Today is Day 12 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge). The prompt today is:
Time to get real. Write a letter to the best or worst healthcare professional you’ve seen. Don’t hold back.
This letter is to the first doctor I saw for vertigo.
When I first saw you I was filled with fear and longing to understand what was happening to me. I had just been seen at the emergency room after 12 hours of vertigo, accompanied with almost constant vomiting. It was there that I first heard the mention of Meniere’s Disease. I was told that I should see an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) to help determine the cause of my vertigo. So I came to see you.
You talked to me and gave me a hearing test and told me that I had Meniere’s Disease. You put me on a low salt diet and sent me home. I trusted you. Your staff was amazing. Your nurse had the best bedside manner, she made up for your aloofness. You were a busy doctor, I understood.
The vertigo continued to come back, over and over again. I kept coming back to see you. You continued to give me hearing tests. Yes they showed that my hearing fluctuated and I was losing some of the low frequencies, common in Meniere’s Disease, but this is the only test you ran on me. You said that putting tubes in the affected ear should help. Again, I trusted you. So I got a tube in my ear. It seemed to work.
After a couple of months the vertigo came back. The tube had come out. You said I should have a tube put in that stays much longer, but it requires general anesthesia to have it done. I had the tube put in my ear. I had this done a number of times. I’d have vertigo, it would be found that the tube came out, I’d get another tube.
After seven years of the merry-go-round of getting tubes the illness spread to the other ear. So once again I went under to get tubes put in both ears. This time the vertigo didn’t stop at all. I was miserable. I went back to see you. Something had to be done. You told me that you needed to send me to a different doctor because, you didn’t “know much about Meniere’s”. How could you treat someone for SEVEN YEARS and not know much about the disease? How could you even begin to diagnose someone if you know nothing about the disease?
When I found a different doctor, no I didn’t go to the one you recommended, I found my own. I found out that tubes are not a treatment for Meniere’s. It hasn’t been a treatment for many years. You really didn’t have any idea what you were doing did you?
When I started to get the information together to file for disability I requested my files from you and found out that you never put a diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease in my files, you put in unknown Vestibular Illness. How can you tell a patient she has a disease when you didn’t even put it in her files? Is this even legal?
I’m sure my story is all too familiar among your patients, unfortunately many may not even know that you are treating them wrong. I regret that I cannot stop you from telling anyone else that they have Meniere’s Disease. You should not treat people with vertigo. There are a number of things that could have been wrong with me that were not Meniere’s Disease, you just happened to be right. You did not order any vestibular testing or an MRI. You did not rule out any other vestibular disorders or a brain tumor. When presented with a patient who has vertigo you should send them to a doctor who knows more about it immediately. What you did to me is nothing short of neglect.
How can you play with people’s lives? Is having a big business practice more important than the patient?
I need to thank you for teaching me that I know more about my health than any doctor. I knew something wasn’t right when I was seeing you, I just didn’t know what. I had a feeling there should have been more testing, but I trusted you. I now know to never blindly trust a doctor. Before you, I would never have thought to do a lot of research into my disease. I would never have thought of firing my doctor. But I fired you.
I left your office and didn’t go back. Your office wrote me an email reminding me I hadn’t be in for a while and wanting me back. I wrote them back explaining my frustration with my treatment. I never received a reply. This is just more evidence that you think very little of your patients.
Please cease treating those who come to you with vertigo. Immediately send those patients to a doctor who knows more about vestibular issues than you do.
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5 thoughts on “#HAWMC Day 12 – Dear Doc”
What an a$$. You should have stated his full name and where he practices to help other people avoid him.
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His name is Timothy Heffron, he’s is Raleigh, NC. .. if anyone is curious.
I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office with my father and hearing him tell us that mum’s lung cancer was now terminal, she had a tumour in her throat, and they would sedate her until she choked to death. I remember looking at the bastard and wanting to rip his head off. My father felt the same way too. In any event, he took my mother home, out of the hands of the uncaring hospital “professionals” and nursed her at home, with the help of hospice carers, until she died. I wrote a poem about the oncologist which I came across years later and laughed my head off it was so vicious and vitriolic. Helped me feel a lot better actually.
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I’m so sorry. Some doctors should not practice medicine. Makes me so mad.
My mother also died from Kung cancer. I was her carer. No hospice, because her doctor said that caused patients to give up. Thanks doc.
Finding a good doctor is like finding a good partner. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of luck. In other words, the next time you see a penny lying on the ground, stop to pick it up. It just might bring you luck. 🙂
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