What can you do when your family doctor lacks understanding for their elderly clients?

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I'm venting today, as well as seeking answers. My mom has been ill since July, complaining of stomach pain in her lower abdominal area. At first it started out as constipation, gas and bloating; since, it has developed into chronic diarrhea. Over the course of time, her doctor ordered the following: a lower abdominal and pelvic exam, upper/lower GI, and a cystograph. It turned out that she had two polyps in her colon and ulcers in both her stomach and throat. The medication given to treat the ulcers, caused diarrhea and she also developed a UTI after the scopes.
My mom is very strong willed and has been resistant to having a colonoscopy performed on her. However, when other exams failed to provide results, I bullied her into the procedure. When she continued to feel bad, her doctor ordered the cystograph. At that time, it was going to take 3 weeks before the cystograph could be performed and another week before we could see the doctor. I loaded her in the car and she began to cry, so I took her to an ER in a larger city. When her family doctor found out he told her she could either see him alone or find herself a different doctor. I'm really angry because twice this past summer he has made her cry and he also had the nerve to tell her that she is the reason why America's health care system is failing. According to him, the test HE ordered cost roughly $10,000 and someone had to pay for them. That's when I became angry and informed him that he asked for the test and she wasn't the type to go to the doctors everytime she turned around. I said a few other things, but I'll keep this family friendly. He's also trying to tell her that this is all psychological. How can polyps, ulcers and diarrhea be psychological? Last week, I had her to his office again, this time seeing a nurse practioner who questioned why she wasn't seeing a specialist. I filled her in and she talked with another doctor, who at the end of the day tried to speak with my mother's physician, asking she be given a refferal to the gastrointestinal specialist. Mom's doctor refused and told the other doctor that she could either believe in him or get out. I'd like to know what I can do about a doctor who suffers from a "God Like" syndrome? Can I report him? Also, what can I do about my mom's diarrhea? She takes immodium, but it doesn't work. I had her into ER on sunday and they are checking for a viral infection. As for the doctor, I'm trying to find her a new one.

Answers 1 to 8 of 8
Minmenzel, I know your pain with this. I absolutely hated my mom's doctor as he basically was useless. Her mental functions had been failing and he never addressed anything, crap he didn't even listen to her heart or take her BP when she would go for a visit. I finally got mom's agreement to try a different doctor and believe it or not he turned out to be even worse than the first one. He never even spoke to mom the entire appointment. I complained to the hospital that he is located at and then asked my doctor to see mom. Luckily mom loved her! If you feel that the doctor is not doing enough for your mom, run don't walk and get her to a specialist and a different family doctor then report Dr. God to the AMA.
Wow! Find a COMPASSIONATE gerontological physician for your mother ASAP and search for a Naturopathic physician, the two should work together. Don't waste your time on reporting this rude human being as it will never do any good.
Bluntly, doctors like to play god and think they are the smartest people in the room, in my personal experience even before I became mom's caregiver I realized that a doctor in not necessarily the smartest person in the room but in perhaps one subject - medicine. Otherwise, some of them act as if they themselves are surviving heart doners - no compassion and would rather trust their book learning than listen to the patient or caregiver, and are actually pretty stupid in a lot of area. My mom's system has it's peculiarities that I will not go into here, I had to train her GP that whatever medication he wants to perscribe for her, he should start out at half that dosage and work his way up, not the other way around as she has had soem bad or uncomfortable sied effects from some. Over a period of years he has learned this finally, now he seriously thinks he thought of it all by his little self. Another specialist, when I told him this, gave me a sideways look as if I was something slimey that just crawled out from under a rock. Same wht the hospital, I have learned that you have to be very demanding of the nurses, aids, and even the cleaning people (housekeeping), as they all can get very routine in their thinking to the point of slopiness. They are usually pretty quick to see that her discharge papers are ready in record time when it is time to go home.....
I hit the submit button accidentally so excuse the spelling and typo's in the last - I usually proof read before I send.
Boy, do I feel your pain on this one! I recently tried to get ahold of my Grandmother's doctor. We were having trouble with one of her new meds. I called him on Mon, no call back, Tues, the same, Wednes, the same....all the way to friday. I was seething when I got ahold of the receptionist. She put me right through to "THE DOCTOR" (like he's God). When he came on, his intention was to get right to buisness....no dice....I read him the riot act!!! Unfortunately, my Grandmother loves him so I would not change doctors at this point, she's 94, but my guess is that he will return my calls much faster the next time. My point is this... we are our mother's/grandmother's/Dad's advocate. We should demand certain things from their physician. Go in with a notepad and pen. Have questions ready for them! I like to stand in front of the door, so he can't escape before I'm done. Works great! I think most docs will respond to you when they see you mean buisness. We are in charge...they are helping us! Good luck and know that you are not alone out there.
Minmenzel, as you look for a new doctor please strongly consider a geriatrician. One of questions to ask up front is if/how the doctor works with other specialists. You definitely do not want someone who insists on being the only doctor in sight. A Primary Care Provider should be just that -- primary. Referrals should be made to other specialists as needed, with the PCP coordinating the care.

A rude doctor will probably cost his clinic business -- such as your mother leaving -- but I'm not sure that doctors are required by law to be polite or kind. If I were you (and I was in a similar situation once) after you find a new doctor I would send a letter to the head of the clinic explaining why your mother is leaving. Just matter-of-factly list the incidents that bother you. Don't embellish and don't rant. Just "this is what happened" and "since I don't find this appropriate or helpful my mother has found a new doctor at a different clinic."

Good luck!
Absolutely report this rude SOB to your states licensing board and also to the local Medical Association. I would demand a copy of your Mom's medical record and find another physician. It certainly sounds like she could use the services of a good specialist and not some pumped up ego maniac.
Hello all who answered this post and gave your support and opinions. It's been a long time since I have been able to return to this site. Since I wrote last, my family has been through hell and back. We found a new doctor that is "Heaven Sent." He is even willing to make house calls if needed. By the time I found him, things were getting really bad. I ended up removing my mom from local care and transported her myself to the University of Michigan hospital. It was there, that a mass was found on her kidney. U of M said it was cancer. By Thanksgiving she went from bad, to worse. Unable to make the trip back to Ann Arbor, she entered a hospital in Kalamazoo. While trying to obtain a second CT scan, the hospital sent her into fluid overload. I traveled back to U of M, for the image disc. From there we saw a urologist in Battle Creek, who said she was in no condition to have a biopsy or kidney removed. We are now waiting for May 29th, to return to Battle Creek. If all goes well, perhaps the urologist will give his approval for the cancer specialist. I'm praying this is not a death sentence, but, no one wants to do anything b/c of her age. On a good note, she is gaining strength and the home healthcare agency I hired is great. I stopped working all together to take care of her. I did O'Kay in the beginning, but lack of money is making things tight. They can't afford to pay me and I don't think there is anyway medicare would reimburse my wages.

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