not notice until my 4-year-old child stepped in it.

• I was forced to wait to see the doctor until my insurance paper work had been approved. After 20 minutes I explained that I would pay the bill no matter if my insurance covered it or not, and could I please see the doctor, ten minutes later I went in.

• After the appointment they tried to force me to wait as they still hadn’t heard from the insurance company. I explained that they had my contact information and they could contact me if I owed them money. I left the building because I had another appointment that I was late for, and they ran after me. I calmly explained that I would come by first thing in the morning the next day if there were still problems, and I left. I followed up with a telephone call and they said everything had come through. Of course it did. That was a lot of unnecessary waiting and drama.

At first I found the situation ridiculous and kept telling myself that the situation would resolve itself. Then as it progressed into more and more stories and the Doctor encouraging me to lie about my health and buy his book, I was almost brought to tears, 3 different times. He said he wanted to see me in two weeks, and it is not clear why he would need to. I left the office and sobbed. I felt that he was condescending, egotistical, incompetent, and inappropriate in every way. I finally understand why people sue for pain and suffering. The 30 minutes of time I spent in that small room with that doctor was truly the most traumatizing I have spent with any medical professional. I don’t intend to sue, but I also don’t intend to pay. If there is a balance left after my insurance pays, I will not be paying for this mockery of a doctor’s “services”.

I will be contacting my insurance company to inquire of any provisions or circumstances in which they can refuse to pay as well. This doctor should have his license revoked, and stop practicing medicine and continue on his path of trying to be a published writer, for that he can do in seclusion, and not hurt innocent victims like myself.

With sincerity,
Kage

14 Comments:

  • "Kage, huh?" That's my daughter's name too!

    Ok, I can't even believe this and I'm so sorry you were with your girls because that makes any long weary situation that much longer.

    I would have to say, like your DH, that paying the balance will be MUCH easier than fighting the bill. They are obviously incompetent and if it's even possible to remove the charge, you'd have to jump through a billion inconvenient, emotional, time consuming hoops.

    BUT, I know, it's the principle. What a JERK of a doctor. You definitely shouldn't have to pay. I'm so sorry you had to deal with such a quack. I really just can't even believe someone could be so self-centered and uncaring.

    My advice--call the clinic's billing office and your insurance company with a brief version of the story. Basically, find out if they can cancel the charge due to incompetency (or whatever it should be called). Then, based on what kind of a pain it will be(if it's even possible)--go for it, or don't. Get a flavor, then decide. It may be worth the fight...maybe. If you did win, it would feel nice...but would it feel nicer to never have to speak to them? I dunno...

    Glad you posted, you bloghog.

    And lastly, you do already have a great detailed letter--there must be a way to use it--even if it's just to raise the clinic's awareness of their dorky doc.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/30/2006 06:50:00 AM  



  • Call someone at your state medical licensing board and ask them how to file a complaint. Once armed with this information, copy the doctor on this letter to your insurance, and request that he not bill you for his services in light of your displeasure. If he refuses, tell him you have spoken to the licensing board, and will be filing a complaint through them. He may change his tune.
    posted by Anonymous cantinflas at 3/30/2006 07:07:00 AM  



  • Unbeleiveable!

    Can you file an official complaint with the AMA or the NY Medical Board? That might be satisfying and there must be a greivance process for reporting incompetent doctors.

    Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 3/30/2006 07:11:00 AM  



  • Uggghhhhh, horrible Kage. What a STUPID experience. I say take a day, one whole day to focus on it - send the letter, make the calls - and then let it go. Otherwise it will just eat you up inside.

    And by the way, news stations LOVE this kind of thing - exposing inept doctors...just something to think about.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 3/30/2006 08:35:00 AM  



  • What a horrible experience. I think I would have left in the middle of the appointment. You know right about the time he was telling you about his daughter, "thank you very much for that information, now if you can't help me I'll be going." That is ridiculous.

    I don't have any experience with bad doctors, or medical complaints, but I like the idea of notifing the state medical board.

