Saturday, April 17, 2004


I fired Amy's pain doctor. I went by her office Friday morning and simply returned the prescription as well as the doctor shopping contract she had ordered Amy to sign. I was very polite. I told the receptionist that after consulting with Amy's surgeon and another physician we decided that the pain doctor lacked compassion, and had handled Amy in a manner that would not advance her progress. I did specifically say, "Please tell the doctor that she's been fired."

I left my business card in case she had any questions, but I didn't really expect to hear from her ever again.

I was wrong.

The doctor called last night, which was impressive since she had emphasized to Amy during her appointment that she only took calls on certain days, and only filled prescriptions on certain days, and never to call on other days. Since it took six weeks to get into see her, I thought a phone call within a few hours of being fired was an extremely prompt reaction.

It was apparent during our conversation that the doctor was mystified. She said she thought she had treated Amy very well, and that no one had ever told her she lacked compassion. I tried to be as nice as possible, I told her how Amy reacted to the appointment. In response the doctor kept referring to her notes - reading them back to me as if I wasn't familiar with Amy's diagnosis, "Chronic pain from multiple surgeries...various medications currently prescribed....etc".

As we talked, I wondered if the doctor really remembered treating Amy. I was tempted to ask her what Amy looked like, but I didn't want to press the issue. We talked for probably 6 or 7 minutes and I simply kept restating the obvious - Amy came away from their appointment with a completely different reaction than the doctor did. Amy was uncomfortable with the doctor's bedside manner, or lack thereof, and she felt the doctor seemed more concerned with her own rules and preventing drug seekers from getting an upper hand. It was apparent to us at least this relationship wasn't a good fit.

The doctor read me her notes some more, said she never thought Amy was a drug seeker and then added, "But you returned only one prescription, not the second one I prescribed."

I reminded the doctor that she actually didn't prescribe anything else, because Amy said she didn't need it. I asked her to check her notes again, and she said, "Oh, I see...yes."

At that point the conversation came to a quick end. The doctor offered an apology of sorts, "If Amy got the wrong impression."

I said, "Goodbye."

In truth the doctor could have talked to me all night and not made any difference in my opinion of see at no time during our conversation did the doctor ever ask to speak with Amy....the patient.

I honestly don't think it ever crossed her mind.