A friend recently related a story that was of great concern as we all seek to use medical services appropriately and to be less dependent upon emergency rooms. The friend, a doctor (MD), had seen patients all day and felt vaguely dizzy at the end of the work day. He had his blood pressure checked and found it to be extremely high in the context of a personal history of low blood pressure. With family history of strokes and heart problems and with his primary care physician away on vacation, he went to an urgent care center.
He was screened by a health care professional who, even knowing that my friend was a doctor, failed to ask any questions about my friend’s personal or family history. When presented with the history upon my friend’s insistence, and even with the high numbers observed, the professional arrogantly admonished my friend saying, “This is not a reason to come to an urgent care center! You are getting old and you should just lose weight!” He then left my friend sitting in a room. My friend, (I repeat, a doctor who, by the way, is within 7 pounds of his ideal weight) shocked by the statement and the professional’s lack of “bedside manner”, went to the door and sought the attention of another professional.
The new health care professional, having read the screening notes and having done a thorough interview and physical evaluation, prescribed medication and referred my friend to a specialist for a neurological evaluation based upon additional symptoms noted. He asked that my friend closely monitor specific symptoms.
So, what should you do when confronted with this type of situation? First, despite the, at least rude and at worst medically negligent interface, try to remain calm. And…wherever possible, seek another opinion. Do not second guess yourself, after all, if you know your family history (and this is your best armor in such a setting), you know when a situation may be an urgent one.
Unfortunately, I have had similar experiences and know of many others who have also.
Have you ever had a similar experience?
What have you done about it?
Do you know your family’s health history?
Until next time… ..
~Dr. Pam Straker~