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Switching Cardiologists

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Anne-Marie

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
123
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
I had an echo July 17 and then a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist August 6. He didn't even know I'd had an echo and couldn't find the results. He said he'd have his staff book a follow-up appt. Yesterday, I call his office because I want to get back to work and I'd like to find out what the echo results were. The receptionist says "You already have an appointment to discuss the echo". Of course no one called me to tell me this so I asked when it was scheduled for. She said "November 12".

So, I had an echo July 17, they won't even see me until Novemeber 12, four months later! I can't believe this. I tried to explain that I needed the results sooner than that but she insisted that her "hands were tied". What is the point of discussing an echo I had 3 months post-op when I would then be 7 months post-op. They know I'm not getting any benefits while I'm off work, they certainly seem casual about my physical and financial health. Obviously they have too many patients to deal with.

The only thing I can think of doing is to call the research nurse who set up the echo and have her fax the results to my family doctor. I'll also call the vocational counselor at the heart institue and explain the situation to her. I'm hoping she can get me a new cardiologist as soon as humanly possible.

To me, this is ridiculous and makes no sense. What do you think?

P.S. I forgot to mention, this isn't the first time I've had problems with his office staff. They are generally very rude and act as though you're wasting their time. I dread going there or having to call.
 

Ross

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Joined
Dec 16, 2001
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On The Hot Seat
It's absolutely ridiculous. My 3 week wait was just as bad. Perhaps it's time for you to turn into a mega aggressive assertive and rip someone a new one. Maybe get the records yourself, you'll want a copy anyway then discuss with whomever you can. :(
 

Anne-Marie

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
123
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Ross, I just read your thread "echo results". It never occured to me to get the results for myself. I'm going to ask for them when I call the heart institute.

I think I will have to "fire" my card. I have enough other doctors to care for me (rehab dr, valve clinic dr, family dr) and they are terrific.

Congratulations on your echo results Ross. Great to hear you're doing well.
 

Ross

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Dec 16, 2001
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I've found in the past that what they tell you on the phone may not be what's actually on the report. You will be most informed with a copy for yourself. Call me a skeptic, but I've seen it too many times and won't believe anything unless I see it myself. For all I know, they read someone else's results to me just to shut me up.
 

bvdr

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Mar 13, 2003
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Pinehurst, NC
Hi Anne-Marie,

Do get your own report, if at all possible, and also find another cardiologist with whom you feel comfortable.

Yesterday I went to the office of my favorite cardiologist and asked if he could be my cardiologist of record following surgery.
I have known him for many years and up until now had not been in my insurance network. It is amazing how much better I feel now that that is arranged. I know in Canada it is different but I hope you can work something else out. The situation you describe is absolutely insane.

Ross, I'm like you in that I have to read it myself to really believe it. I don't want anyone sugar coating anything to make me feel better or over emphasizing something to sway me from one position to another. I want just the facts and figures first and then their interpretation.

Good luck, Anne-Marie
 

Anne-Marie

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
123
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Thank you BVDR!

I called the research nurse at the heart Inst. and she was also shocked that they would make me wait that long. She is faxing a copy of the report to my family doctor as I type :) I called his office (family doc) and told them what was coming and why and they couldn't believe that they would make me wait so long. The receptionist there told me she would call me back by the end of the day.

Oh, the research nurse did say she had the results right in front of her and they "looked fine, the valve is working well". Of course my card thinks nothing of giving me the worry of waiting another 3 months to hear that.

With our healthcare system I should be able to go to any cardiologist I choose, but to find a good one that is still taking new patients is the problem.

A-M
 
L

Luc

Guest
Well done Anne-Marie
So far I have found the Heart Institute to be very human and professional. The technician doing my last echo, actually told me my EF right there on the shot . The result were faxed to my GP the same day. But you are right finding a "good" cardio is difficult, there is such a big demand and the offer is much smaller.
Good luck and hopefully you could return to work at least part-time and your life could resume some normality. Keep me posted, fellow Ottawan!
 
