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+23
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We all want a doctor that we can trust. Someone with a good beside manner who sees you as a person rather than just a patient.

pictureThat's why, seven years after moving to San Diego, I still drove to Los Angeles to see my gynecologist. Dr. Sigall was always kind, caring and understanding. He never rushed or pushed. And he never did anything besides his specialty of delivering babies and making women feel comfortable in his office.
Eventually, however, the drive to L.A. became unbearable, and Dr. Sigall suggested I find someone in San Diego.  I agreed, and after trying a few doctors that I didn't really care for, I settled on Dr. Karen Lee.

Dr. Lee came highly recommended. She had three kids of her own, was only few years older than me, and could relate to the changes I was going through.  She didn't come across as very warm or personable, but she seemed like a good doctor. So every year I dutifully went to Dr. Lee for my annual exam, and every year I felt that she really didn't know who I was.  

As my daughters got older, they also became Dr. Lee's patients. A few years back she diagnosed one of them with PCOS, and the nurse called me to say that my 16-year old daughter (who was not sexually active) needed to go on the pill. When I asked to speak to the doctor, the nurse politely informed me that I needed to make an appointment if I wanted to discuss it further. Determined not to put my daughter on the pill, I opted for alternative medicine, and was able to resolve her issues without unnecessary hormones.

Fast-forward to last month, when I once again scheduled my annual appointment with Dr. Lee. Only this time I had to see Dr. Lee's nurse practitioner if I wanted to come in this month. Since it was just a routine checkup, I really didn't mind. What I did mind was that every visit was becoming more about cosmetic procedures and less about "women's issues."  The office was filled with glycolic creams and slick brochures on peels, facials, laser hair removal, and all kinds of cosmetic procedures. Everywhere you turned someone asked if you had booked your cosmetic appointment. Not the least bit interested, I got my exam, received my prescription for a mammogram, and went on my way.

Imagine my shock when a few days later I received a call from the imaging center saying they had found some abnormalities and wanted me to come back for more testing. Can you say freaky? Scary? Trying to keep my cool, I decided not to tell my husband or children until after the second test.  

The radiologist assured me that even though they found some abnormalities compared to last year, he felt comfortable doing nothing and retesting in six months. He also advised me to speak with my doctor to see if she agreed.  Leaving the imaging center I felt better, but not completely relived. After all, we have so many ways of detecting breast cancer these days—breast MRI, CT scan, and who knows what else. I placed a call to my doctor on Friday afternoon and waited.

Monday morning the nurse called to say that they received the initial report and I shouldn't worry about it. They also recommended retesting in six months. Wanting to know all my options, I asked to talk to the doctor. However, the nurse informed me that the doctor was way too busy to answer phone calls or call people back.
That's when I got mad.

This wasn't some minor issue like cramps during my period. This involved a mammogram that wasn't up to par, and I had some serious questions to ask! I wanted her to tell the doctor that I was upset, and that I needed to talk to her that day. Several hours later I received a call from the same apologetic nurse.  She said that if I wanted to discuss this further, I needed to make an appointment with the doctor.  

I advised her that I would not be making the appointment.  And furthermore, neither I nor my three daughters would be making any appointments in the future. The nurse assured me that most doctors don't have time to call. To which I replied, "If the doctor has so many patients that she can't call to discuss a mammogram, then she should consider taking less patients and spending more quality time with them."  

picture

I stayed upset the rest of the day because I knew the nurse was right about the doctor not having enough time. This behavior is becoming more and more prevalent among doctors, and I wonder why. It seems to me that people are less personable nowadays, and as a society we're trying to convince ourselves that it's okay.

I, for one, am not okay with this approach. It shouldn't happen in any profession, but especially a medical one. A doctor's duty is always to take care of his or her patients, and that should never change.  

So I'm going to drive the two hours to see my old gyno, because he is worth it. I'll continue to choose doctors who are personable and caring, and I urge you to do the same. After all, we should never settle for less!

+23
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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carmela Tunzi wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Amazing review and I totally agree....My Doc...in OC is amazing an even sends emails!

      I need a Gyno in L.A....what city is he in?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Yana,

      How awful that you had to go thru that... especially since this was a rare thing for you. Maybe the Dr thought it was no biggie but come on they never took the time to get to know you and know how you would react to the abnormalties.

