Has Medicine Sunk this low?

I awoke in the early hours of the morning today with a deep and productive cough.  The sputum was not a pretty shade of yellowish-green.

What it told me is that I probably needed:

  • a throat culture
  • a doctor to listen to my lungs to distinguish URI from deep lung infection
  • Antibiotics

After constantly hearing that as a physician, I should not be treating myself, I was prepared to seek out my trusty doctor for evaluation and treatment.

What I was NOT prepared for was the events that followed. (fortunately I am a healthy person who incidentally NEVER bothers or demands time of my physicians)

I went to the office of my gynecologist who I also use as my primary care doctor.  Despite only one patient in the waiting room, I was informed by the “gate keeper” that the doctor was too busy to see me as an emergency visit.  I explained that it was fine with me and that I would be perfectly happy just getting the culture tube.  When I had gotten a sputum sample, I would drop it off and she could send it off to the lab that she uses.  I was then informed that they would not do such a thing.

The nurse came out and I explained that I was there for assessment of my lungs and possible antibiotics.  She sneered and informed me that this is a gynecology office and that I went to the wrong specialty.

Now at this point I must tell you that I practiced medicine as an OB/GYN doctor for 30 years.  People were always more than just walking genitalia and I always did complete examinations.  If someone had bronchitis or URI, I would take the appropriate tests and then either treated or referred.  Since the nurse was getting no where with me, the doctor came out and informed me that I would have to see my primary doctor.  I let her know that SHE was my primary doctor and she reiterated that it would have to be an internist that I saw.  I was shocked that she would not even let me have a culture.

Though disgruntled, I called the two internists that she felt I could see.  The first one stated that the office can squeeze me in January 22. (it is mid December now).  The second office told me that I could be seen in February.  Both said that if I felt my medical condition was serious enough to be seen, I should go to the emergency room.

Has medicine sunk this low that doctors don’t have any interest in a patient as a whole being?  My doctor washed her hands of the whole problem.  Is it medicine today or just this doctor’s office?

I would REALLY like to hear your opinion on this one!

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