Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why I don't like my OB/GYN's office...

I have commented a lot on the doctor's office, but I haven't explained fully why I am not pleased with them. This is a long post.

This all started when I began a new job last July. I opted for the cheaper HMO insurance instead of the PPO because my husband is a student (he graduates in 3 weeks). With the HMO, he does not have to work as much which allows him to study more, get a better job, and should allow me to stay home with our future children.

We were OK with the HMO because we figured we would not start trying to conceive until the end of this school year and it would take a few months for me to get pregnant. I had to change all my doctors, but I wasn't worried since my female stuff was up to date and I was so-so on my general practitioner and my hematologist. The old ones were OK, but I wasn't too attached. The plan all along was to change to the PPO July 1 when it didn't affect our budget as much.

My new hematologist and general practitioner are awesome! The staff is so professional and their offices are convenient. Rewind to October. I was on an antibiotic which I was once told interferes with birth control. I forgot until a week before my period was due and my symptoms were weird. I am extremely regular and my pms is always the same so I became certain I was pregnant. I wasn't, but it led to the discussion between M and I to go ahead and quit birth control. We weren't going to try to get pregnant, but we weren't going to try not to. I was so happy with my other doctors I assumed that if I got pregnant before July, the OB would be great too.

I was wrong. I am high risk because of the chance of my ITP acting up during pregnancy. I went in for the first OB visit, thinking it was a regular appointment and found out it was just labs. When I scheduled it I was told I wasn't assigned to a doctor, I would just see whoever was available. The labs took about 2 hours. I was given an appointment with the doctor for about 3 weeks later and given a phone number to call if I had problems and the office was closed. Again I was not given the name of a doctor, I would just see whoever was available that day.

A week later, I had problems during office hours. I called the office and the girl was rude and tells me to call triage. I could barely speak a whole sentence but I called triage anyway. Triage told me to go to the emergency room. ER sent me to triage. The rest of the visit was OK. We saw the heartbeat. The only problem was the 2 hour wait for my rhoGAM shot.

The day before my 1st real appointment I miscarried. Triage told my husband nothing when he called, the girl even hung up on him accidentally. They advised us to go to our appointment the next morning.

My appointment was at 8 so we weren't able to call ahead to let them know what happened. When we arrived I told the girl at the desk. We were ushered to the office manager's office where she very kindly talked to us. We assumed from here on out things would go OK. We did get to wait in a less busy waiting room, but there were still other people there. Over the next 3 hours we saw 2 different doctors and 5 different nurses and didn't learn anything except that the most likely cause was chromosomal. Each time we encountered a new person, we had to explain everything. Some nurses didn't even know I had a miscarriage. This was surprising since my eyes were swollen to about the size of golf balls from crying. One doctor told me it looked like I had passed all the placental tissue, the other told me I needed a D&C. I waited 45 minutes after my vaginal ultrasound for the technician to come back and do a regular ultrasound. Later we found out my chart was lost which is part of why everything was chaotic.

The next week I found out we would not have pathology conducted on our baby. I was also told since my hcg levels were not going down quickly enough I might have to have a D&C after all. A week after that I was at the office for 1.5 hours to have my beta-hcg blood test. I was bawling by the time they took me back. My chart was lost again. The registration clerk gave me attitude. I was given a hard time about not having an appointment even though the doctor and 2 different nurses told me I didn't need one. When I called for my labs, I was given the ones from the previous week which meant I was freaking out my hcg weren't going down and how could I possibly go through a D&C?

The last time I went for labs the registration clerk was very rude to me. I tried to call ahead to see how busy the office was. I was informed it was busy and they had no idea if tomorrow would be better. When I showed up, she chastised me for not having an appointment. I had confirmed during the previous visit that I didn't need one. I started crying and was taken back immediately.

I am normally a patient person. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually when I get bad service, I assume it is because someone is having a bad day. Once I lost my baby, I became emotionally unstable. It was very difficult to see pregnant women much less to sit in a room with 10 of them. It was extremely difficult to see a woman hold up her ultrasound pictures for her family to see. The problems at the doctors office probably wouldn't have been a big deal to me if I hadn't miscarried. It would have been an inconvenience, but I could have dealt with it.

I wish I could have gone in before or after their regular appointment times. Maybe they could have allowed me to wait in a patient room. Maybe they could have tried to get me in and out as quickly as possible. They could have started with making sure the doctors and nurses communicated with each other.

Today I go in pregnant again. My husband has a lab he can't miss and my friends all work during the day. My mom and sisters live across the country, so I am going to go alone. I am hoping that the experience this time around will be better. I am hoping that seeing other pregnant women won't bother me. I hope when they interview me, I don't cry when they ask the questions about which pregnancy this is and how many living children I have. I hope the nurses read my file and are able to skip those questions.

On the bright side, in 2 months I am able to change back to my old OB.


Trying to convince my uterus to co-operate said...

Finding the right doctor makes all the difference. I had an awful experience, maybe not nearly as awful as yours, but still bad when I had my miscarriage last year. I refused to see him again. I have finally found am OB, referred to me by my RE, that is wonderful. I wish you all the best, from finding a great doc to having a wonderful pregnancy!!!

Elizabeth said...

Good grief, that's crazy! How awful for you to have to deal with such administrative and organizational incompetence at such a tough time. I thought my old ob/gyn in VA was bad, but this - wow.