It’s Not Just About Money

cropped-doctor-counting-money-copy.jpgThis is what I was told about 2 weeks ago after pitching a fit a my orthopedic surgeons office when his office desk lady told me that he told her that he would not see me unless I paid the full balance owed to his office from prior visits. The only problem with this was, my insurance covers 75% and 25% after deductible has been met, which it would have at that time already been met, and also they were billing the procedure wrong, and also they were billing me for doctors that I have never even met before! Not only that, but he knew that I had been to his office 2 other times the past week and because his office screwed up they had to reschedule my doctors appointment and that meant that I was out of my medication, which in my case meant even more intense pain! So therefor, I was not the most friendliest person in the world that day I will admit. However, in my defense, I believe that doctors often lose sight of what they actually go into the medical field for to begin with. At least I would hope that most of them would have started off wanting to help their patients and not just caring about the money, but that is not what I have found to be the situation these days and times.

My fist surgery was June 14th of 2012, it was a 3 layer anterior cervical fusion. This was the biggest mistake of my whole entire life. I knew better, and I still allowed a doctor to persuade me to do this just because he had been through more school years than I had been through. Still, just in my few months that I was in nursing school, this was one of the first things that was taught to me; “never have surgery done on your back, because if you do, if the pain does come back, it will come back 10 times fold.” It is sad that I can still remember where I was, and in what class, and which campus, but instead of listening, back then to the one person that I now know for a fact knew what he was talking about, I decided  to go and listen to a doctor without any other reasoning, other than him being a doctor. I just believed that he could not have possibly just have wanted to do a surgery just to get the money from it, I mean what kind of cold heartless human person would do something like that, certainly not a doctor, and certainly not my own doctor. Doctors actually care about what is best for their patients and their health, so I was sure that if there was something else that should have been done, or could have been done, he would have definitely done them. I was proven wrong in all cases. This doctor told me nothing would help me but surgery. When asked if I could go to a chiropractor, physical therapy, or even massage therapy he told me that these things would just worsen my condition, and not help in any type of way. He refused to see anything but surgery as an outcome. However after the surgery was done and I continued to complain of pain, he also refused to believe that there was any wrong doing on his part, instead he just assumed that I was addicted to the pain medication and said that he could not do anything else for me.

Next I then found another doctor whom would also tell me everything that I’d want to hear before agreeing to have the surgery, and yet after the surgery everything would be different. My 2nd surgery was supposed to be done in order to correct the 3 fusions that did not take, in order for me to be able to get off the pain medication. This doctor understood how important this was to me, and he said there was going to be a very good chance that I would be able to never have to take any more pain medication again. It was a 10 hour surgery, first he had to cut the 3 level fusions out that were previously placed and then then place 3 new fusions within. After this was done, he then flipped me over to where my back was exposed and then proceeded with a posterior surgery, by placing 2 metal rods down my spine. He really seemed as though he empathized with me and my situation, well that was until after the surgery was done.  Yet again, I was still in pain, and this doctor not only did he not want to to take any responsibility for my pain, but he also went as far as to speak to someone that was taken of  my FERPA, due to previous threats made by them. Needless to say, the doctor violated my HIPPA rights by speaking to this person, and this person managed to make the doctor believe that they “were concerned for my safety because they loved me, and did not want me to hurt myself,” but the real reason was that we had split up and he did not want me to be able to manage without him, so therefor, he made sure that he ruined plenty of doctors for me to where I would need him to be able to find them for me, or I would have to remain in constant pain. But that is a whole other story.

Then we move back to FL, which is where it all began, this is where the first surgery actually happened, and this is where the downward spiral of my my life began to take place. I regret ever having this first surgery done, I feel as though it totally ruined what was a great life, an independent life, my life. Either way, what’s done, is done. We made our move back over a year ago, and due to my chronic back pain I knew that I needed to go to my primary care physician to get a referral for orthopedic surgeon; and because I had this doctors office the first time I lived in Florida, I already knew that they would more than likely be referring me to the office right across the hall, which was the office that they referred me to the first time and I did decide to go through with my surgery, however I did not know that the doctor would not want to go through with patient care after making his pockets fatter. But such is life I guess. Of course, due to the convenience, the office referral was made for the orthopedic surgeon, right across the hall. I wonder if they really would have made the referral for the office across the hall if they knew everything that had happened with me and my my situation? I’m positively sure they would not have, especially considering I had to find everything in me me to not sue for neglect and malpractice. After hearing that this was the the referral they had made for me, it took me a couple of days to actually think it through to decide how I wanted to handle this, and if I would actually be able to handle to this considering this man completely screwed up my life. I decided to go call and make an appointment, and to my surprise, I found out that he no longer worked at this facility. So actually, it was really no surprise at all, what was a surprise to me, was that he was still practicing medicine, just at a different location.