    I also think calling the local news about it would be very gratifying! Somtimes they have other resources that normal people don't know about, like getting a list of patients so that you can have a list of people with the same sort of grievences etc. And then once you do that you can be done with it, because they LOVE to bust bad doctors, and will put in all the time and effort so that you don't have too. (We've had two doctors lose their licsences in the past year because of patients and news teams in the seattle area).

    I really hope you can resolve this, but mostly I hope you can find a doctor that you are happy with and that will treat you with respect. If you have a doctor you liked before you can call them and sometimes they can give you a referal list of doctors that they will associate themselves with.
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 3/30/2006 08:56:00 AM  



  • Unfortunately, I have found that most doctors do not have good bedside manner. Imagine what it would be like to have a doctor like this but in a surgery, emergency room, type situation! My fiance had to get his appendix taken out and he got the worst service ever. He had to wait hours in excruciating pain. If he had waited longer, his appendix would have burst. To make things worst, when we tried to ask questions, the surgeon and doctor just made jokes, acted really bizarre and wouldn't explain anything. And they were opening him and taking stuff out! His sister died, about the same age he was at the time, of kidney failure so of course I was in a complete state of panic. The bill turned out to be over ten thousand dollars! Afterwards, I was convinced the doctor took out some other organ and sold it on the black market, but everything turned out fine. I am truly sorry you had to experience this situation, I know I've left many a doctors office crying because of similar feelings and situations. Your situation was pretty bad, but it could've been worse!
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 3/30/2006 09:37:00 AM  



  • Oh gosh... that's AWFUL. I've never had bad medical visits... a stupid doctor- but granted I was asking her stuff that she didnt' know much about... I'd send the letter, but pay the bill. That way they know what's up-- totally unprofessional.
    posted by Blogger FrogLegs at 3/30/2006 09:54:00 AM  



  • Oh, MY!....i am completely and utterly astounded and quite appauled at this whole thing
    I think you should make as many copies of that letter as possible and send it to as many people as possible. In my mind, the reason he is still practicing medicine is because other people either like his crazy bedside manner (which means they are crazy too) or dont have the patience or knowledge to fight it. I agree with Katie in that see how much energy you have to fight this thing (it will most likely be a really long battle) but it would be worth it, for you and many other ny-ers.
    I think now days there is SO much red tape in, well, everything, that people have been beat down to think that they have no say in what actually happens to them. (a result of which is a doc that can give out any scrip and inject needles into a patient w/o feeling a need for an explaination) This is the time to FIGHT Kage....especially when there is blood in the waiting room. This place is criminally run, and should be shut down. If you need re-inforcement action, give me a call.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 3/30/2006 04:27:00 PM  



  • And one more thing... like Cloe said, news stations do LOVE this stuff. If they hassle you with payment, just take it to 7-on-your-side or something. They can expose the office and help you not have to pay the bill. Doctors should be like any other service. Just cause they seem to know something about your insides, doesnt me we should let do whatever they want and treat us poorly.
    dont lay down and take it!
    im going to talk to my dad-in-law and see what he says about it. Maybe he knows how to get a doc out of practice. (he is one ya know...)
    posted by Blogger ksl at 3/30/2006 04:31:00 PM  



  • After being misdiagnosed for 6 months by a doctor who swore I just needed to eat more fiber, I ended up in the ER due to excrutiating stomach pain. Within the hour they had discovered that not only was my gall bladder beat all to hell, it likely hadn't even been functioning for some time. 6 months of pain, and it was solved by a competent doctor in 15 minutes. When I later called to file a complaint with the base clinic (military) the customer relations person actually asked "So what would you like me to do about it?". Um, at least ACT like you give a darn maybe?! I heard the exact same complaint from 3 other women and urged them to alsolodge their complaints.
    I think you should go for it. Not out of revenge or anger, but to make sure that no-one else has to go through such a lackluster experience unneccesarily. And, um, BLOOD on the floor?! That HAS to be some kind of health code violation to the n-th degree for sure!!
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 3/30/2006 09:25:00 PM  



  • Call OSHA!
    The dr's office is required BY LAW to be up to code on all health regulations. OSHA will shut down any medical practice not up to code. At least this way they will go check it out and the office will be warned.

