A White Coat does not make you a doctor

20 Aug

Any more so than a monkey throwing a football makes him a quarterback.

I had probably one of the worst visits to the doctor yesterday for my ankle. It’s still bothering me, point tenderness, pain upon palpation.  The left lateral distal side of my ankle hurts like a motherfucker.  Point tenderness between the ankle and the top of the foot in that squishy/vascular/small bones space.

Upon palpation, shooting pain goes up the lateral side of my shin.  At rest pain is 4-5/10, upon palpation 8/10.  No swelling, deformity, contusion or abrasion noted.  No LOC at time of fall.  Fell from standing position to gravel/grass/concrete.  ETOH NOT involved.  Did not hit head, negative to pain in head/neck/back, negative abdominal pain and negative cardiac problems.  Currently taking 800mg Ibuprofin taken 3x/day as needed for pain.

I knew all of the above and was taking the meds BEFORE I went to the doctor. 

Here’s how this went down –

I went to a Doc in a Box because my insurance was accepted there.  I made an appointment.  Hobbled in, explained what I did, had my vitals taken (BP 112/80, pulse 65) and went (WALKED) to the exam room.  In walked the good Doctor.  Doesn’t introduce herself, rather she opened her laptop and proceeded to take the most obscure history I’ve ever heard of all the while trying to convince me to have blood work done.  When I asked why she wanted the blood work done she said it was because I am 28.  She never asked have I ever had blood work done or anything – as a matter of point, I did have blood work done back in May.  And I would have gladly told her that had she asked OR given me an opportunity to share that with her.

Instead, she tells me that my cholesterol could be high, I might be diabetic, I could have all these other problems. And you’re right, I could have any of those, but let’s see if there’s any family history of any of those and / if I exercise…and if my weight is normal.  She asked me at one point if I ever had gestational diabetes!  Hmm, if I’ve never been pregnant, how the fuck would I have gestational diabetes????

She’s yet to ask me why I’m here, establish my chief complaint or examine the site of my injury. 

She does the most BS physical assessment EVER to include using her hand like a stick and forcibly poking me in my abdomen in the 4 quadrants…She listened for lung sounds at the base of my neck – ON MY SPINE.  She said she couldn’t hear lung sounds unless I removed my shirt (I was wearing a tank top…and a really thin one at that!). 

It was at this point that she asked me why I was here.  I repeated that my left ankle hurt, I told her where it hurt and I pointed out where the pain was.  SHE REACHED OUT AND GRABBED MY ANKLE!  AND APPLIED PRESSURE!  I jumped.  She asked ‘did that hurt?’ No you friggin’ moron, it felt fucking fantastic – that’s why I keep using words like OW! and HURT! and WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!

She told me I needed an x-ray.  No shit sherlock.  So she had me walk to radiology. And ‘hop up on’ the table.  The tech took the pictures and I walked back to the exam room. 

She comes back in and tells me that she cannot read the films because she’s not a radiologist and that the radiologist won’t have an opportunity to read the film until Friday…or Monday.  But that I should stay off my foot and not apply pressure.  I asked ‘then why did I walk to radiology?’ because I was fed up and pissy. 

She asked me if I wanted crutches or for her to wrap my ankle in a tone that was asking for a negative reply. 

So today, on my way to work, I bought a brace.  And I’m wearing it…and my ankle still hurts like a motherfucker.  I could have saved my $20 and 2hrs of my life. 

In my oh-so-humble opinion, what she did was not what a doctor does.  A doctor asks questions, listens, doesn’t insult, humiliate or bewilder the patient.  Isn’t the first tenet of medicine ‘to do no harm’ – then don’t forcibly grab an aching appendage until you figure out what the hell is going on!

I’ve had better phyiscal exams done by EMT Trainees…and I’ve never asked someone to remove their shirt so I could listen to lung sounds – and I listen to lung sounds in the back of a running  ambulance!

So picture time…



2 Responses to “A White Coat does not make you a doctor”

  1. Epijunky August 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm #


    Sounds like an experience I had recently with a Doc in a box.

    All I can say is she’s lucky you weren’t on crutches, grabbing an ankle that hurts that badly is likely to get her a whack with the crutch.

    Get better hon 🙂

  2. Tass August 21, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Wow…that could be Houston! Went to GP for swelling in both feet, ankles to toes -no pain or obvious injury. Doc had me stand up, she poked my arch area with her pen and said my arches had fallen. Her words “see, there is no space here anymore. Get some arch supports.” (now, I have almost even wear on my shoes and when I walk across a floor with wet feet, there is a proper foot impression…but what do I know?)

    WTF? It’s SWOLLEN you dork! Am now being treated for heart valve disease and looking for a new GP.

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