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Old 05-02-2011, 11:36 AM
 
19 posts, read 62,851 times
Reputation: 16

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In February, I went to my current doctor (who just took the place of my doctor who I have been seeing close to 20 years). My ONLY symptoms were vertigo. I explained to the doctor that the last time I had vertigo, it was an ear infection.

She proceeded to tell me about positional vertigo and how it is normally harmless. She said there are simple exercises I can do. After the THIRD time telling her that the last time I had vertigo, I had an ear infection, she looked into my ears. She did not seem happy that I brought this up a third time so seemed to only look into my ears to make me happy. She was very rude and was even interrupting me when I was telling her about my one past experience with vertigo and how it was an ear infection.

She looked into my right ear and it was clear, then she took the otoscope and jabbed it so forcefully into my left ear canal that I jerked from the pain. I immediately told her "OW, THAT HURT" to which she apologized. Sure enough, I had an inner and external ear infection. When she was writing out my prescription, I again told her that my ear really hurt now. She again apologized and sent me on my way. For at least 3 days, my ear was extremely painful. The pain gradually subsided and became intermittent since then.

In early April, I could not stand it anymore as my lymph node was swollen and sore on that side too. I saw the PA who looked into my ear canal and noticed a laceration! I told her about what happened and she prescribed ear drops and asked me to come back a week later. A week later, the pain was still there as was the laceration so she referred me to an ENT.

The ENT noticed the laceration and said that if doctors are not careful, or if little kids wiggle, it is easy to damage the ear canal as there is a bone that is covered by thin skin. The skin has no cushion so can be easily damaged. That visit was over $200 that I had to pay. I go back this week for another visit.

I have not yet received a bill for the 2 office visits in which I saw the PA. I notified the Office Manager who referred by case to Patient Relations. I just received a letter from P.R. stating that they cannot "write off" the charges as I had asked them to do as they believe that the "laceration" was caused by my ear infection.

HELP!!! Again, I had ZERO pain until she jabbed the otoscope into my ear canal at which the pain began, was severe for days, and is still there.

All I wanted was for her to cover the cost of her two visits and the two visits from the ENT. I have never sued anyone and have been a great patient in that office for almost 20 years. I only want her to make things right with me and my injury.

Has anyone ever had anything similar? Any and all advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 2,743,711 times
Reputation: 1480
I had a strangely similar experience to yours just last month with a new PCP, an internist. And I got a small measure of justice, so maybe what I did might help you to gain the same.

Sitting on the exam table, I pointed out that I was one of those lucky people to secrete excess ear wax and had always had routine and successful removals of same through water irrigation in the office. The PCP -- just as tuned into the patient's wishes as yours was -- brusquely informed me he could use a "probe" instead that would work just as well. I replied that I preferred the usual method. He ignored me and inserted this "probe" into my right ear, scraping and then pulling out the result: a tiny bit of wax, not at all like the wax plugs I was accustomed to seeing.

I protested that the scraping hurt and he murmured, "Just a little more here..." while he continued the process. It felt like an ice pick being inserted into my brain! He paused and said, "Oops, a little nick there." No apology, just a move to the other side to start in on my other ear.

Both ears ached when he stated he was "done" and very little wax was apparent on the gauze he was wiping the probe on. More than a little frustrated and upset, I told him of the pain and the fact that my hearing was still muffled, indicating the wax plugs had NOT been removed. He did not respond and instead dabbed at my bleeding ear before moving on without comment to the rest of the scheduled new-patient exam. (He did not listen to my heart and lungs or do ANY of the review of symptoms I've been used to when getting this kind of exam for over 40 years.)

I'll cut to the chase now: over the next week, my bleeding ear formed clots in the ear canal that caused me intense pain and had to be forcefully extracted with an ear syringe. This progressed into an ear infection that necessitated an expensive bottle of antibiotic ear drops not covered by my insurance. The infection caused me to miss an important dental procedure I had waited for for MONTHS since they refused to do it while I had the infection. My hearing is still muffled and now my right ear is plagued with tinnitus.

My husband was outraged, and I'm not sure what was said when he showed up at the PCP's office and read him the riot act, but the PCP apologized profusely, sought the advice of an ENT (like that was going to help me at THIS point), "adjusted" my bill to reflect the cost of the ear drops, and wrote a credit of the cost of the exam in my file (also totally useless to me, as I have no intention of going back to this doctor). He said "accidents happen" and that he was sure my ears would be fine in due time, and that he was "indeed" sorry my dental procedure had to be rescheduled.

