Breaking Up Mailbag

For a rebroadcast, you sure had a lot of comments about our show this week on how to fire your doctor as well as when and when not to do so.  Hit the jump below to read your comments. 

Marilyn Barlow writes:  "Thank-you for airing the way doctors respond to evaluations of their performance by patients.  It must take some nerve to recognize publicly that the 'godlike syndrome' interferes with the service patients receive.  Your program allowed a couple of doctors with condescending attitudes towards their patients to reveal themselves and their attitudes.  Thank-you for being open to feedback on your performance as a doctor providing service.  Thank-you for recognizing the increasing role nurse practitioners must play in providing health care decisions and service.  As a nurse, advocating for long term care residents and home care clients, I have many times observed doctor's attitudes interfering with the client receiving optimal care.  This optimal care would have been easily achieved with a change of attitude from one of "ultimate healer" to merely a servant in facilitating healing or comfort at end of life.  Doctor's are only one part of the care that results in healing or a peaceful passing from this life.  I must speak in defense of some of the wonderful "servant" doctors that I have had the pleasure of working with, with emphasis on "working with".  Unfortunately, these doctors who serve with dedication to their patients are terribly over-worked.  The present system really serves the, "cookie cutter", doctors, who can process many more patients in a very short time.  I now have a bit of distance from my nursing career.  I remember fondly the work with caring engaged doctors and am trying to let go of negative experiences. I appreciated this particular program and the many other topics that you have dealt with.  I would be more comfortable if my name was not published."

Roberta Bustard of Scarborough sent this:  "I'll admit I took the passive way out a couple of years ago. After having outstanding doctors in both Ottawa and Toronto for many years my family doc retired and transferred her patients to a new doctor in her office. This woman was the coldest person I have ever met.  After the first visit I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt as everyone can have a bad day.  The second time, when I had my physical, she was just the same.  What concerned me as much as the icy atmosphere in the room was that she asked didn't ask me any questions about myself, including anything about the medication I was on.  It was the sloppiest physical ever.  As a new patient I would have expected a bit of conversation about me and my health. So, I took the coward's way out and was fortunate to find a new doctor who is extremely professional and thorough.  I take one of your guest's points about the nice guy not necessarily being the best doctor however you do have a more personal relationship with your family doc than with your lawyer.  Feeling like being in a room with you is the last place on earth the doctor wants to be does not inspire confidence in their attention to you and your health issues. Love the show."

Carolyn Black of Waterloo writes:  "Another great listen today!  I feel that I have an amazing family physician and couldn't imagine firing him.  I feel lucky just to have a doctor, yet alone a great one, whose proactive approach saved my husband's life and has treated my entire family in a caring and compassionate way.  One thing that you briefly touched on was the lack of doctors and not feeling like a patient had a choice. In my community (Waterloo, Ontario), there continues to be a doctor shortage and so even if I didn't like my doctor I think I would be feeling that "something is better than nothing" and not doing anything about it.  As my doctor nears retirement I worry about needing to find a new GP and establish a relationship with him/her.  If the doctor shortage continues, I may just be lucky to get a doctor, but if I do have a choice, I don't know how I'd "pick  one".  Many thanks for thought provoking radio."

Mike Bryan of Stittsville sent this:  "I am in process of firing my family doctor because I have lost confidence in her - two cases within a year of important specialist referral reports lost or never received or misfiled by the for profit outfit that she chose to provide her with office and nursing services.  The doc concerned has major issues of insufficient time spent reading lab and other reports and poor organizational and paper handling skills.  This is all compounded by the sloppy, patient unfriendly front office services provided to her by her chosen office supplier."

Bill Bowden of Gibsons BC sent us this:  "I was new in Vancouver and got a doctor. I have some post traumatic issues.  I had asked him several times for a referral, where he said he was too busy to talk about it and next time etc.  The last time I saw him I felt fairly desperate about some dreams where I was being publicly violent.  His reaction was that I was threatening him and I should leave immediately and not come back.  No help with ongoing prescriptions or anything. A terrible feeling and made me more frightened about seeking help or speaking up."