      I feel the same way about my Dr in MI I just wish I could go back to her.....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Deprogrammed wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Lord. Have. Mercy.

      I had a doctor with the same attitude, who isn’t my doctor anymore.  I reported a doctor to the medical boards for just such activity; she said she had no idea this was happening (?).  How can you be that removed from your practice?  

      I realize managed care and for-profit insurance companies have made health care a nightmare for all concerned, but it isn’t up to her front office people to decide what’s important regarding the health of her patients.  Now I have a doctor who frankly costs more, but when I was having a rough time after surgery, he called me while he was on vacation IN CHINA.  Half way around the world, on his own time, maintaining contact with his patients.  I hope he never retires.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Felita Daniely wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • We live in a day & time where people have lost touch with what really matters.  It’s all about greed for all those involved with the big corporations.  We all know that most of them get kick backs everytime they make a referral. The prescription drug companies tell us in their advertisements that the drugs will cause this & that but yet we still feel as though we‘re forced to take the drugs.

      I don’t blame you Yana, I’d go back to my doctor who has a heart.  Your doctor is like a needle in a haystack, very hard to find these days.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anna Palagin wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Yana,
      I can only imagine what you must of gone through, but situations such as yours also wake us up from taking every day for granted. May you (or you rloved nes) never experience such or any health issues but life is long and unpredictable but you are a vry lucky woman (and it was a your work ofcourse) your family and kids love you and will always be there for you and that is what I call “life accomplished“....almost.

      P.S. as far as doctors are concerned I always knew if we find a good one its worth traveling miles for him/her, until they retire.

      Anna



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Darlene Sabella wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • This is a face and wait until you become a senior citizen, OMG they completley hate us.  Medicare does not pay them the high prices they get from other insurances.  However, after many years I have found the doctors that are loving and kind and I am loyal to  me.  great subject and very very important....love you bunches hugs & kisses darski



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Webdiva wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • That’s ridiculous that your doctor wouldn’t call you personally to discuss!! Good for you that you stood up and said “enough!“.

      Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the situation is going to be getting worse with the new “health care plan” that the current administration is trying to put in place. Less available care, less quality care, more expensive premiums - my mother already got her notices from AARP and Medicare about her premium increases (and that’s with $600 billion cut from Medicare)—denied care, ugh! And I have doctor friends who can’t make enough money seeing patients to keep their doors open because insurance companies can no longer pay for things they used to pay for. Bad situation that I don’t see getting better...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Yana...I totally agree!  More doctors need to learn the art of communicating with their patients and realizing that whatever that patient is concerned about...it should be important to them as well.  

      I would drive 2 hours too if that is where you get the service you deserve as a patient.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • I would have been furious, too. And when it comes to doctors, I’m very vocal about how I’m treated.

      I don’t know if this is Kaiser’s policy but when I had my tubal ligation, my doctor called at home later in the day and also the next morning to see how I was feeling. When I had pheumonia in February, the doctor called me the next day to see if I was alright. And, most recently, when I had a heart scare in April the doctor called me the next day to see how I was feeling. Do you have a Kaiser in your area? I know they used to have a bad reputation but I’m thinking they’ve begun working very hard to take care of their patients.

      I’m sorry this happened, Yana. I know it’s a worry, for you as a patient and also as a mom when it comes to your daughters.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Camille Vendryes wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • I personally think what most of these doctors care about is the money, sometimes you go see a doctor their face look very intimidating makes you scared to have them as your doctor, i have been there done that with a lot of them, when u go to a doctor you want to feel care and warmth, to me going to a doctor is scary, so they should be nice, warm, kind and friendly toward patient....To me persons in general should be like that in every day life.........



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Anonymous wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Do any of you have a chronic illness?  It sure doesn’t sound like it. What Yana was exposed to has been the norm for me. But I have insurance that is tied to Medicare...so not many doctors take it. And I have fibromyalgia (which is now being termed a “common” illness. Whoa.) which doctors generally hate to deal with.  

      I wonder what it will be like when the health care reforms take effect? I know health insurance providers are blaming current premium increases on reform...and that has been found to be not true, but they‘re going to spin it any way they want. It’s all about the money and the people don’t matter. Unless you’ve got money.