    I can't believe you had to endure that. I vote that you fight it, too. As I read your experience my mouth was gaping wide and I just couldn't believe it. FIGHT IT!

    P.S. tamrobot --I had no idea how awful of an experience that was! I'm so mad now!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/31/2006 06:50:00 AM  



  • Kage, holy cow. I would agree with everyone else here. . . you should send a complaint letter to him, his office, anyone higher up than him, the AMA, and state board. If nothing else it will at least be on record, and I'm sure someone else along the line has sent a letter as well. As someone who works in the health industry this makes me so angry. The first concern is always for the patient and to resolve their main concern/complaint (what brought them in that day?) It sounds like he didn't even get close to that. I would also contact his/your insurance company and make a complaint to them, especially if he was encouraging you to lie about your symptoms to qualify for a specific treatment. Hello. . .fraud? He also is guilty of negligence and abandonment, two big no-no's in the medical world. He gave you shots/testing without your consent or telling you what was in them. That alone is huge grounds for suing, if you wanted to put yourself through it, but at least enough to have the charges dropped. I can't even numb up a persons tooth without getting their consent!!!!

    Can I just say that I laughed a little about him "mentioning" his book to you? I totally had the scene from "What about Bob?" in my head where he's scanning his bookshelf (full of his book) to find this fabulous ground-breaking new book. . .

    I'm sorry he was such Dr. NON-McDreamy. (LOVE that Patrick Dempsy.)
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 4/01/2006 10:44:00 AM  



  • So...DH says pay and move on. Chloe says spend one day on this thing. KSL and others say FIGHT. KSL even provided me with the numbers to call and such.

    The complaint forms give criteria on what you can complain about, bedside manner is not one of them.
    Physicians may be charged with misconduct for:

    > Being impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical or mental disability.
    > Abandoning or neglecting a patient in need of immediate care.
    > Promoting the sale of services, goods, appliances or drugs in a
    manner that exploits the patient.
    > Refusing to provide medical care due to race, color, creed or
    ethnic origin.
    > Guaranteeing a cure.
    > Performing professional services not authorized by the patient.
    > Willfully harassing, abusing or intimidating a patient.
    > Ordering excessive tests or treatments.
    > Failing to make patient records and X rays available to the patient
    or another physician on request.
    > Permitting unlicensed persons to perform activities which require a
    license.
    > Practicing the profession with a suspended or inactive license.
    > Revealing personally identifiable facts, data or information
    without consent of the patient, except as authorized or required by law.

    I would say "Promoting sale of services, goods etc." was about him pushing his book on me at least 3 times.
    > "Performing prof. services not authorized...." was when he stuck me in the arm 8 times without telling me what he was doing and never asking permission. I should have said no, but that is a different story.
    "Willfully harrassing, abusing..." I feel was him ordering me to sit down, and telling me I had a nice haircut that was flattering to my face,
    telling me to slow down everytime I opened my mouth to speak.
    "Ordering excessives tests or treatments" he told me to get a blood test without explanation. He gave me 3 perscriptions when in the past I have only needed 1, he told me about a treatment for asthma that would help my shrimp allergy, that I would be eligible if I just lied about having
    asthma.

    "Failing to make records..." I inquired of my forwarded records and he just scoffed at them being lost.

    My cousin consulted her brother-in-law who is a doctor and he read my letter and defended the doctor on EVERY single point and basically said there was no room for his license to be revoked.

    So now what?

    I called my insurance company (only one call) and they say that I cannot withold payment.

    I think I will pay and write the doctor a letter and cc my insurance company and New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct. And call it a day.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/02/2006 07:14:00 AM  



  • Oh, and did I mention the one time I did put my baby down and let her lean on the stepstool part of the exam table, that she found a piece of broken glass and put it in her mouth? Nice.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/02/2006 07:16:00 AM  



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