Marc Lavoie of Ottawa sent this email:  "I caught the last half of the October 24 show, the portion where you were interviewing a doctor and discussing salary and email.  I have a serious problem with the answers he provided.  On the salary question, he said that yes, doctors are well paid but they have to work long hours, often as many as eighty hours in a week once you factor in Blackberry time and work done at home.  Is this guy for real?  I have a degree in computer science and worked at a major company for almost twenty-eight years before getting laid-off due to the bankruptcy.  I can assure you that eighty hours a week was not unusual for a senior manager (like me), and the need for being not only reachable 24/7, but ready to jump into a situation if needed also.  I can also assure you that my salary never matched that of a "junior" medical doctor with his own practice.  I could also not deduct any of my expenses as many doctors so my take home pay, net of real expenses was much lower than a doctor's in spite of the fact that I managed a $100 million+ budget annually. He also mentioned the the had tried email but it was too complicated because "someone had to download all those emails".  Really?  I get over seventy-five emails a day, and was getting more when I was working there.  Finally, he mentioned that some patients get upset when doctors run late.  What this guy seems to fail to understand is that many of us have to take unpaid time off to go see a doctor, so if he/she is running late, it is costing us money but he/she isn't losing any.  This is just a poor excuse for bad time management. Love the show."

Marion McMahon of Cambridge sent this:  "I couldn't believe the couple who 'fired' their doctor because she said to go straight to Emerg!  Too many Canadians want better than the best, yesterday, for free!  No one is perfect! I have had to wait in the waiting room for my appointment because one before me has gone longer than expected.  I just expect that sometime if I have a need, he'll go a little overtime for me, too. I know people who have had to wait weeks for an appointment for even a serious problem!  I must be very fortunate because I have NEVER had to wait for more than a day even for something not-so-serious. When I moved to a nearby city I made sure I kept my first doctor - there's too much GOOD to lose. continue the great shows.  Those in my family who are nurses and doctors listen too."

Shirley Baird of Maple Ridge writes:  "Love your show....and whoever choses the 'appropriate' songs deserves an oscar as they are wonderful.  Obviously he/she/they have a broad knowledge of songs from all eras to be able to hit on just the perfect one.  Today's were great and I just love the humour.  Lots of great information and a few laughs thrown in.  We could use more shows like this.  Thanks for my chuckle today."

Donna Newberry sent this love note:  "DEAREST DR. GOLDMAN, OMG!!!!!!...just heard your show on Dr./ patient relationship.....firstly, YOUR choice of musical entertainment was BRILLIANT !...being 65 yrs. old, know those songs by heart ! and boy oh boy! how they fit the bill.  As I was chuckling to myself while listening to your guests Dr. Friedman and Melissa Travis, I have to say that ALL of the comments shared were so fitting to the topic.  My family and I have had the same family doctor for over twenty-five years.  Blessed are WE ALL......and Melissa's third comment was preciously spoken.  Doctors are just like the rest of us, with the same life experiences and day to day stresses...good or bad.  When I heard my Doctor say that some of his patients were unhappy that he had gone on a short vacation I hit the roof.....I had just mentioned how happy I was that he had taken a few days off, as he clearly needed it.  From that day, I truly did realize that,  although we are in the year 2011, it appears we are stuck in a very selfish place, we the patients.  How dare we even think this way.  And, so, I wish that for all of us, that we do indeed, have our "off days" with our doctors to keep us in the loop of normalization each day.  This special relationship between Doctor and Patient, it shall always be a topic worth discussing.  It is what it is and I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!  Walking away from situations is not always the best choice.  Options are always available.  We are all responsible for OUR individual behaviours and what we bring to the situation.  Every time !   Soooooooooo again and again, I thank YOU Dr. Goldman for your very very informative radio show.  It is like a "private lesson" in life, each broadcast.     Be well Dr. Goldman and I cannot wait to hear the upcoming topic regarding hospital parking lots.  Thank YOU for allowing us all to voice our concerns.        Regards always........Donna Newberry :)"

Not everyone loved the show!

Chris O'Grady of Nanaimo writes:  "I always enjoy your shows, but I found your "breaking up show" very one-sided.  It sounded a little too much like a group of doctors patting themselves on the back for doing such a great job.  I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, an immune disease, after presenting clear symptoms of the disease to doctors for over 30 years.  The doctor who finally correctly diagnosed my issue did so using a surprising technique: he asked questions, ran tests, and looked at the test results before he started treatment. This should not have been such an unusual experience, but it was.  Most doctors, in my experience, ask very few questions, and don't appear to really listen to the answers.  They seem to generally make up their mind on the treatment before applying any diagnostic techniques at all."

Phil K. of Prince George writes:  "I think that firing your doctor is more difficult than what seems presented in this story.  In the city I live, there is a doctor shortage and about twenty-five percent of the population is without a family doctor.  I would like to fire mine but have a concern:  which is worse, not very well trusting the doctor you have now or not having one?"

Thanks again for your wonderful comments.

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