      This is a business and as any business it is about the money. How many patients can be booked into a day. More patients means more money. Finding a doctor that wouldn’t treat me like I was junk mail took a lot of effort. I ended up with a rheumatologist that does not accept ANY insurance at all. Yeah. But at least he will see me and work with me.

      What is this all going to look like when more and more of us get older and there are not enough doctors? Scary.

      But hey, I just read an article about a doctor who was on a mission in Thailand and had heart failure. His daughter had to transfer over $15,000 to the doctors in Thailand before they’d help him. We‘re not like that. Right?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Coachmombabe wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Amen! I’ve been given my  own run around here recently. I even had a nightmare about it! And in my dream I said “I’m going to find a doctor that treats me like a human being“. This is a serious issue as it involves our health, and we are the only ones who can make those decisions. Kudos for taking charge, Yana, and choosing the MD you believe in!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • I toally agree with the ladies, so sorry you had to endure that Yana, I love my doctor and I hope he never changes.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Max0125 wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • I am so sorry tp hear that you are going through this. I hope that you find a new physician that will  treat you as a patient and not a number.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne E wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • Yana,

      I have had many bad experiences with doctors.  I have to find a new gynecologist because the last on I had would schedule two or more of us at the same time and make me sit in a room almost naked for an hour before she came in and, when you’d mention it, would get arrogant and shrug her shoulders.  Sure wish you had a good doctor you could recommend in San Diego and sure hope your next mammogram comes out with no problems!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Dec 9, 2010
    • @carmelat yes, he is in Beverly Hills, CA I will pm you information.

      Thanks ladies, sorry to hear that many of you feel the same way. This only confirms our realty....“the lack of human touch“.  

      There are gadgets that are being developed that soon will not require doctors to even check up on patient in the hospital, all vital signs will be available on the doctors phone. WOW we say to the technology, but at the end it replaces the human touch, voice and all that we need when we are sick.

      I did drive almost three hours to see my old doctor, and just as the last time I saw him almost a decade ago he was very calm, caring and cautious. When I walked out of his office, I knew I was in good hands. I then got all my daughters on the phone and told them once again, when it comes to your health, NEVER SETTLE!.  

      and when it’s not about your health, only settle if it makes perfect sense to you, after all after 40 it’s suppose to be all about you estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheekymonkey wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • My doctor is great its the specialist thats an ass (sorry) but hes good and my doctor says hes the best in his field but if hes the best....why do I shy away from going? Why do I panic seeing him? I feel like a number that has no face to him. I know this is routine and matter of fact to him and its surrounded in death and crap like that but Im still here and some compashion would go along way.
      When I told him this I was informed he wasnt there to hold my hand that he was there to treat the cancer if it could be treated and to advise me of my options and since I choose not to do any experimental treatments as they are my only options now he really couldnt help me until the end he could make me comfortable.
      Swear to God thats his attitude.
      I dont have it in me to see him anymore or to go shopping for a new onocolgist so I see my regular dr and limit my visits to the specialist. In fact I canceled my last apt last week/beginning of this week.
      Ive asked for another specialist but I have yet to make the appointment.
      Good for u yana.
      Cris



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne Lyken-Garner wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • Yana, you‘re so right. I was recently told I’m going through premature menopause. I have all these feelings to talk about, but although my new doctor seems nice (we had to move surgeries - long story), I feel she hasn’t got enough time to talk to me.
      It’s all about numbers nowadays. It’s never about quality.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • Yana I’m sorry you had all this hassle and I do think that some doctors have a bad bedside manner (sadly never taught at medical school and I think it should be)  

      But having said all this from the land of free healthcare you would be at your local general practitioner GP and you get as long as you want and they do house calls and after hour visits and at our doctors it has a note.
      “When your seeing the doctor you’ll get all the time you need so be patient if you have to wait as he is giving the same time to every patient ” - no one moans as we all get 100%



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • Yana, kudos for quitting this doc. and going back to your old doc. even though it’s a longer drive. I so totally don’t understand why they all overbook like that (well, of course I understand why).

