I have only seen this doctor once and she seemed to be ok. However, her staff leaves something to be desired. They are nice enough but just don't seem to know what they are doing frankly. It is too much to type but in short they got my test dates all screwed up and could not even figure out how to print new patient paperwork. I don't want to seem petty but I have to admit that it makes me wonder about the doctor and the whole situation. Am I being silly?
No, you're not being silly. I had a similar experience with an orthopedic surgeon.
I loved this guy. Answered questions, asked questions, straight forward, no BS... His staff however couldn't find their as*ses with a map! all of my pre surgery appointments were wrong. Dates for blood work were screwed up etc.
Rather than do nothing or find a new doc, I told him! Guess what? I wasn't the only one and he overhauled his staff :-)
I would mention it to the doc. The staff is definitely a reflection on the doc. If she doesn't do anything about it it says something about her.
That is what I am a little afraid of (offending the doc). I think I will just give them a fair chance. Maybe it was a bad day, new person, or short staffed. Who knows, but I have thought about it and think I shouldn't base my opinions on one visit. Time will tell. Thanks for the replies.
Part of me wants to let him know because it does reflect very poorly on him and it really affects the quality of my care...they've lost orders for blood work, failed to submit documents, took over 24 hours to return my call when the meds the dr put me on made me suicidal, and always treat me like I don't know what I'm talking about.
The other part of me is a wimp that doesn't want to strain the relationship, since I'm so much at his mercy anyway....
The broader office staff had much to do with my recent change of neurologists after about nine years. At the old place, it was difficult to get a live person on the phone or a returned phone call. To use the common cliché, I felt was “treated like a number.” When I was in the office for six hours of monitoring after my first dose of Gilenya, no one ever bothered to even say hi to me until the neurologist came to see me at the end. I ultimately went back to Avonex, and twice the office failed to submit prescription renewals in a timely manner, and on those occasions I had to go an extra 3-4 days between doses while waiting for shipments of medicine to arrive.
I got along fine with the neurologist, who had even given me an uneventful lumber puncture, but he was a little robotic, and he didn’t impress me enough to overcome the negatives of his staff. A friend had left him a few years earlier, and I am now with her neurologist.
All that said, Julie, you are probably right to not base your opinions on one visit. Also, your situation is different than mine as you’re in the midst of seeking a diagnosis, so I think you have more incentive to stick with the doctor rather than start over somewhere right now.
My experience with the staff at my various docs' offices is mixed. For the most part, really good, but there have been some mishaps. My original referral to a neuro, back in 2006, was mishandled. I waited a few months, and never followed up myself because my Lhermitte's had stopped and I figured I was fine. Then one day I get a call from that neuro's office to confirm my appt the next day. I had no idea about it and had to re-book till several weeks later as I had to travel to see this neuro, needed to book time off work, etc. Apparently my GPs staff were supposed to call me with the date. I let my GP know and she was receptive of the feedback and concerned about the error.
Two things I learned from that experience: first, to never ever assume that staff will do what they are supposed to do, and always follow up myself. If it's a referral to another doc, or MRI clinic or whatever, I give it a few days, then call the GP staff to confirm they did the referral, then I'll call whomever I'm being referred to and confirm they received it. And until I have an appt date, I will keep calling back, politely but firmly asking for my appt to be confirmed.
Second, whether staff seem good or otherwise, I always make friends with them. I know their names and address them by name whenever I call or come in, I'm always polite, even I'm frustrated with them, but will be directive with them if they seem to not know what they're supposed to be doing for me. At Christmas i always bring chocolates or flowers. When i was seeing my old GP on a very regular basis, I would always bring her assistant, who was an angel to me, a Starbucks. This approach has always worked for me, and I've found that even staff who aren't as competent will often go out of their way for me, to fit me in on short notice, to return my call outside of office hours, or whatever.
I've recently moved and was referred to the local MS clinic. I called to book my first appt, and said that I needed to be seen by end of April as that was the deadline for my annual Copaxone renewal (government covers the cost, have to reapply every year). The staff person I spoke to was quite rude, she laughed and and snottily that there was no way I could be seen before June. So we made an appt for June, and I called my old neuro, who is a 3 hour drive away, to get booked by the deadline. The next day the same staff person who was so snotty the day before, calls me to say they could see me in April as the neuro said I needed to do my Copaxone renewal. Rather than say I told you so, I just thanked her very much for getting me in so soon, even though it obviously wasn't her who made the effort to make it happen. I asked her name and then thanked her again, by name. She was much nicer than the previous day. I wrote her name down so that when I go in, I'll remember it.
You could argue that as patients, we shouldn't HAVE to make all this effort, they should just do their job like they're paid to do. But I just think, do wharever works and do what will best serve my interests. if that means biting my tongue when I'm justified in being annoyed, or bringing someone a coffee, then that's what I'll do.
I would consider changing docs if staff were a disaster and I couldn't figure out a way to turn things around, but I would give it a fair shot first. You may have seen them on a really bad day, so give them a chance and if necessary, bring it up diplomatically with the neuro to give them a chance to address the problem.
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