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  #1  
Old 06-18-2008, 02:30 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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Sometimes, my doctor calls me; how common is this?

I have a bunch of doctors. I have a PCP, a urologist, a guy who did my weight loss surgery, a guy I consulted with about another surgery that my OB thought I might need (turns out I don't need it, thank goodness) and my OB/GYN. Out of all these doctors, many of whom I've had for years, only my OB/GYN actually phones me.

Sometimes, a staff member of another doctor will phone me, to let me know I have an appointment coming up, or I missed an appointment yesterday, or some such. But only my OB/GYN ever phones me herself.

This morning she called to see how I was doing (I had a complication following a hysterectomy she did; nothing that was her fault, just something that happens), and it's not the first time she's called, either. It's maybe the third or fourth time.

Oh, and once, when I called her office just after my hysterectomy, I said to the woman who answered "Hi, my name is norinew, I just had a hysterectomy Thursday. . ." and she said "I know, this is doctorsname"

How many of you have had doctors that call instead of having a staff member do it? (sometimes a staff member of hers does call; she doesn't always do it herself) How many of you have ever had the doctor him/herself answer the phone in the office?

I'm always mildly freaked out by this, but was wondering just how common it is (or isn't).
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2008, 02:48 PM
Harriet the Spry Harriet the Spry is offline
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I've never had a doc answer an incoming call. It's rare enough for that to even be a live person! Whenever I've left a message that something hadn't gone right, like side effects of a medication, it's been the doc that's called back.
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2008, 02:57 PM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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My doctor has called me a couple of times. Once to see how I was doing the day after I saw him for a very painful knee injury, and once to let me know that an MRI I had had was negative for some possible bad stuff.
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  #4  
Old 06-18-2008, 03:16 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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This is the good thing about health care for profit.

Here in Ontario you can't even get a family doctor these days.

Believe me, socialized health care ain't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, get the government involved in anything, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be.
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:21 PM
Eureka Eureka is online now
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The oral surgeon who removed the tooth from the roof of my mouth* gave me a large carnation after the surgery, and called me that evening to make sure things were still ok.

He neither gave me a flower or called me the next year when I had my wisdom teeth out.

*I happen to have inherited from my mother a condition in which the tooth next to the center front teeth does not appear in the permanent teeth. The next tooth over never descended. The least fuss manner of solving the problem was to have oral surgery to remove the permanent tooth that was not going to descend on its own. I've still got two baby teeth, which I will deal with if and when they fall out on their own.
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2008, 03:49 PM
nofloyd nofloyd is offline
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My OB/GYN has called me over the years. I have a long history of cervical abnormalities. Whenever I 'fail' a PAP smear he calls me himself to discuss next steps. There was a run of years when I would expect a personal call from him after every PAP. [I've had some good years now but if cervical cancer crops up I can't be surprised]

He's the only one I've come across to do this. An excellent practice all around. I've moved 35 miles away but I'm not switching doctors.

-----
My father's physician makes house calls for the advanced elderly. If he wants blood work they send someone to his apartment to take it. How common is this?
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  #7  
Old 06-18-2008, 03:55 PM
Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa is offline
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I leave a message for my family doctor with his receptionist and he calls me back by the end of the day or I can email him directly and get an email or a phone call within a couple of hours.

Last edited by Tabula Rasa; 06-18-2008 at 03:56 PM..
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2008, 04:00 PM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
This is the good thing about health care for profit.

Here in Ontario you can't even get a family doctor these days.

Believe me, socialized health care ain't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, get the government involved in anything, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be.
I've had a doctor call me at home, as well as drop by to check on something to do with the kids. I've had my medicine served three ways:
1) socialized military style - great service from the Navy
2) standard american style - OK, but vary variable in quality an coverage
3) socialized canadian style- Second only to the socialized military style

Socialism rocks.
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2008, 04:08 PM
Lunar Saltlick Lunar Saltlick is offline
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I've had two doctors call me. One of them even answered her own phone, took appointments herself, etc. She missed my appointment, and then called at 11:30 at night (!) to reschedule (this was not urgent stuff, although maybe she didn't know that). Very weird.

