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.

Blow me.

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.

Fuck ’em.

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17 Responses to FIRED!

  1. Knot Telling says:

    Well said. Well done. You rock, Scorchy!

  2. Caroline says:

    I have fired doctors before. It is a big decision but worth it. I live no where near you or I would happily recommend where I go. Ask people you know if they like where they are treated and find a new place to be happily treated. Cancer sucks but doctors are not gods. And patients should be treated with respect. Go for it!

    I would have loved to be in Egypt for a month…

  3. dglassme says:

    My work blocks me from going to your next post (Colorful Language), damn it! What do you have on that page…must be bad words.

    • Scorchy says:

      Yes, colorful language is colorful. Basically–give your friends with cancer a free pass in the language department. We earned the right to say anything, anytime.

  4. Scott MacKenzie says:

    And you have a brain. Imagine someone on the low end of the bell-shaped curve. It’s appalling. You must get so mad that you want to scream. For me, when I am on the edge of breaking glass – that’s when I laugh. “One wave short of a shipwreck.” Yep, that’s me. “And my dear, how about you?”

  5. Marie says:

    And a rip roaring letter on top would be a good idea. Maybe they can add it to the brochure.

  6. I really think now is the time to be firing people and ripping people a new asshole left and right! Few things could be more serious than what you’re dealing with, and there’s no reason for people not to be mindful of that. This is one of few times where you’re entitled to have people bending over backwards for you, and you should demand it!

    • Scorchy says:

      Damn right, Sass! the place I’m looking at gives patients massages, provides nutrition and other counseling, offers a calm environment. No pedicures, though.

      • Hmm.. Sounds nice, but I’d hold out for that pedicure.

      • Carol says:

        Hop on a train to Boston! I get all that (no pedis) and an occasional hand massage during chemo! I’m sure you’ll find it in NY.You should feel comfort, kindness, understanding and confidence in your doctors as soon as you walk into the building…..nothing less. Fire away!

  7. jlg says:

    Good decision.

  8. Vital signs? Hell you walked through the door didn’t you? Don’t understand the American health care system but it does seem to be about making as much money as possible and sod the effect this may have on future insurance and treatment! Surely they must know we are a ‘captive audience’ so why do unnecessary things? They should be able to figure out that the likelihood is that we will be coming back? No??

    • Scorchy says:

      It is a profit driven system, which is why so many are fighting against the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) with an eye toward “protecting” insurance companies (and, in turn, getting funding kick backs to stay in political office). But even in this environment, not all care is bad and that is what upsets me most. People who can afford it get good to excellent care, if you can’t afford it you get no to mediocre care. Grrrr. Get’s my pantyhose in a bunch,

  9. Abby says:

    You go, girl! You are absolutely right on all accounts. If this is the shitty hand you’ve been dealt, then make the best of it and get the most appropriate, friendly and RESPECTFUL care you can receive.

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