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  • Last 3 weeks make me want to strangle someone!

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    Old 08-07-2003, 01:28 AM   #1
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    Post Last 3 weeks make me want to strangle someone!

    Hi everyone.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It is going to sound like a lot of venting, but I really am writing this more to ask you all if you have any legal advice for me. I am going to try to sum it up as quick as possible.

    Basically, it took me 8 months in order to find a doctor who would order an MRI and help determine what was wrong with my back. For those previous 8 months, my primary care doc accused me of being "drug seeking" because the x-ray showed nothing abnormal. The MRI showed severe DDD, arthritis in the shoulder and neck, and buldging disks in 4,5 and 6. I was referred to pain management, and after a few bad appointments with doctors who told me "you are too young to actually be in such pain as your describing," and "I once pulled a groin, and I know how you feel...just wait it out and stretch and take motrin." I finally found a doctor that I thought would help me. She listened for 30 minutes, and promised to help me find a solution. She recommended facet joint injections, and seemed very sure this would help my pain.

    The injections were painful, and even though they claimed I was sedated, I felt every minute of them. I went home very sore and unable to turn my head and had bad headaches. I waited a few days because I heard sometimes the side effects lasted a few days and were pretty nasty. They never went away though.

    Starting a week after the injections, I called my PM doctor every single day for a week. I told the receptionist about the severe headaches, the limited range of motion in my neck, and the increased pain. They told me she'd call me back, but she never did. Finally, on Friday, they got very irritated with my calls, and told me, "if you are in such pain, go to ER." Well, since I've been down that road (the doc at the ER tells you to call you pain doc the next day, and they don't mess with strong opiates, and my copay is $100) I decided that wouldn't be my course of action. I kept calling the following week. Every day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...I was in tears, and told them I was at a 9 pain-level with all my meds. I couldn't go to work and was a nervous wreck.They said she would call me back.

    The only advice I was given was to call my primary care doc, who told me to call my physical medicine doc, who was on vacation. The receptionist at physical medicine finished the circle and told me to call pain management (as if I hadn't already tried that first!) I told them I was at a 9 pain level, and still, no phone call. This was 10 full days of leaving these messages with no response.

    I decided to call the pain management department one last time and demand to talk to someone. It had been two weeks and I was not allowed to talk to anyone besides receptionists, and nurses (who told me they would put my chart on my doctors desk, but can't promise she will look at it.) The receptionist told me that my doctor was out on a family emergency for 3 weeks. I asked what to do in the meantime, and they said she left me a script for methadone, and no further instructions.

    The methadone has left me sick as a dog. Even with an anti-nausea, I have lost 7 pounds from vomitting. I throw up the meds, and feel horrible. Again, nobody will call me back. I called the pain management dept. and begged the receptionist to have another doc call me back, but they tell me that it is company policy that nobody messes with other doctors patients. Then they tell me to call my physical medicine doctor (who is also on vacation) or primary care (who tells me he can't help me, and to call pain management).

    This can't be legal. Its been almost 3 weeks and I have yet to talk to a doctor. I am not allowed to make an appt. until my pain doc gets back, since my primary will not deal with pain doc patients. I am sick, the facet joint injections have left me in more pain than when I started, and I can't seem to get the methadone under control so that I don't vomit, even with anti-nausea. I am with Kaiser Permanante, Southern California, and their complaint process involves you filling out a form, and them calling you back to tell you that your complaint has been filed. Thats it.

    With HMO's, you can't file complaints like you would with regular private doctors. This is so frustrating. When I was on vacation, I almost had a nervous breakdown, sitting on hold with the receptionist who was so rude and unhelpful, telling me to continue in the circle of calling other people on vacation or who can't help. I've never, ever been this upset and disgusted with the lack of care by health insurance. I felt like I was going to be on Candid Camera. I truly didn't think that this could be a serious situation. It was like they were testing my mental capabilty to handle this insensitivity.

    Does anyone have any advice on taking legal action on HMO's? Especially Kaiser Permanente Southern California?

    Thank you guys for allowing me to vent.


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    Old 08-07-2003, 06:19 AM   #2
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    Being in the medical field I know what you are saying and yes if you have been in pain and you have been trying for 2 weeks to get someone to help you then you might have a case. There was a case that was told to us in school about a woman who was in pain and kept calling her primary care doctor and leaving messages for the doctor to call her; I think that she was having some sort of complications but anyways nobody would respond to her after leaving several messages which by the way we are always taught to write down messages on carbon copy so you know that they have a trail that you have been calling for so long and she ended up suing her doctors office. I would seriously look into legally what you can do besides if your doctor is away on vacation or business or whatnot there are suppose to have another doctor there in the meantime that you can talk to if you have any problems especially with your meds. You might jsut have a legal leg to stand on. I believe what they have done is called abandonment and is illegal. Check it out and I hope that I was at least of some help. Take care and good luck. Mo

    Old 08-07-2003, 10:34 AM   #3
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    I have been in that situation before. I was on Oxycontin wasn't working at all and I was acting really weird, so my wife called the PC and demanded they make me an appt. as soon as possible. It is not anywhere as bad as what has happend to you. I am so sorry for that situation it is horrible, PLEASE PLEASE let us know what happens.

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