The other guy called and left a totally garbled message on the answering machine. Never did figure out what that was about. He probably told me I've got exactly ten months to l
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2008, 04:08 PM
Bayard Bayard is online now
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My missus is a doctor. She calls her own patients all the time. Sometimes other staff members do it, but she makes a lot of patient calls as well. Incoming patient calls go to a front desk (I think), but she does call back or take the transfer if needed. Seems normal to me.
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  #11  
Old 06-18-2008, 05:28 PM
Brynda Brynda is online now
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I have had a couple of MDs call me themselves, but most have staff do it. I like it when they call, though.

I have a small psychology practice, which I run without a receptionist or other staff. I think it freaks some people out a little when I answer the phone, but they seem to get used to it.
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  #12  
Old 06-18-2008, 05:48 PM
Algher Algher is offline
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My family doc calls me to follow-up when I am sick or when I have lab work done.
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  #13  
Old 06-18-2008, 05:52 PM
Litoris Litoris is offline
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That's actually one of the reasons I love my PCP -- he has called me personally to give me test results, etc. When I had my abdominoplasty, he came by to see me to see how I was doing. Some doctors actually care about their patients. I know it's kind of hard to believe, but it does happen
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  #14  
Old 06-18-2008, 05:53 PM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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My dentist called me on a Saturday before Christmas after I was in his office for 6 hours (I had a lot of work done.) He is a great dentist.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2008, 06:36 PM
Eureka Eureka is online now
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My mom's dentist called her on Memorial Day a couple of years ago.

Although really, that was returning a call from my mom made the day before in response to losing a crown. Mom wanted an emergency dental apointment because we were leaving town the next day. Dentist was busy with her son's graduation and bad weather on Sunday, but Monday called her back and established a mutually convenient time for the appointment. Mom thought it was funny to have her dentist fix her teeth in blue jeans.
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  #16  
Old 06-18-2008, 07:33 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Litoris
That's actually one of the reasons I love my PCP -- he has called me personally to give me test results, etc. When I had my abdominoplasty, he came by to see me to see how I was doing. Some doctors actually care about their patients. I know it's kind of hard to believe, but it does happen
Well, from the way my PCP and urologist treat me in-office, they care about me, too. But it still feels kind of weird to get a call from the doctor herself, barring anything but life-threatening results!

Still, good to know I don't have the only doc who does this!
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  #17  
Old 06-18-2008, 07:52 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
This is the good thing about health care for profit.

Here in Ontario you can't even get a family doctor these days.

Believe me, socialized health care ain't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, get the government involved in anything, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Could you say that louder, please? I think there are a couple of hundred million people down here who didn't hear you. Thanks.

To respond to the OP: I only have a PCP, and he calls me after every annual physical with the results of the blood tests. Once he called me four months later to remind me that he was still concerned about my cholesterol.


Roddy
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:18 PM
Waenara Waenara is offline
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I'm from Canada (Alberta) and my family doctor always calls me personally with test results. If she leaves me a voicemail, she usually leaves her direct number so when I call back I get her directly, instead of having to get the receptionist to put my call through to her office.

I've recently started seeing a Gastroenterologist, and her office staff answers the phone but I had to ask the doctor a question and she called me back personally that evening (after her shift was done at the hospital).
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:25 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
This is the good thing about health care for profit.

Here in Ontario you can't even get a family doctor these days.

Believe me, socialized health care ain't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, get the government involved in anything, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be.
I hear ya! I belong to a message board for people who've had the same weight loss surgery as I've had. About a year ago, there was a Candian patient who'd given up on socialized health care and paid for her own surgery in Michigan, with a doc that we'll call Dr. L. Well, she posted on the boards for about two months saying she was having pain everytime she ate or drank, and shortly after she ate or drank she would vomit, no matter what. We kept telling her "do what you have to do, get to see your surgeon"

She saw her doc in Canada, who referred her to a gastroenterologist, who couldn't fit her in for something like three months.

