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Old 11-05-2008, 10:07 PM   #1
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Frustrated with Pulmonology Appointment

So I have had a lot of asthma problems this past year. After a 4 month wait, I finally had an appointment with a highly recommended Pulmonologist last April. I really liked him. He listened and thoroughly discussed my asthma plan. He had me do some follow-up testing that indicated other health problems aggrevating my asthma. He took the time to explain things to me and to talk through treatment options. He even called me on a Sunday to talk about the results from one of the tests.

At that appointment in April, I scheduled a follow-up appointment that took place today. I even had an appointment card with his name written in confirming my appointment. Imagine my surprise when I showed up to my appointment and was told that it was with his Nurse Practitioner, who I have never met before. I expected to see the doctor. I paid a large specialist co-pay to see the specialist, not his nurse. She was nice, but she couldn't answer all of my questions. I now have to wait to see if she calls me back after talking to him to get my answers. I had some pretty major surgery recently to try to help improve my asthma. This was on his advice, with support from my GI doc. I couldn't even talk to him about it. The nurse just nodded her head and took a page of notes.

It is frustrating that it is so hard to see an actual doctor anymore. I spend the same money seeing their helpers that I would to see the specialists, yet they don't have all the same knowledge. I have the same issue with my GI doc as well. It seems that after seeing him for three years, he no longer sees patients and only does the procedures. I see him only after the procedures when I am coming out from anesthesia. I had another primary care appt last week and couldn't get in to see the doc then either and had to settle for a PA. My last ENT appt ended up being with a PA as well.

I'm really trying to get my health issues under control. It has been really draining on me physically, mentally and economically. I know the doctors helpers (PA/ nurses) are qualified, but is it too much to want to actually see the qualified doctor? Is it too much to question why I have to pay the same amount to see the specialist as I do to see their PA or nurse practitioner? Is it wrong of me to question the actual quality of care I am receiving when I don't see the specialists?

I need to go back for further Pulmonary Function Testing in January. When I went to make the appointment today, the doctor isn't available the entire month. I made the appointment with his nurse practitioner to discuss the results, but I am questioning what I should do at this point. The wait to see any other new, qualified specialists is at least 4 months out and I would have to start over again.

Thanks for listening to my frustrations. Any advice would be appreciated.

Mountain Reader

Last edited by MountainReader; 11-05-2008 at 10:11 PM.

 
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:44 AM   #2
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Re: Frustrated with Pulmonology Appointment

I feel your pain. I'm sorry you're going through this, especially regarding something so vital as breathing. I was recently referred to a rheumatologist by my doctor and when their clinic called to set up the appointment, the woman on the phone said "I can get you in much faster with a PA, is that okay?" I had no idea what to say, so I said "well, if my doctor told you to rush me in I guess" and the lady said alright and got me in the very next day with this PA. How good can she be if I got in the next day? And I'm only 35, and this girl looked younger than me. When I went to give her results from my lung doctor which showed that whatever I have going on has breathing involvement, she put up her hand, refusing the test result printout, saying (and I quote) "we won't even know how to read those".

She ordered 18 xrays and 9 vials of blood, and told me to come back in 6 weeks... to see HER again. When do I see the doctor?? I'm starting to think I don't. So how was going to see her going to be my route to quicker diagnosis if this way I *never* see the doctor??

Ugh. I'm so disappointed as well. I hope that you are able to get the medical attention you deserve, and I hope this thread will serve to help at least ONE person to answer the question "is a PA ok?" differently than how I answered.

 
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