Friday, December 16, 2005

Preventative Medicine and the Military

Here’s the thing that is frustrating about the military medical system. First of all I’ve been waiting all week for the OB/GYN clinic to look at my consult sent over from my PCM so I can make an appointment with them. I called throughout the week and it hadn’t been looked at yet (found out later part of it was they were waiting for the return of the lab results). Finally, I call this morning and was placed on hold. Several times the phone was picked up and I was placed back on hold before I could even reply to the person talking to me. Then after 15 minutes on hold, someone picked up the line and then hung up on me.

Frustrated and irritated I called back and as soon as the person answered I asked to please not place me on hold until I finish talking first. I explained what was going on and I ended up getting the head nurse. She pulled up my results and asked if she could give them to the doc and have him call me back. About twenty minutes later she calls and says that everything is okay, the results are good and there should be no problems with family planning. Well wait a minute here, so why do I have the symptoms that concerned the PCM so much? I get my answer that it is just a friable cervix not to worry and figured that indeed nope, they won’t see me. She was really nice though and I appreciate that, even if the doctor was too lazy, busy (or just to important for him) to bother to talk to me personally like he should have instead of letting the nurse do it. Yes I know he has a patient load to see during the day, but technically when my record goes in as a consult I too become a patient to be seen even if only in cyberspace.

So what the hell? I have read several baby books and with the medical issues between both families I really should have a full workup but none of the military doctors seem to really care. My PCM knows nothing (correction - is not familiar) about the genetic disorder my sister in law has, but the OB/GYN won’t let me near them unless I am already pregnant or having a problem.

What about preventative medicine? Doesn’t the military believe in preventative medicine beyond just giving me prenatal vitamins? I mean come on here, there are several things a woman of my age, and previous medical history (including anemia – which took 5 years to be diagnosed after all that complaining, got a little tired of hearing how I should just exercise more and it will go away) that would warrant a full workup of me and the “oven.” I just can’t stand the thought that their idea of preventative medicine is waiting until I miscarry for the first time or have a mentally deficient child before they will do anything about it.

So I guess I will have to pull out the baby book and take it with me when I have the lump in my groin that’s five months old and more in likely not a swollen lymph node like they said. With the book in hand I will point out this and that test and just get all demanding and make him test me for these things they recommend. I am a PITA (well will become one) and I don’t care.

UPDATE: This is not so cool. The family practice clinic called to say that although most of it came out normal I needed to be seen by the OB/GYN clinic due to one irregularity. I let them know that OB thinks nothing is wrong and won't see me based off of the test results. I can't say that I am thrilled at the thought here. Why the hell or more like how in the hell did OB miss the irregularity that FP demands that I been seen for? How do you miss something as big as that? On Monday I will have to call back and get a better description of what is going on. The dog is sick and I was running out the door as the Maj called me. I know that they are going to go to bat for me with OB, but I need to know more about my irregularity to get a better idea of what we are talking about here.


Christopher Whitaker said...

For what it's worth, I've worked in the system and the only thing I can recommend is persistence. The real problem on the MD end is that there simply aren't enough of them. Not to make excuses, but the workload is so great as to make the entire system more of a meat market than a doctor's office. Also, the front desk people are often lazy and/or incompetent. Be persistent, and see if the local TRICARE office has someone resembling a "Patient Advocate" who can take your case (or complaint) higher and force the issue a little.

Good Luck,

Christopher Whitaker (ex-SGT)

SC Eagle said...

FIGHT! Don't let them weasel you into a health problem. Go to your clinic's XO (usually the Patient Representative) - he's supposed to stand up for you. Ask to see other doctor's. Get a copy of your clinic's "Patient Rights".



ArmyArtilleryWife said...

They really pay lip service to preventative medicine.

I've found if I just walk in, they pay more attention to me...although that seems like a bad practice. Wouldn't it be better to encourage peopel to make appointments for non-emergencies, rather than have them come in and clog up your waiting room?