We continued to tell her "do what you have to do to see your surgeon". Finally, she borrowed the money to go see Dr. L. She had a "stricture". It was a growth of scar tissue that wasn't really allowing anything she ate or drank to be digested. If she had waited to see her gastroenterologist, she probably would have died!

This is not to say that socialized medicine cannot work. Just that, as it exists already, it is far from ideal.
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  #20  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:31 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waenara
I'm from Canada (Alberta) and my family doctor always calls me personally with test results. If she leaves me a voicemail, she usually leaves her direct number so when I call back I get her directly, instead of having to get the receptionist to put my call through to her office.

I've recently started seeing a Gastroenterologist, and her office staff answers the phone but I had to ask the doctor a question and she called me back personally that evening (after her shift was done at the hospital).
I saw this response after my last post. My last post was not specifically meant to denigrate the national health care system that Canada and UK have, for example. Just to exemplify that it is not always ideal, or a panacea, as some here like to portray it.

I'm very glad you've had this positive experience!

For my docs, although my OB/GYN is the only one who ever calls me personally, when I call my surgeon or my PCP, I can almost always talk to a real live person, and at least a nurse calls me back promptly.

My urologist's office is a very busy practice, with four urologists (although each patient had a "primary" urologist) and a nurse practitioner. When you call there, you get a "call system" i.e.: "You have reached Urology Associates; to schedule an appointment, press 1; to speak to an advice nurse, press 2; if this is an emergency, proceed to your nearest emergency room. . ." etc.

To their credit, at least a nurse does call you back within a couple of hours. Still, it would be nice to speak to an actual human when you call. . .
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  #21  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:39 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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I've never had a doctor - well, one that I see as a patient rather than one I work for - actually answer the phone when I call. However, I do get them calling me now and then; typically if I leave a message with their staff asking a question, the doctor him/herself will call me back with an answer.
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  #22  
Old 06-18-2008, 09:05 PM
Waenara Waenara is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norinew
I saw this response after my last post. My last post was not specifically meant to denigrate the national health care system that Canada and UK have, for example. Just to exemplify that it is not always ideal, or a panacea, as some here like to portray it.

I'm very glad you've had this positive experience!
No problem. I'm not saying Canada's system is perfect or anything. But then again, it's really not one system - each province runs their own healthcare system, so what's true in Ontario isn't necessarily the same in PEI or Alberta.

Also, I feel my GP is definitely better than average in terms of communication style and spending time with patients, and she always refers me to great specialists. (IIRC, in the US patients can directly arrange to see a specialist, but in Canada you have to get an initial referral to a specialist through a GP - they act as a "gatekeeper" to the specialists).

Last edited by Waenara; 06-18-2008 at 09:05 PM..
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  #23  
Old 06-19-2008, 06:46 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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My surgeon emails me. Sometimes just to comment on football, since we root for the same team. But unfortunately, I am likely not his typical patient and have been going to him for years, so there is a bond there now. I doubt he does this with most of his other patients.
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  #24  
Old 06-19-2008, 06:59 AM
Dunderman Dunderman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
This is the good thing about health care for profit.
Here in Socialistland, my doctor always calls me back.
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  #25  
Old 06-19-2008, 07:59 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Our pediatrician calls me, calls me back, and a whole lot more. Damn, I miss Dr Jenkins and wish he would move back to Shanghai.
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  #26  
Old 06-19-2008, 11:15 AM
irishgirl irishgirl is offline
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If the option is between call person myself or explain why I need the person called, have a secretary do it and then tell me they have done it, I might call the person myself to save time and to prevent my head exploding.

If it's someone I don't mind speaking to, I'll call them myself.
If it's something where not having a misunderstanding is very important, I'll call them myself.
If it's a psych patient, and I need to be able to judge their mental state, while we chat about why they missed their appointment, I'll call them myself.
If it's bad news, I'll call them myself.
If it's confidential test results, I'll call them myself.