My first visit with the “new” doctor seemed to go over well, I told him everything that had happened in my past, and I told him that every since the surgeries that I’ve been in worse pain than even before I had the surgeries, and I prayed and begged for him to take everything out! As I was crying to him, I could  He earned my respect right then by saying to me that he would not just cut me open if he could not guarantee that it would not relieve  most of my pain. At that point, I felt like I could totally trust this man, I mean it seemed legit, he was not after my money from the surgery, if so, he would have just agreed to just do the surgery and been done with it, but he did not. So maybe this was the honest doctor that I had needed to meet this whole time that I had been searching for all these years. Nonetheless, I had been fooled before by thinking that doctors actually cared about my well- being, just to be made a fool of in the end, so I knew not to put too much thought into it. Although, I did find out that I was not the only case of my very first surgeon that this doctor was now seeing as a patient to try and correct the previous surgeons mistakes, so apparently there were a lot of other people who should have sued that doctor also for malpractice. Like I said, I’m surprised he’s still practicing medicine, and to top that, he is supposed to be one of those doctors that they use in court rooms when they need an expert doctor for reference.  After hearing my cries for help, and sending me to get a new MRI done, my doctor told me at my next visit that he was going to do everything possible to get me out of the pain that I was in even if that did mean surgery, but he wanted to make sure that he could actually rid some of the pain before going in. Within a few weeks, I received a phone call explaining that he had figured out exactly how to do the the surgery to alleviate some of my pain, and he told me that the date would be in March, of 2016. Needless to say, I still have not had the surgery. He even went as far as to give me the surgical cleanser that I would was my body with the night before surgery, but no such luck. The bad part is I was actually hoping to reclaim my life again! I gained trust for this doctor, and yet again, I was let down. Each month I went to his stupid doctors appointments, and listened to yet another doctor jerk me around. As March 2016 approached, he gave some full of bologna line about how he didn’t have credentials to do anything but out patient surgery, and my surgery of course would have to be more intensive and would take more time so of course I knew that it was going to be inpatient, my question is why was he not smart enough to know this? As I finally watched March pass me by, I was given even more excuses, like my insurance was not wanting to pay for certain things. What they did not know, however was my husband had all the surgery codes and had already made sure that our insurance would be able to cover the procedures. Next, they decided that they then needed me to pay $6,000.00 up front, which at this point was impossible due to the move to Florida and all the pain medications and doctors visits that we’ve had to pay for out of pocket! Finally , I had enough, enough of all the unanswered calls, from when I would call with questions and they would tell me that someone would be getting back in touch with me, enough of all the empty promises, and enough of getting my hopes up just to be let down! But most of all enough of being jerked around by yet another doctor to make his pockets fatter!!!

During all of this jerking around that I was being put through, I made another appointment with this doctor due to being in unbearable pain. The lady at the front desk told me that the doctor said that he would not see me without me paying my balance in full! Which was crazy because I had already met my deductible, and I have 2 types of insurance the primary which covers 75% regardless, and then the supplemental which after the deductible is met covers the other 25%! Not to mention, they were attempting to make me pay for the doctor visit that I had not even went into yet! Which I’m pretty sure is not legal. So because I was in such pain, and I am known to be a bit of a brat when feeling this way, I decided to tell them that it was a shame that they are all only about money, and what happened to doctors that actually cared about their patients! Because I made such a scene, I suppose the doctor did not want me to scare off the rest of his patients by allowing his dirty little secret to get out, so he whisked me and my family away into our own room to be seen.Then he decided to feed me more lies, telling me that he can not stand to see me this way and what hurts him even more is that he knows that my kids have to see me in so much pain and that truly hurts him as a person. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Hell, he even told me that to prove to me that he was not like the other doctors, who had lied to me in the past and were all about money, that he was going to do the surgery even if he had to do it fro free. At this point, I did not know what to think, maybe this is what needed to happen for me to finally get someone to do what they were supposed to do. Maybe, just maybe I will actually be able to play with my kids again like I used to before all this. I don’t know what it was, but I just felt like I was being lied to, probably just to get me out of his office. But either way, I listened and still had a bit of hope. A week later, I received a letter from his office manager telling me that he no longer thought that he could help me, and I needed to now find a new doctor for this matter.

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