Published On: Thu, May 12th, 2011

Assembly-Line-Style Medical Practice…don’t put up with it…

By: Oleda Baker

I feel compelled to share my assembly line story so you won’t feel alone…bet you have experienced it too. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of sensitive doctors around who see you as a person and not a number. How sweet it is to visit such a doctor.

With assembly-line medical practice you wait “too long” in the waiting room, your name is finally called and you’re taken to another room to wait some more.

The doctor finally comes into the room but you quickly begin to feel he/she is in a hurry and feel pressure to “get it all out” before he has heard “enough”… he has hardly asked a question…(that would take up more of his/her time). You may be given a prescription and told to come back in a month.

Sometimes it takes a couple of visits before you realize this is the doctors’ permanent style – this is the way he practices.  So what do you do?  How do you take charge of this part of your life?


The following is my story.

I developed what I thought could have been sinus infection.  The first ENT doctor I went to asked a few questions, took notes and sent me around for various tests. On my second visit, I sensed aloofness on his part. On a third visit, he came into the examining room without my file or chart. I immediately said, “doctor don’t you need my chart?” (After all he must have hundreds of patients, how can he remember what my chart indicated?) He brushed the question aside and continued without my chart for reference or to write new notes on. I knew I would not return.

Next I visited another ENT doctor who had a room full of patients waiting. I was concerned, but then saw patients going in and quickly coming out. I thought perhaps they only need a prescription or something. It was quickly my turn and I was escorted to a room where the doctor arrived promptly. He asked me one question…and only one the entire short visit…”why are you here?” I explained in a hurry…he stuck something up my nose and said, “You look fine; I don’t see anything wrong.”  I argued the point and he said…”You’ll just have to live with it.”   I left, went home and wrote a full page letter to him that started with, “My appointment with you was very disappointing…. indeed it was insulting,” and ended with, “Dr. so-and-so, you should be ashamed!”

Still not willing to give up, I tried still a third Specialist. On the second visit he came in the room holding my chart with his left hand and, with the other hand he bent the outside of my nose in order to put a periscope or something in it and took hardly a split second to look. We exchanged a few words and, as he was heading for the door…I said “Doctor I’m not finished with you yet…I have two questions.” His head turned back toward me – then his whole body.  Bottom line is he gave me a new nasal prescription and said come back in a month. I told him my problem was deeper than a nose spray…he said, “I’m not very deep.”

During that month I looked for a new doctor…I asked my (caring) dentist (Dr. Ronald Hawk) whom he would consult if he had a sinus problem…he told me.

Not one to give up, I went to see his recommendation, Dr. Brian Mitchell. When I called his office the voice was more than pleasant and helpful…that’s always a good sign, since a doctor’s “caring personal style” is usually instilled in his staff. There was hardly a wait at all…and the difference between Dr. Mitchell’s interest in me and my problem was night and day compared to the others I had been to. He listened and I could see the concern and kindness in his eyes…I was tested with more tools that visit than I knew existed and he had many questions for me about my problem.  WOW…how nice.

Thank goodness I already have a caring Gynecologist, a Family Doctor as well as a caring dentist or two here in Boca. Now I can include a caring ENT. (names if needed on email request)

I hope this story helps confirm that you do not have to put up with Assembly-Line Doctors…there are many that will see you as a person and take the time to get to the bottom of your issue. Don’t be afraid to search for the right one.

Until next time,

Love, Oleda

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