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Arrogant doctors. Impossible to correct misunderstandings and blunders.

LurenDLurenD Member Posts: 1 Listener
I feel so defeated. I had written an email yesterday to a clinic where a GP that I've seen a few times work. I explained that there were some misunderstandings in the referral he had written for an imaging scan and that I would appreciate if it got corrected. I wrote further that I would pay for the time spent on it and that I was available to have a phone or video consultation about the issue.

I had originally booked an appointment with him before this to ask for the referral for imaging because of acute pancreatitis. I specified that my pancreatic enzymes had increased dramatically lately and that they now were very elevated (500% of the upper limit). I showed him the exact test results and said that imaging taken under an acute episode might be more sensitive to picking up exactly what is causing the pancreatitis and maybe also for changes to the pancreas associated with acute pancreatitis. I had previously told him about abdominal pain.

He didn't give me a copy of the referral, but sent it directly to the hospital where I were to go to get the images taken.

Something went wrong and the radiological department never recieved the referral, so I asked the clinic where the GP worked if I could get a copy.

I was completely shocked if I'm going to be honest about the referral not including the very abnormal test results on pancreatic amylase and lipase that I had just had, since the main reason for me asking for the images was that the values had increased dramatically, enough to suspect acute pancreatitis.

The referral was a copy of an old referral. Before that time my pancreatic enzymes were a little elevated (like 5-50% at most), but nothing like now. I had already been referred to imaging because of the slightly elevated values. So, the new referral, which was a copy of the old one, contained incorrect information about my blood test results in that it said that my enzymes were slightly elevated when they at that time in fact were very elevated.

This could have made a substantial difference with regards to waiting time.

The referral also contained an old mistake about an examination. He had written before that I had done an MRI of thorax, when I have never done that. I have done a cardiac MRI, but that's another imaging study. I have told him about this before, to which he angrily replied; 'well it's sort of the same area isn't it' in a tone and manner that made it clear that he thought I was out of line for commenting on it. This mistake has since been copied on to a lot of other text he has written.

I proceeded to contact the clinic immediately by phone and I told them, as politely as I could, that the referral was a copy of an old referral and that unfortunately because of that it contained outdated information about my blood test results, and that he didn't include that I had upper abdominal pain which I would like to see included (because of it being an imaging scan for pancreatic and biliary disorders). I think I also said that I completely understood that he did that in order to write it quickly because we were also talking about other things in the appointment. The receptionist said that she would pass the message on to my physician who would contact me back.

I never got a phone call from him. 

I therefore delivered the updated test results and a short description of my abdominal pain directly to the radiological department, trying my best to protect him as a physician by saying again that it was just because the doctor was trying to be quick and allow space to talk about other things that the referral was partly a copy of an old one.

Later my scan got cancelled, probably because they, based on the information in the referral, couldn't see that it was a pressing matter and all non-urgent appointments are being cancelled now due to coronavirus. They are giving an evaluation based on information in the referral though, so it's important that it's as thourough and correct as possible.

Because of that thought I sent that email to the clinic, the one I wrote about in the first paragraph here, and also called in to say that I had written an email to them the next day to hear if it was recieved as I had not gotten a confirmation email back, which they usually send.

In my email I wrote the same things as before, that the information about my blood test results in the referral was incorrect, that an information about a previous exam was incorrect and that I would like information about my upper abdominal and upper left quadrant abdominal pain to be included, as it seemed relevant for the type of exam to me. I didn't put it this directly. I also specified that my values had previously been the way he described and that the first part of the referral was a copy of an old one, so that it was really just because of that.

I asked in my letter that he included that I've had upper middle and upper left quadriant abdominal pain, because I had that at the same the values were very elevated, and because it's a very typical symptom of pancreatic diseases. It makes sense when one is sent for imaging to include symptoms that fit very well with diseases that can be diagnosed with that type of imaging.

He called me on the phone the day after I had called them to ask if the email was recieved.

He had an irritated tone on the phone. He said that it doesn't matter what is written in a referral because the radiologist aren't gastroenterologists and that the important thing is that the image is taken.

He further went on to try to put me down saying that I had 'so many opinions about what is to be written in notes and referrals' in a derogatory way and manner (the context and tone made it clear it was meant as criticism).

Then he said that the appointment was cancelled because of coronavirus and that he couldn't do anything about that. By this I think he was using a manipulative tecnique to change significantly the perspective of the situation. I had contacted him because of what I felt was a significant error in the referral about my blood test results and wanted it corrected because of that one is always being told (at least here in Norway) that what is written in the referral is extremely important to the radiologist for the interpretation of the images, but it's known that they also use the information there to evaluate how long the imaging study can safely be postponed.

I had not contacted him by saying 'oh no, I'm so mad that they postponed by exam, you have to do something about it'. No, I just wanted to get corrected what I had wanted to have corrected in the first place, adding plainly and rationally that if they use that information to evaluate if my test can be postponed it's also because of that extra important that the information there is correct and thourough. But I also thought it was important in the first place because of the evaluation and the waiting time. I contacted them about this before the there were taken any measures with regards to coronavirus.

He wrote in my chart that my examination was postponed and that it was solely due the coronasituation and completely out of his hands. This was of course an entirely misleading note.

I felt awful for the entire day after that phone call, and still do today.

This doctor has behaved like this the whole way about mistakes and misunderstandings. Instead of just correcting it and moving on, he can't admit to there having been any misunderstandings or errors in the notes he writes.

I don't know what to do now. I think I will ask formally for the referral to be corrected (write a letter) and not use that doctor again, but I've been postponing contacting them due to the bad experience with the phone call.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with arrogant doctors who aren't open to discussing misunderstandings or mistakes?
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Replies

  • Abdi_ScopeAbdi_Scope DPO, Scope Posts: 236 Pioneering

    Hello @LurenD -   its great to have you here in our Community. We hope you find some like-minded people here and some reassurance and advice that helps with your particular issue. Have a look around the different boards  

     I am sorry to hear about this experience and thank you for sharing with us on the community. It might be worth raising this issue with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who are based in the hospital you attend.  They are usually very helpful with matters like this. I hope that this might be of help to you.

  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 1,999 Disability Gamechanger
    I can fully see why this matter must be dealt with as soon as possible. Pancreatitis is a serious condition.

    PALS is the body which looks into patient concerns.

    I imagine it is different in Norway, but there will be a similar body.
    I hope the situation and your health improve.
    Let us know how it goes.

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,869 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry to hear that and hope you get it sorted out, I would add that I have a number of appointments over the next month inc. scans which have all been cancelled.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @LurenD, really sorry to hear everything you have gone through. Just wanted to check in and see how you were doing.
    Community Partner
    Scope

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