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Readers Respond: Ways to Deal With a Bad Doctor

Responses: 14


Updated August 17, 2009

You may have encountered a bad doctor at some point since you were diagnosed with arthritis. What is a bad doctor to you? One who doesn't listen, gives poor advice, is hard to reach -- or, one who made a big mistake? The specifics will vary as we share our stories but the conclusions may be quite similar.

Years ago, a rheumatologist made a prediction. He said I'd need a hip replacement in 5 years. I thought he was a bad doctor to be making such predictions. Turned out he was spot-on.

What have you done with a bad doctor -- or what do you think you should do? Do you try to work things out -- or do you fire him?

Share Your Experience

Stolen Blood

Family doctor wanted to check cholesterol. I said ok. He knows I have Lupus and have a Rheumatologist that normally does all my blood work every 3-6 months as he should, he knows what to look for. The family doctor asked to do a full work up and I said NO. I was to see my Lupus Dr. next month, he was eager and said well I can fax him the results. Again I told him NO you don't even know what all he will be testing me for, so thanks, but no, just please check the cholesterol. I came in for only a flu shot and they didn't have any yet. That should have been a clue. Anyway, two days later I get a letter in the mail that said cholesterol is fine but platelet count was down. I was mad. I don't know if insurance will pay for my blood work now for the correct doctor. He had no business taking my blood. I told him not to. He is now not my doctor anymore.
—Guest Tammy

My not available doctor

I am running after my doctor who is always not there. He keeps asking for lab tests but he is not available to see them and I had to repeat them to keep him updated one after another... of course with lots of cost involvement and he remained not there even to check them.
—Guest Maha

Whistle Blown

After my wife was discharged from the hospital with a huge hole was put into her esophagus, and was not told and was also told she could drink fluids she obviously became very ill. Her life almost lost due to the complications of the perforation but to the many surgeries it took to repair the damages. Reporting this to multiple authorities was the first lesson in learning that physicians and their 'good ole boy' network can hide just about anything. My approach was to be chastised by the system we all thought would protect us. I began a campaign of simply posting actual facts on evaluation sites, to which seem to be blossoming over the net. My wife wouldn't sue because she worked in the same hospital where he did and was harassed and intimidated not to. I was arrested for alleged violations of P.O. order which is still in the courts. He is also suing me for libel, pulled strings to have me fired x2. He has never testified, and obviously can not. (Doctors name withheld)
—Guest PearyB

My recommendation for patience

I've read everyone's Dr experience and could add my story; it is just a bad as everyone's. A few years ago I decided to get Drs notes for any and all appointments. It has been an important and worthwhile decision. A couple of times a Dr will say that I had a problem in my left knee and it was my right knee...things like that. You also know what they really think of you. As we get older we forget about office visits, what was tried to help with a problem, medicines recommended and abandoned because they didn't work. Think about asking for the notes. You will have to sign a release form and stop in a pick them up or ask that they mail them....you won't be sorry. Good luck all.
—Guest Phomp

Doctors are losing our respect

My daughter has lupus. I'm besides myself not knowing how to get her a home health aide, pain meds she needs just to shower and a ride to appts and a home. Wherever she calls for help, its "you're on your own lady" . She's in so much pain it distorts her face and body. It's killing me me to feel so helpless because I too am disabled. The social workers want her to jump through hoops she can't. I'm afraid she and others in her situation will give up. I don't blame you. It's disgusting and a great loss of their quality of life.
—Guest softee33

Bad docs can kill you

I have seen my share of bad docs in life. There are the ones who won't or don't listen. The ones who are arrogant. The ones who must have dossed their way through med school as they can't even do a simple urine dipstick. The ones who say I don't know what to do. The ones who forget what they learned in med school. The irritable ones. The I am God ones. The your symptoms don't matter ones. The I don't care ones. And to end it all the complete perverts who want to examine you down below when you know your fine down there. There are all kinds out there unfortunately. They can kill, make you very ill, prolong your suffering and misery and make you feel like a small child looking up at a giant.
—Guest Sarah

You're too young for arthritis

I went to a rheumatologist after my orthopedic surgeon confirmed moderate arthritis in my knees, ankles, and feet (also neck, back, hands, wrists). When I went to the rheumatologist he told me I was too young to have arthritis as bad as I said I had it. I responded, "Yep, that's why my orthopedic doctor was so perplexed, he said he would expect it this bad in someone that was 68 not 38." Rheumatologist didn't believe me and on my return visit went over the results of my blood tests. He said I was overweight & had fibromyalgia & just needed exercise. I asked him if he ever read the ortho's report, he said no. I made him read it, then asked him what it said. His response "That you have moderate arthritis, atypical for your age & that your left knee is worse than your right knee". I said "Exactly what I told you!! Thanks for wasting my time" and I left. Since then I have had fingers deform and had to have reconstructive surgery on my ankle due to arthritis. He just didn't want to listen.
—Guest Rosa Dela

"God's Plan?"