      When my husband was diagonose with lymphoma, we got a doctor at a major New York cancer hospital, and during the 4 weeks that he was there before he died, we saw this doctor once. Once! I didn’t like her anyway, and I was actually more comfortable with her assistant doctors, but even they were not there enough. He was too sick to move him anywhere else, so we were at their mercy. And I’m here to tell you, their mercy was short coming indeed. It was a nightmare which, although it happened 20 years ago, I am still devastated from.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • It sounds like many of us are in the same boat..and the trouble I see is when you have a group of doctors leaving an area, and the ones that remain are swamped and over-booked, which usually involves specialists...my Ear, Nose, Throat doctor is overwhelmed at times, but his office is run well and he does check back with his patients, and my GP is fantastic..now where I see the trouble is with Gynecologists, they are an entity upon themselves and it should be just gyne doctors working separately from those that want to deliver babies..it could clear up lots of problems.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alina Bartell wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • Thanks for writing this Yana. I also had a quite sour experience with overworked ob gyn. Is there something wrong with this specialty in particular? I can understand many factors in running a practice but I so agree that we should not put up with shabby substitutes for care!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tiggerk wrote Dec 10, 2010
    • I’m sorry you had such a bad experience too, Yana.  When you find a good doctor he/she is worth stickinhg with, if you can.  I’m one of those “assertive” patients—I want my doctor to care about my medical conditions AND about me personally.  I try not to waste their time, either.
      That ob-gyn not being available to talk with you about unusual mammogram results is outrageous!!!  You did the right thing & if she’s part of a physician’s group maybe you should mention it to them.    

      I’m really thankful for my specialist—she called me the evening after a sonogram of a lump I had on my thyroid, to talk about a biopsy & what to expect, and to reassure me.  It really helped me not to freak out.  

      I hope you have much better experiences in the future.
      Kathy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Dec 11, 2010
    • Sorry you had to go thru that. But your right, doctors shouldn’t have so many patients that they don’t have time to even talk to any of them and discuss Important matters as yours and anyones elses. Doesn’t seem right to me at all. I know so far I have had really good doctors who would call me back whenever I wanted to discuss something or needed a question answered. I have been lucky In that department. Even now my doctor has had his nurses calling me like 2xs a week because he is worried I haven’t been to see him (my schedule)heartbreak Anyway, He’s very good at letting his patients know that he cares and yet be professional about it. If I needed to talk to him, he would make the time.

      Hope everything works out for you and good luck on your next test.heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kyah wrote Dec 11, 2010
    • I have an old school general practitioner who I know will retire soon (she’s like 83 years old), but she makes you feel like you‘re talking to a bartender and not a doctor. Where many GPs have you in and out in 15 minutes, it’s not unusual for me and Doc D to spend about an hour chatting and half an hour checking me out. She doesn’t scold or make you feel like she knows best, and I like how even in her advanced age she stays on top of new procedures and policies. We did lock horns over my treatment of high cholesterol. She said prepare to be on medication for life and I said oh hell no. I need to get my blood tests done soon because I haven’t seen her since February and I know my cholesterol has bumped up a tad because I’m not willing to give up some of my favorite foods.

      I wish everyone could find a doctor who takes time to connect with the patient and not see them as dollars.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Dec 12, 2010
    • Yana, thanks so much for bringing up this subject.
      It amazes me the insincerity in which the medical profession has become. It’s almost as if they think they are doing us a favor when in reality we the patients are doing them the favor, really.
      If we all stand up for what we feel we deserve, maybe some of the doctor’s will wake up.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wittymom wrote Dec 20, 2010
    • This article hit so close to home. I have a GYN that I love. Her office was located minutes from my house and her staff were the most personable group of Ladies you could meet.  My doctor had to make the decision to sell her practice and join a larger group practice...still close to home so I wasn’t at all disturbed by the move..or so I thought.  Her new office is big, glitzy and cold, it houses many different specialties and there is none of the personal touch I use to feel. I have visited the office 3 times and not once seen my GYN, it has always been the nurse practitioner, and the wait time is ridiculous. My Doc finally called me recently to tell me that I was past due for a pap smear, I told her when I come I want to SEE her. I am thinking about changing Docs but I want to tell her first why.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Faye43 wrote Dec 20, 2010
    • I hope everything came out all right Yana. heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Hotmel86 wrote Dec 21, 2010
    • i don’t blame you I am very endeared to my doctor who after my last physical and blood work he sat me down and went line by line through my results with me. I was really impressed and knew he was a keeper



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tiggerk wrote Dec 22, 2010
    • With the fees doctors charge now, you’d think they’d remember who’s paying their salaries, wouldn’t you?  I won’t stay with a doctor who won’t provide the care I need.  I will give them a few chances to do better, in case they were having a bad day or something—that’s only fair.  But if I’ve talked to them about the problems & nothing has changed, I’ll see another doctor.  After all, it’s your health you‘re dealing with here!  