G

Georgia

Guest
There's always a new twist

There's always a new twist

to how the docs can make something simple a mess.
Anne-Marie, good for you - taking control of the situation is so important. I wonder if sometimes the docs wonder what they've spawned by giving us new valves - most of us have been so run down and worn out by years of dicky valves that we're pretty passive prior to surgery (to say nothing of the terror the anticipation causes!); then we get fixed and get all perky and knowledgable and uppity and fire docs and change docs - and expect them to treat us well and with respect; I bet they can't figure us out.

Tough.

Hope you get released pretty soon and can get back to work. Have you had a good summer? Nice weather? Enjoy being home with the kids?
 
L

Les

Guest
Anne-Marie-
I read posts such as yours and I really get ticked. I had the same treatment from my previous card and I changed last year. I'm still not allowed to personally talk with them as they are like all cardiologists...part Ultra-Professional and part Ultra -Ass. At least I get the straight scoop from them, and that's really all I ask. We're never going to bond and chit-chat! I hope you are able to get someone who at least makes you feel comfortable and of course, provides the best possible care for you!
__________________
Les AVR '93 / '95
 
N

Nan

Guest
Hi AnneMarie
I am SO GLAD for you that you followed through and got that echo information!!! Good for you! And good for you for looking for another cardio. Glad you have other good and responsive health care providers.

And congrats that the echo looks good.
 

Anne-Marie

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
123
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Thanks Betty! I'm getting tougher.... my daughter says it's funny how the more physically fragile I get (she meant my multiple bruises) the tougher my spirit gets :D
Hi Luc :)

I think the Heart Institute has spoiled me. I've gotten used to be treated with respect and compassion, I've come to expect it from all my health care professionals;)

My GP's office did call back and they are mailing me the results. In fact, I didn't have to ask, my doctor knew I'd want a copy. I asked them to fax my most recent bloodwork (dreadfully iron deficient) and my echo report to Dr Pipe (he's the head of cardiac rehab and the valve clinic). I see him Sept. 29, so if my iron is coming along, I'll ask him to write my return to work slip.

I spoke with the vocational counselor as well. She congratulated me on being assertive :D

Georgia,

I have to wonder if it's just the doctor that's the problem. When I saw him August 6, he told me he wanted to see me in 6 weeks. It was the receptionist that insisted her hands were tied because she only booked the date according to when the doctor wanted to see me again. So either she's lying and making excuses or he changed his mind after her saw me.

Anyhow, as I said I've got the most incredible professionals taking care of me at the Heart Institute....they've given me an inkling as to what real professionals act like :)

If I like a doctor, I won't give him/her up. My Gp practices 20 minutes east of Ottawa. I've moved 30 minutes west of Ottawa. I absolutely refuse to find a new one even though it's an hour to go see him.

Enough of that stuff!
I've had a great summer, can't complain about not being able to work through the summer, can I? The kids are fabulous, my son and daughter are on the same U11 mixed soccer team. Their team won the tournament championship on sunday. Mom was screaming and yelling with gusto!

How's that new grandbaby of yours?
 

sylviayasgur

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Joined
Sep 1, 2001
Messages
2,308
Location
Westchester, NY
hi anne-marie!
first of all and foremost, i am so glad that the echo results were good and that your valve is working fine.
also, i'm glad that you advocated for yourself the way you did. i think in this medical world/community we often have to be assertive in order to get things done.
thirdly, your kids are adorable!
glad you're doing well and having a good summer.
-sylvia
 

Anne-Marie

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
123
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Barret,

I should have changed cardiologists last year when I was first diagnosed with aortic stenosis. I had a bad feeling about him. I'd been having dizzy spells prior to the diagnosis, but he told me that they couldn't be related to me stenosis because it wasn't severe enough. He sent me on my way and said he'd see me in a year (jan 2003). I ended up in the the hospital with CHF before that date. I had left ventricular dysfunction on top of the stenosis, so yes, they said, it was causing my dizzy spells. If he's too busy to be thorough when his patients report symptoms, I don't want him! Thanks for the kind words.