I went to my doctor to ask for hormones following menopause. He asked me why. After I told him I wanted to continue to have an intimate life with my husband, he told me he felt it was morally wrong to "interfere with God's plan". I switched to another doctor who ignored me when I said I kept sweating, and that for me that was definitely an indicator of something wrong b/c I DON'T SWEAT. I was treated with annoyance. It was finally discovered that I had a tumor on my liver (it seems no one paid attention to the liver function tests done during my annual physical which would have alerted them that something was wrong). When I went in for the surgery to have the tumor removed, my husband got a phone call to inform him the hospital was going to keep me b/c they learned I have a mental illness, and they were going to "evaluate" me. He had to threaten them to make them back off. I finally found an ancient dr. who has practiced for centuries who practices real medicine and listens.
—Guest Anniem

Thyroid issues

My experience was with doctor after doctor when I was hypothyroid. CLEARLY, most physicians do not GET the thyroid problems. They all blew me off telling me I was fine. I was so stiff I forced one DR to give me a Lyme disease test after he said my thyroid was fine. He laughed at me. A few years later after my thyroid was under control, I determined they all thought I was after pain killers.
—Guest Brenda

"We treat pain but not your type...?"

Got in car accident 1 month after having gallbladder removed. Took the doctors 4 months to discover it was gallbladder/ulcers/adhesions from previous appendix removal. Lost 15lbs in those 4 months and only able to eat 1 time a day if lucky. To fight pain and help me eat doctors prescribed pain meds. Despite signing papers and requesting files to be sent to other doctors all docs failed to communicate so after my auto accident I was told to see a Spine and Pain specialist for the post accident pain. This was only 4 days post accident where I was rear ended by someone doing 45mph and I was at a dead stop. PCP told me to treat pain in mean time before ability to see pain doctor to use emergency room or doc in the box. I opted for doc in the box and after seeing all the legit Rx's that did not overlap or set off alarms to my pain doctor I was lied to and told that the Rx monitor program for the state flagged me. I called them and was informed doctor lied. After all my efforts/honesty.
—Guest Liar Liar Doctor is Fired

Arrogant Little Creature

I was referred to an orthopedist for a knee injection for recently diagnosed OA. When I went to the appt, he said he only did shoulders. He would do an MRI for my shoulder and refer me out within five days for a knee injection. I found out from staff that he lied cuz he does knees all the time. Plus he "forgot" to refer out for a knee injection and I was made to suffer increasing agony for almost a month before I finally got help. At my followup appt to the shoulder MRI, I wanted to clear up any misunderstanding I may have had from the first visit. He yelled at me that he is very busy; he did surgery until 8pm the night before, if I wanted to complain go someplace else because he had nothing to do with it and he didn't have time to babysit another doctor's patient! I was so upset I wanted to plant my knuckles in his eye sockets. I am in the process of making a formal complaint for lying and abuse. He shouldn't be allowed to deal with the public in any way.
—Guest K8tieCat

Bad doctors

I've had a rheumatologist tell me there is nothing to be done for osteoarthritis. Take four ibuprofen and deal with it. I've had a neurologist put me on meds and then tell me she didn't know what was wrong with me. I've had another doctor tell me there is no such thing as fibromyalgia. Another said I was a waste of insurance company's money! The list goes on. I hate the allopathic medical community.
—Guest Fed Up


I finally found a rheumatologist who accepted Medicare. After taking xrays and blood, he told me I had OA, which was the most common form of arthritis there is. After asking him what I should do for it, what medicines, how to self-manage, all he could say was that it was the most common form of arthritis. No help whatsoever! Even my husband couldn't believe he was hearing correctly.
—Guest CJS

My "bad doctor" experiences

Since we've traveled to different cities in various career moves for Peter, I've had my fair share of terrible doctors! I've been told, by various doctors, that 1) I don't have arthritis, 2) I have Lupus, 3) I had one doctor who refused to fill out medical information which would have allowed me to adopt children, 4) And another "quack" had me hop on one foot, squat down on my knees, bend at my waist, and various other poses in order to "qualify me" for being a mother! I would consider each of these (and I have had other experiences that I won't share here) to be bad doctors for different reasons. They don't call it a "practice" for nothing.
—Guest Brenda Gregory Yuen

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Ways to Deal With a Bad Doctor

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