comments 10

Changing doctors

For a long time, I didn’t have a family doctor. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been fairly healthy, but recently with the problems I’ve been having with my knee, I’ve realized that I should find a doctor I can see over the longer term.

I started searching around a while ago and found a doctor, who was associated with a sports/physio type clinic. He took a look at my knee and sent me off for x-rays and ultrasound. It was important, he said, that I go to a particular x-ray clinic, and that I could go same day or perhaps next day. It turned out there was a wait of a week and a half for an appointment. No matter. Off I went.

Next step was to make a new appointment with my doctor to review the findings. I called the clinic. They put me on hold twice, then transferred me to a voice mail. I was less than amused, but I called back later and made an appointment. When I mentioned what happened, I was told, “sorry, we must have been busy”.

I showed up for my appointment with my doctor, but he wasn’t in the building. They didn’t know where he was, but he had told reception that he would be back in half an hour. I guess my time wasn’t so important that he would arrange his personal business around his appointments. Maybe it was an emergency. When he showed up, we had a rushed appointment, because I had other business after.

The doctor requisitioned an MRI for my knee since the x-rays and the ultrasound didn’t reveal my problem. He told me that some places take a long time to get an MRI but not this clinic. No. He would have one for me in 6 weeks. He told me if I wanted anything for pain and discomfort he knew of an herb that would give me good results. They use it in some places in Europe all the time. He didn’t tell me the name. I suggested we get the MRI done and talk about herbs later. I took the requisition to reception and they processed it. Someone there reiterated that it was taking about 6 weeks for an MRI. The doctor also wanted me to have a test called an EMG which was administered at this clinic by the physio folks. OK. I made an appointment to have that done as well.

In three days I got a letter from the hospital telling me that my MRI was scheduled 6 months down the road – that’s months, not weeks. Yikes. The day of my EMG I got a call from the clinic. They had to cancel my EMG, but they would reschedule. OK. I rescheduled for the following week. They canceled that one too. I made a third appointment.

Meanwhile, I have had no diagnosis and no treatment. I’ve decided that I’m in the wrong place.  I made an appointment with another doctor for tomorrow.  He comes recommended. I’m somewhat frustrated to be starting over, but I’m sure I can have my x-rays and ultrasound sent to the new guy from the old guy. I simply wasn’t feeling the love. Even in the medical business, client service counts.


  1. sp

    Unfortunately, it all sounds too familiar. I have a friend with a shoulder injury (since July) that separated the tendons and he’s fighting to move up from a 3 year wait for surgery. Apparently constant pain from separated tendons isn’t urgent.

    I suggested he have an accident and get emerg to fix his shoulder while they’re at it. (I was just joking of course).

    Something is really wrong with our medical system. We shouldn’t have to pay financially, nor should we have to pay with our health.

  2. I think waiting six months is okay especially if it allows people with an emergency situation to ge treament right away.

    I think if you spend 5 minutes dealing with American healthcare you will be so happy about Canada’s healthcare and waiting situations.

    one of the things about sore knees and waiting periods is that many doctors want the patient to lose weight before any ANY treatment is given.

    My mother had to wait until she lost 50 pounds to get an MRI. When she lost the 50 pounds her knee had totally recovered. But then she regained the weight and her knee was screwed up again.

    So…she managed to get surgery because she didn’t want to eat healthy and lose weight. She paid for surgery.

    And now she has all kinds of issues with post surgery.

    Mr. A and i have a mutual friend with chronic arthritis and pain in his knee. He had to wait 6 months for an MRI too. It was gently suggested he lose weight. It took him about five years to change his lifestyle and lose the weight…but his knee is fine now and he used to walk very slow and painfully.

    Health care is not fast food. We’ve gotten so accustomed to wanting fast food, fast cars, fast internet in North America that we can’t wait an hour for our doctors.

    I believe…and sorry to disagree with everyone here…but thats bullshit.

    if you can’t take a couple hours to wait for health care something is wrong with an attitude towards our health.

    health is a life style and way of eating and moving. Our body rejects behaviour that hurts it. Why should we waste money on MRIs when we could get massages and exercise.

    Knees are totally exercise and weight sensitive machines.

    Doctors are trained to write prescriptions and to perform surgery. We are usually much better off if we all lose weight. I know peopel who have depression and they fill themselves up with bread and carbs. They would rather take medications that eat food with lots of vegies and vitamin B. They don’t want to lose the weight or exercise.

    But besides all this…if you could see how Mickey mouse bullshit the U.S. system is…you would be celebrating waiting in your doctors office by reading a book and waiting. Seriously…I’ve been dealing with stuff here all week and they don’t have a clue how to organize health care.

    • Bloggerboy

      Well, I’ve never had an MRI over here, so I don’t have much of a basis for comparison. I almost asked for one after experiencing pretty strong knee pain during bike rides, but, after regular riding and wearing biking pants, the pain went away. I think the jeans may have been causing too much drag on the knees.

      The wife has had a couple of MRIs, though, and it took about two weeks to get an appointment. But the risks that were being ruled out were potentially more severe than a knee injury. Still, six months is well into rationing services. Six weeks for a non-urgent test, OK, but six months strikes me as unacceptable, regardless of whether we’re talking national health plan.

      Hey, we ought to do a series of comparison posts about what our health care costs and how it works or doesn’t work.

    • Thank you for your continued suggestions and commentary. I agree about losing weight, and I’m working actively on that. No more cornbread for this boy, oh no, no, no.

  3. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    I have heard that a 6 month wait is fairly normal in this country for an MRI. I used to wonder why they didn’t just work a few shifts of overtime to get caught up and once caught up they could stay that way. Now though I understand. Even if someone could wave a magic wand and ***poof*** the whole MRI backlog vanished, then within 3 weeks the backlog would be back at 6 months. That is just the way the medical system works. The wait times are based on the fact that you basically dont really matter. If you were say a major league baseball player (for some reason they matter more than the rest of us) you would be sent to Atlanta to see Dr. Miracleworker and you would have your MRI tomorrow morning. The interesting thing is that there are lots of people who are willing to set up MRI clinics in Canada and direct bill patients for the service. There are lots of patients who would be willing to pay also. The problem is that the medical system wouldnt look very good if they took 6 months and Billy-Bob’s MRI Clinic could provide the same service in a few days so those private clinics won’t happen.

  4. I’ve been very lucky with Doctors.

    I had to transfer the other year as the local NHS said my Doc was over subscribed.

    He was great. You’d turn up and he’d say “How long off work you want then?” and write you a sick note before you’d even tell him what the hell it was about. I had so many extra holidays I’d not expected I loved the guy!!!

    Was a bit pissed when I had to change but my current Doc is even better!

    “You don’t feel well? Non-specific just ‘not right’…ok two weeks off”

    Mind you….now I’m about to be self employed I don’t want two weeks off!!!!

    “S’ok” he says….”I’ll clear your insurance to get you paid”

    I LOVE my doc!!!!

  5. Bloggerboy

    So, Mr. A, are you likely to get a quicker appointment for an MRI with another doctor or is this a systemic problem? Six months sure sounds like a long time if you are in pain.

    • I’m not sure Bloggerboy. It may depend on the hospital. Also, they triage MRIs. Mostly I hope I find a doctor/clinic I’m more comfortable with.

  6. Wandering Coyote

    Ugh. I’m sorry you’re going though this. It’s just plain wrong.

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