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Readers Respond: Ways to Deal With a Bad Doctor

Responses: 10


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?

Doctor says it is all in my head???

I have very visible swelling in my soft pallet in my mouth and a doctor had the audacity to tell me I should see a psychiatrist because it was bothering me so much??? No offer of help for the swollen pallet, no offer of someone that could help me.
—Guest Disgusted

Bad Doctor

1 Year ago I was sent to an ortho by my Dr to evaluate and treat hip pain that xrays say are arthritic. He said I didn't need surgery, but that I would in near future due to weight. He further stated I have bursitis and tendinitis in hip, and that I may end up needing emergency hip surgery, that I should lose weight because cutting through "all that fat" is dangerous. this week I was sent to new ortho Dr at my GPs insistence, he told me he doesn't believe in fibro, was sarcastic about my pain, said it is just tight muscles, no arthritis. His own radiologist stated arthritis, he said "I don't know why, you don't have arthritis." Ok, what do I do? He ordered therapy, fine, but I did 6 weeks of therapy last year and therapist let me go due to no progress. He said "I will instruct him as to which kind to give. " I asked him if the hip pain could be from the hard knots under my skin that makes my fat hurt? He said, "Maybe that is your fibromyalgia." (Which he doesn't believe in.)
—Guest Vic

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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