Wednesday, January 17, 2018


And yet again, I must write about a patient who has gone through needless agony and expense in an attempt to garner assistance from one of the "top" motility clinics in the country only to be denied the help she so desperately needs. In this particular case, she prepared exactly as instructed for a procedure for which she had waited for years and upon which she placed her final hopes. She researched, obtained the necessary approvals, spent all her savings, and traveled to this clinic multiple times in preparation for the procedure. But an important instruction was omitted from her preparation papers -- overlooked, missed by all involved -- and so she arrived at the clinic only to be told she could not undergo the procedure after all. A mistake -- most likely innocent, as that does happen whenever human beings are involved, but a devastating oversight for the patient.
And your response, Good Doctors? Not compassion or empathy. Not an offer to make things right free of charge. Not even an apology. No, you sent her packing, devoid of hope, out of options, and ready to give up on everything. Can she reschedule after making the changes she needs to make to undergo the procedure? Absolutely. But she cannot gather the necessary funds to return, and she is so emotionally damaged she does not know how to pick up the pieces.
Good Doctors, you simply MUST understand that patients spend months getting referrals, scraping together funds they cannot really afford to spare, and travel long distances to see you. Not only that, but they prepare emotionally. They are frightened, terrified that this procedure will not improve their condition, afraid to hope their symptoms might actually lessen, and yet hopeful against all odds that it will. They FULLY invest and view you as their salvation from the horrors of this cruel illness. Do you not see that the patient before you is begging for someone, anyone, to offer a kind word, a little compassion, a shred of decency?
Now, perhaps it is unfair to saddle you with the entire burden of "hopes and dreams," but it is absolutely appropriate to expect you to comprehend the physical, emotional, and financial burdens your patient bears. It is absolutely appropriate to expect you to behave like a decent, caring human being. And it is absolutely appropriate to expect that if you have made an error, you offer the patient before you a resolution which does not create additional burdens for her.
What you have offered instead, and what I see you offer time and time again, is apathy, a lackluster effort, callous and inhumane treatment, and a rejection of your oath, as I see it.
I say again: If you cannot do any better than this, CLOSE YOUR DOORS and at least spare my people the expense! And I can promise you, from now on, I am going to start advising people to DEMAND REFUNDS! Oh, I know this is radical and likely will not produce the immediate results I seek for these patients, but I can also promise you this...
If patients begin standing up and fighting this sort of atrocity and injustice, it WILL eventually turn the tables in our favor. And in the meantime, you will be forced to respond and deliver an adequate explanation as to why this sort of reparation cannot be made. Make no mistake: patients share information. Your reputation is not flawless and is plummeting quickly.

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