Thursday, February 11, 2010


This quest to improve my health is being severely hampered by, of all people, my doctor.

I went through my sleep study and discovered that I do have sleep apnea. I'm now using a CPAP device and it does seem to be helping. I'm having trouble with my mask, though. I will be meeting with a respiratory therapist to get that taken care of.

More frustrating is my thyroid situation. My TSH level is slightly elevated. After much pushing, my doctor agreed to put me on a low dose of synthroid and ordered a thyroid anit-body test. As she was ordering the test, she said "this will show if you really do have any problems with your thyroid"; I took it to mean "I don't think anything is wrong with you but I'll humor you". When the antibody test came back positive, a nurse called and ordered a thyroid ultrasound. When that exam showed some abnormalities, I was told to stop the synthroid and a nuclear thyroid scan was ordered. That was yesterday. By the end of the day, I had received a call from my doctor's office stating that the nuclear scan is fine and I should go back and have my TSH tested before I start synthroid.

When I reminded the nurse that I'd had my TSH done recently and that's, in fact, what started the rest of the tests she sputtered and said "Well, that's what the doctor wants you to do." When I asked why, she had no answer.

Earlier this week I attempted to get my allergy medicine refilled. It was denied and I was told that my doctor would need to fill out a prior authorization and submit it to my insurance company. On Monday, I called my doctor's office to see if she had done that. The nurse indicated that she had filled out the paperwork and that my insurance would only authorize 1/2 my usual dose.

Frustrated, I called my insurance company to find out what the deal was. I was told that there was no record of my doctor having submitted an authorization. None. Nada.

So, I then called BACK to the doctor's office asking why my doctor would say she'd done something that she obviously hadn't. Why was she lying? I demanded to speak with my doctor personally.

I have been telling her for years that I don't feel well, that I gained 60 lbs. in six months, there's a significant family history of hypothyroidism, blah, blah, blah. I have been so frustrated that I just stopped going to see her for 2 years and used Immediate Care when I had pneumonia and a respiratory infection. She certainly had no qualms ordering a mammogram even though I just had one two years ago and there's no family history of breast cancer EVER.

I lost it. Totally lost it. I reminded this doctor of our recent office visit wherein I told her that I gained the 60 lbs. in 6 months while on a medication called Depakote. Her response? "That is why I told my OB/GYN that I didn't want the Depo shot." She confused Depakote (depression medication) with the Depo-Provara (birth control) shot.

When I questioned her about the prior-authorization that she DIDN'T actually submit even though she said she did? She said, "Well, in the past, when I have submitted a prior authorization, the medication still gets denied and then I have to call the Medical Director who declined the claim."

I see. Doing what you're supposed to do to advocate for patients is more work? Following through with a prescription that YOU wrote is too much work? WHAT THE FUCK??

Needless to say, I have an appointment with a new doctor to discuss the results of the tests that I've already had and to establish another course of action. But I'll tell you, I'm pretty fucking frustrated. I also warned my potential new doctor that my relationship with my previous doctor did not end on a high note and I'm sure the H&P notes will reflect that last encounter.

Yes, I should've switched doctors years ago when I felt I wasn't being listened to. Yes, I should not wait so long to go to the doctor. No, I should not have yelled at my doctor and told her I'd file a grievance. If this doctor isn't interested in advocating for me in a minor situation like this, what the hell is she willing to do for a patient with more serious issues?

Dr. Malini Chavali is probably not the best choice for patients looking for an up front, honest, and aggressive doctor.


Ramble On said...

They tend to forget that they are our employee. Glad you fired her!

Billy Dennis said...