If it's not important/not urgent/there is no room for misunderstanding/I don't want to speak to the person, I get the secretaries to phone for me or I'll dictate a letter.

If doing it myself saves time and effort in the long run, I'll do it myself.
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  #27  
Old 06-19-2008, 11:43 AM
norinew norinew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waenara
(IIRC, in the US patients can directly arrange to see a specialist, but in Canada you have to get an initial referral to a specialist through a GP - they act as a "gatekeeper" to the specialists).
Well, I guess since it's my thread I can hijack a little. . .
Whether this is true here in the US depends on which kind of insurance you have. Mine rocks, and I don't need a referral to see a specialist. I can just look up which specialists are "in network" (participate with my insurance, and most do, because it's BlueCross/BlueShield), then call the specialist's office and make an appointment.

But with a lot of insurances, the insurance won't pay for the visit to the specialist if you haven't had a referral from your general doctor.

Khadaji, I hear ya. You're probably the only person I know under the age of 70 who goes to the doctor more than I do!

irishgirl, that makes perfect sense. But with most doctor's offices I've dealt with, speaking to a real person is difficult, and speaking with a doctor over the phone is next to impossible! I have a great urologist, but when you call his office, you get "Thank you for calling Urology Associates, offices of (doctor's names); if this is an emergency, go directly to your nearest emergency room; if you need to make an appointment, press 1;" etc. Then, if you press 1 to make an appt. or 4 to "speak with a nurse", you get voicemail and a promise that they will call you back as soon as they can!

In their favor, though, they do usually call back pretty promptly, and they do always have a doctor on call on the weekends who will call you back if you call the emergency after-hours contact number.
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  #28  
Old 06-19-2008, 02:32 PM
nivlac nivlac is offline
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After lab tests my internist would say if I don't hear from him then everything's fine. Then I wouldn't want to get a phone call from him! Other times, he has called me to tell me that a particular test I took at some other facility came out just fine. I went to a specialist once who treated me for some infection and he said that he would call me to see how I'm doing the following morning. And he did! The thing was that there were various antibiotic options and he wanted to make sure that the prescribed antibiotic was working. But overall, doctors don't call me much.
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  #29  
Old 06-19-2008, 11:31 PM
Tannim Tannim is offline
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My nephrologist calls me regularly after any tests done. The only time someone besides him will call me from his office is if I need to come in for a shot because I'm anemic.

I am not sure he treats all his patients that way. I have his personal cell phone if I have questions or any complications.
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  #30  
Old 06-20-2008, 12:15 AM
Gail Gail is offline
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My oncologist has called me twice, once over Memorial Day weekend. i was surprised both times. But it wasn't ever bad news and it kind of made me happy that he was thinking about my case over the weekend.
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  #31  
Old 06-20-2008, 12:27 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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I've never had major surgery. I've had oral surgery a few times, and both times the surgeon himself called me later that day to see how I was doing. This is, in my experience and according to other people, unusual.
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  #32  
Old 06-20-2008, 01:04 AM
Shayna Shayna is offline
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I've had doctors phone me personally, either after surgery to follow up on how I'm doing, or when I've called their office and asked to have them phone me when they're done seeing patients because I have a question or something I don't want to discuss with a receptionist.
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  #33  
Old 06-20-2008, 05:45 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Well, it usually is her husband who calls me, although she's been known to call me in person for medical stuff related to my mother.


SPOILER:
SiL is the GP for the whole family. As she'd start telling us "you should take this" and "your doc should have ordered xyz test" whenever we'd been to the doctor, we figured we'd skip a step.
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  #34  
Old 06-20-2008, 08:58 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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Our GP calls us at home to discuss lab results. Once, he called at 9:00 pm on a Wednesday to go over some hella high cholesterol counts with my husband. I half expected the guy to drive over and shove the Lipitor down my husband's throat himself!

I love it. I have never before had a doc who cares enough to call me.
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