Saturday, May 30, 2009

You, YES YOU, are an Idiot

Thank you for coming in on this lovely Friday afternoon, ma'am. I guess you called around 1:30 today, and since we didn't have a 4:00, which is my last slot of the day, my secretary Mary put you in. Let me just open another Diet Coke, and we'll get started.

So you've had headaches for the past 20 years? And never seen a doctor before for them? What made you come in today, of all days, for this? Oh, you did a Google search.

Thank you for this printout of all the horrible types of brain tumors and aneurysms that can cause headaches and kill people. I appreciate it, because as a board certified neurologist with over 10 years of experience I really have no idea what sorts of things can cause headaches.

If you'd read it you might have noticed that the average survival from these awful things is 1-2 years, not 20. But I'm sure you're busy and didn't have time to actually read the articles you were printing up. After all, you had your hands full calling every neurologist on your insurance plan trying to find one who still had openings on this lovely Friday afternoon.

Of course we can get an MRI. I understand it would make you feel better, and allows me to cover my own legal butt, too.

Oh, you're claustrophobic? No, an MRI is really the best test we have right now for evaluating this sort of thing. I'm sorry that Reader's Digest somehow gave you the impression that I had a gadget in my office I could wave over you to make sure everything is okay, but I don't. Dr. McCoy borrowed my tricorder a while back and hasn't returned it yet. But we can do the MRI with Valium to relax you, if such a thing is possible.

I'll have my staff schedule the test for next week. No, I'm sorry. It's now 4:00 on a lovely Friday afternoon. Your insurance company requires an MRI request to be approved by a panel of dart-throwing chimpanzees before agreeing to pay for one. All of their offices are in another time zone, and have closed by now on this lovely Friday afternoon.

You really feel you need it immediately? Then the only thing I could suggest would be to go to an ER, and tell them you need an MRI right now. I'm sure, that after hearing your story and realizing how urgent this is, as opposed to a guy with chest pain, the ER doc will be happy to waste (uh, I mean spend) time and money on your case. Just don't tell him that I'm your doctor.

Oh, I had no idea your ER co-pay was so high. $50 does seem a bit extravagant for a lady with diamond rings on every finger and Porsche keys hanging out of your LV purse. I certainly can understand your refusal to go there.

Then it will have to be next week. My staff will call your insurance first thing Monday morning to get this authorized and scheduled.

Your insurance coverage runs out at the end of this month? My calender shows that today, May 29, is a Friday (which is a lovely afternoon by the way) and the last workday of the month. So Monday will be June, and we won't be able to get the MRI from your current insurance then, since it will have run out.

What insurance will you have on Monday? I'm sorry, I'm not contracted with that plan. I can send your internist a letter asking him to order the MRI. Oh, he's not contracted with it either. I see.

Yes ma'am, I agree it was entirely unreasonable of Mary to not have foreseen that you'd be changing to an insurance I don't take next week. You didn't mention that to her when you called for this appointment a few hours ago, but she really should have known, anyway. I'll discuss her suboptimal psychic powers with her at her next job evaluation in 2018.

I'm sorry you have to go already. Well, try to take it easy over the weekend, and I'll send my records to a neurologist on your next insurance, so they can help you out.

Going to a hockey game tonight sounds like fun, and it's great that you have such good seats. That looks like a nice air horn in your purse. I'm sure that sort of quiet, relaxed environment will help improve your headaches in the meantime. Thank you for sharing this lovely Friday afternoon with me.

18 comments:

peedee said...

Do you still have hair? or have you pulled it all out because of idiots like that lady.

HugeMD said...

Wow. She is stupid on so many levels.

I have a headache after reading this. Can you order me an MRI?

l33t MD* said...

Really making me feel the pain there, doc. Good job. :)

Anonymous said...

At least she didn't ask you as she was leaving, "since you didn't actually do anything for me, are you really going to charge me for this visit?"

Grumpy, M.D. said...

peedee: Very few. My hairs have been jumping off like lemmings for years.

The Bus Driver said...

HA its a wonder Neurology isnt on the same plane as Psychiatry... because so many people are experiencing "head" problems.

You sure do meet some crazy people in your practice.

Anonymous said...

Do you really get people that insane!! and if you do you have my my Deepest Sympathy.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Ann- Yes.

My nurse often says that every day you think you've seen the height of insanity. And the next day you realize you weren't even close.

Anonymous said...

Hey Doc!

Don't be sending no fool pt's like that to MY ER - you know we won't do the MRI either (heck we don't even have one!) and we WILL call you back!
Thanks!
-whitecap nurse

Anonymous said...

Dr. Grumpy- you are awesome. You probably knew that already though! =)

DreamingTree said...

Here's what you need for the next time you get a whack job like this: Head on over to Burger King & buy one of your Grumpy kids an artery clogging kid's meal. Request that they get the Bones (McCoy) toy with it. Press button: "I'm a doctor, not a physicist!" It would be better if he said, "psychic" instead of "physicist."

Davey Jones said...

in England, the hospital directors would have had to seriously and transparently deal with her inevitable written complaint.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

DreamingTree- I need the one that says "I'm a neurologist, not a psychic, marital counselor, financial advisor, lawyer, or specialist in any other branch of medicine."

Fiz said...

Don't all doctors need that? I think it's because there are so few people that others can talk to - they need a confessional, not a doctor!

Frantic Pharmacist said...

LOL !! I'm sure you must love it when patients bring internet print-outs to assist with your diagnosis! This kind of stuff makes us all SO crazy. I enjoy dealing with patients who come to urgent care on a hellish Saturday with Complaint: "diarrhea x 3 weeks,"
or, "diaper rash." Then they want to know how long the prescription is gonna take...........

Dragonfly said...

Love it. And believe it.

melaine said...

then you have people like me, whose insurance only lets you have 5 office visits per year that are covered by a co-pay and if you have to be seen more than that, then it is applied to your deductible. Then you have a deductible that is absolutely sky high. I had a co-worker hobble around on a broken foot for 2 days trying to determine whether it is worthy of using one of her 5 appts. Kind of reminds you of Elaine on Seinfeld as to whether her date or dates are sponge worthy.

Sunny said...

The ER nurse in me says: at least that pt bothered going to a neurologist instead of making monthly/weekly visits to the ER to get loaded up on dilaudid with the full knowledge that an emergent MRI is pretty much a myth.

The IR nurse in me says: please don't tell patients that they can have conscious sedation or god forbid general anesthesia for an MRI

 
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