      I’m a Type 1 (childhood onset) diabetic, so I take good medical care really seriously...but I think everyone should!
      Kathy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Critcher wrote Dec 22, 2010
    • I know what all of you mean, my last doctor flat out lied to me. I didn’t find out what was really going on with me until I requested my medical records for myself. If you feel unsure about what is going on ask for your records you have every right to have them for yourself. I have a new doctor here in CA and she has been great to work with. She tells me what I should do and she doesn’t take no for an answer. But neither will I. Her office also has it’s own website so you can look at all of your appointment and even her notes online. Very useful.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Turbandiva wrote Dec 24, 2010
    • This is not medical advice, but as a very fortunate breast cancer survivor, a strong encouragement not to wait 6 months. Your MD may be comfortable with that, but he/she is not the one with abnormal cells.  I was told at every test for 3 years that the tiny lump I found on a self exam was nothing to worry about and they’d follow up in another six months. After 3 years, they finally did a biopsy and I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. It may be nothing of concern, but that is a guess, not a diagnosis. A lot can happen in that time.  My personal approach would be to sit on their doorstep with a lot of noise until they do an ultrasound or more analytical test to confirm what it is or is not.  I wish you well! heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ivegon1 wrote Dec 29, 2010
    • I’m sorry for this situation, and I do understand you. I did my test too this year, no because of my age but I have breast cancer in my family history. I did the first test and they send my a later that I have to go back the center for more test. I was talking to God all the time to give me support. I didn’t said anything to my kids or my mother. but the difficult situation is that is not the first time I have being call for retest for cancel, the first time was vaginal cancel.  

      But God is good and he ways protect his kids, and we are his kids.
      Glory to the Lord !!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Allnatural wrote Dec 29, 2010
    • It is so hard finding a good doctor.  We were driving almost 4 hours for my son’s doctor, but he recently died.  heartbreak  Now we are driving 2 hours for another doctor.  This is because we prefer holistic medicine, and there is nobody near us.  I hope the new doctor works out.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tedibare wrote Jan 13, 2011
    • Always follow your instincts with this stuff - physician relationships are the same as any other, patients have different personalities and needs and respond differently to each doctor, what works for 1 might not work for another.  

      I went to a very well known GYN when i was younger, and I would leave there in tears all the time.  He was not an OB, and it was not until I needed one that I realized that it is not normal to leave a GYN’s office in tears!

      When my daughter was born, she had colic.  The doctor would change her formula and tell me to call him, but he would never return the call or give me other instructions, and his nurse half the time did not know what was changed or what was new.  I spent 6 months in this state of total frustration and.. tears.  Thinking back on my GYN experience, even though this guy was supposed to “be the best,” I decided to find a new doctor anyway.  I went through 2 more doctors until I found one that had more of the type of personality I needed.  It was such a frustrating experience I would not even consider having more children for the longest time, and I know if I had found the last doctor at the beginning, I would have had a much, much better experience and possibly have felt more supported and not so fearful of having that experience again.

      If something does not feel right, make a change sooner rather than later and save yourself the grief.  Remember, you pay these people to advise and advocate for you.. not the other way around.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Darlene Sabella wrote Feb 2, 2011
    • My adorable Yana, I think they are still around,however very expensive.  Many people are scared to leave their children with anyone after see private hidden videos and the such.  So many things can go wrong.  I personally think there shoulld be a school for this, like in the UK...to teach people who really care about children...love you darski



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Connie Wray wrote Feb 10, 2011
    • Dr. Lee is in this field to make money!! If she makes you get an appointment to discuss your question she is holding your emotions hostage for a price!! I go to the Dr. through the Veterans admin. Men are the norm for doctors and they‘re not attuned to female problems. I had a lump on my breast bone that was supposed to get looked at. He nastily informed me that it was my sigmoid prosses and EVERYONE has one! When I insisted it was more than that he felt it through my bra and said it was my breast bone. I called and complianed and asked for a female doc. She is much more intune with my needs. Good luck,C



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