Nan,

I should get the results soon. I might have to post them to have them translated for me.....I'm an RN, but this stuff is greek to me! I am thinking of taking a continuing ed course in cardiac care nursing, just so I can understand my doctors!

Sylvia,

I'm still patting myself on the back for that. I usually let things like that go, but there was absolutely no way I was going to be passive enough to wait 4 months for an echo report! I should have asked the receptionist if she would wait 4 months if it had been her or a family member!

Thanks again everyone :)
 

Nancy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2001
Messages
9,896
Location
upstate New York
Hi Anne-Marie-

I'm so glad you were proactive in the quality of your care. It is so important. As you have already found out, if things do not get attention when it's needed, it just causes more serious problems.

Sometimes it can be life-threatening.

Take care and be well.
 
J

John S

Guest
I had to switch cardiologists

I had to switch cardiologists

Anne Marie,

I had a cardiologist who was a very nice guy, but he let me linger for a year trying to manage my arrythmias with beta blockers that drove my heart rate too low, then stopping the medication and having me go into a-fib. I finally switched to another guy who said, "You need a pacemaker---let's do it tomorrow!" My primary care doctor said, yes, the first cardiologist was probably "too thoughtful"--my new guy is a tiger as an advocate and doesn't get insulted if I question his orders. I feel like we're partners in my care.

Glad you are doing well.
 
K

Karlynn

Guest
One thing I've learned from 18 years of visiting doctors, first with a nasty Mitral Valve Prolapse and associated arrhythmia, to valve replacement and beyond, is that you have to think like a consumer. If your car wasn't working, you wouldn't wait 4 months to get it fixed. Nor would you take the mechanics word for it if they told you it was fine, when it just kept stalling out.

My Mom taught me to believe that Drs. are gods. Through trial and error I've found they are people and am no longer too inhibited to be an aggressive - yet polite - advocate for my own health care.

In 18 years I've had wonderful doctors and horrible doctors. When I had my replacement, I asked my surgeon if he couldn't send the tiny bit that was left of my mitral valve when he replaced it to the doctor that, 6 years before, told me it was all in my head and wanted to put me on Valium.

I will not go to a doctor who won't talk to me on the phone if I ask them to call. I will patiently wait for them to call when they aren't busy, but if they just have a "no phone" policy - forget them. (But if they're good, hang on to them until you find a doctor that's good that will take your calls!) I refuse to play the telephone game with their nurses or office staff if I have an important question. The relaying of messages has too many possibility for errors.

We need to be our own best advocates and find doctors that work in partnership with us.

I'll climb down off my soap box now.

Karlynn
 
T

tiggerangelgirl

Guest
iam knew to this forum but i also have had run ins with the cardiologists and thier "thrones"ihave supplemental insurance and as soon as they see that they stick you to the bottem of the list .thank God for my wonderful cardio. here on the beach because ive seen him get on phones while im in the office and have it out with the other Drs,in the begining when i got in my accident and had injury to my heart all the other drs were saying that it was all in my head and that i was having panic attacks making my heat rate to jump up to 250 on any given day and only being brought down by cardioversion,it was a hoot what these dr were trying to say they just didnt want to spend thier precious time with govt insurance thats why it took from my injury to my heart augst of "2000" to july of last year to finally put my pacemaker in7/03 and thanks to duke they just couldnt belive that those doctors at the other hospitial let me go through three years of weekly cardioversin,er trips and four ablations,thats why it is important to check out your cardiologist first just dont go with whoever they place you with and be educated ,ive learned that by studying up on my condition and what can be done helps skip over many tests and procedures that should never really be done sp props to you ,always be aggressive its your health and you have every right to know every result and every note the doctor has made.GOD BLESS tiggerangel soon to recieve a tricupsid replace and pericardectomy,pacemaker incerted july of 2003
 

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