This is not a rant about customer service. Indeed, after a week of ranting I’ve made a decision: I’m firing one of my doctors.
You know how you get a gut feeling that gnaws at you, and even though you know you should follow it you decide to go the other way? When I traveled to Egypt in 1988 I was there for an entire month on my own; I didn’t know the language, didn’t know the customs. I was learning every day (it was awesome!) and I had to trust my gut when faced with something weird. It never failed me. I vowed then that I would always listen to my gut. But I forgot and I didn’t, usually slapping myself after the fact. Well, it’s time I listened to my gut again, cuz it ain’t happy.
The oncology cattle pen? Forget it. Here is a hospital that talks about its holistic approach to patient care, yet the entire office is built around the convenience of the office staff. Patients carry their chart from room to room and are sent on one errand after another before they even see the doctor–at the behest of largely rude staff. If you’re in a wheelchair or you have a walker you’re still sent on the errands (billing, vital signs–yeah, they don’t even come into the exam room to take vital signs, you have to go to them!). Mind you, patients would not have to be put through this were the workflow centered around their care. Physicians talk to their patients in the reception area about drugs and treatment (Hello? HIPAA anyone?). And when I told my oncologist that the service in the unit sucked she asked, “What is really going on?” I glared: “The customer service sucks.” (Do I strike you as a person who would avail herself of a passive-aggressive approach to voice a concern? I assure you: I am the same in person as I am on paper.) Lots of enthusiasm about more consultations that cost my insurance company and up my expense limit, but not one mention about psychological care, nutrition, stress management, or any desire to fix what is fundamentally wrong with their department. Wait, I misspoke. There’s a brochure.
Plus I can’t find anything about this oncologist. Look, I scour some of the best databases there are and I have found at least 100 articles written by my surgeon. In the process of checking him out I even found out stuff I don’t care about (when he was remarried and that sailing is a hobby). But the oncologist? Nuthin’. Hell, man, I’m published more.
As for the surgeon, I hate, hate HATE the supporting clerical staff. That being said, I really, really, REALLY like the surgeon. So I have to be honest and table that decision until I speak to someone else. Then I’ll know what to do. But I know without a doubt that oncology is history.
At this level, people, you sweat the small stuff. And if you don’t sweat the small stuff, then I don’t trust that you will sweat the big stuff. Since the original treatment plan called for 16 weeks of hormonal therapy anyway and that recommendation came from the professional that I trust, I’m taking the opportunity to pursue another option. I have said many times that I am surrounded by some of the leaders in breast care in the nation. I’m going to avail myself of the resource.
I’m tired of fighting for the bare minimum, man. I can’t take it anymore.