My husband said "sorry" wasn't good enough for the pain and suffering he'd inflicted on me over my protests, not to mention the dental pain I had to continue to endure until I could get in to see my dentist again. The PCP shrugged and said there was nothing more he could do.

So we asked a lawyer friend what our chances were in small-claims court: no attorney needed, simple rules of evidence, heard by a judge and, in our state, a venue for doctor/hospital bill disputes. We documented everything and our friend said a sympathetic judge might rule in our favor. All we want now is for our actions to make enough of an impression on this PCP so that he actually LISTENS to his patients and gives us some kind of recompense as the "principle of the thing." This wasn't malpractice -- just arrogance.

If you've documented everything, I encourage you to explore your options. Good luck and I hope things work out for you.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:52 PM
 
19 posts, read 62,851 times
Reputation: 16
Oh my, you have endured a lot as well!! When I went to the ENT, he cleaned dried blood out of my ear when he vacuumed it out (first time I've ever had this done) but I never had the bleeding show on the outside. Between the two ENT visits and the two Physician Asst visits after this happened, I will have several hundred dollars in bills (counting the meds) that I have to pay out of pocket (have a high deductible HSA plan) unless the doctor in question were to write it off. It's not that I don't have the money to pay, but rather I should not HAVE to pay when it was her error! I am so extremely frustrated.

My husband sounds a lot like yours. He was ready to go in or call the office after we found out my ear drum was lacerated. Do you have a small claims court date set yet? If the doctor doesn't show, do you automatically win the case? I am so not looking forward to going in this direction but want this doctor to make things right. Our doctors sure do sound a lot alike! As patients, we know our bodies better than anyone and deserve the doctor's respect when we PAY them for their service.

On another note, when my phone rings at work, the high pitched ringing hurts my ears. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the ear canal laceration. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this.. Thank you so much for your advice.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Destrehan, Louisiana
2,192 posts, read 6,034,825 times
Reputation: 3600
Doctors are like carpenters, you have your goods ones and you have your bad ones.

A few years back my doctor put me on high blood pressure medicine and it made me cough all day and night. I told him about this and he changed my medicine and the coughing stopped.

Last year my doctor stopped working at the office so they assigned me a new doctor. I go in to get my prescription filled and she changes my medicine and I start coughing again.

I make an appointment with her and explain that I'm coughing and it's because of the medicine and she doesn't even hear a word I'm saying. She tells me that the reason I'm coughing is because of allergies and not the blood pressure medicine and hands me a prescription for allergy medicine that cost over $200 to fill.

Well needles to say I tossed that in the trash and stopped taking the blood pressure she had me on.

I visited her the next month and she goes on to tell me that the allergy medicine was working because I was no longer coughing. I surprised her and said no it's not, I didn't even get it filled plus I stopped taking the blood pressure medicine she was giving me and after three days the coughing stopped.

I did a lot of researcher and found out that the side effects of that medicine was coughing.

She finally changed my medicine back to what I was on and I haven't had a problem since.

Like I said, doctors are like carpenters, you have your good ones and you have your bad one. Don't trust what they tell you, always do your own research.


busta
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 2,743,711 times
Reputation: 1480
Busta is SO on the mark about the tendency of doctors to parrot the pharma company line on the efficacy of the meds they peddle, NOT to listen to their patients. I, too, did my own research on two meds prescribed to me and was so horrified at the possible side effects and patient reports that I threw the free samples in the trash and tore up the prescriptions.

OP, why not try a Letter of Intent to see if the parties involved will make things right by you and cover your expenses. Here's some tips I found online about the process in Florida:

How to Send a Letter of Intent to Sue for Medical Negligence in Florida | eHow.com

I also think you should turn your hubby lose on the offenders like I did mine. Let us know what happens.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:32 PM
 
19 posts, read 62,851 times
Reputation: 16
stonecypher5413 - Thanks for the link. It was interesting and it may be very useful in the near future. Also - love the turning hubby loose! I'm sure he would not be as kind as I am : )

bustaduke - You are completely correct. Having been with the same doctor for so long, I was pleasantly use to having a good doctor. I am a bit shocked over this new doctor and the way that she treated me. Her communication skills and bedside manner are nil. She seemed so confident in what SHE is saying, but was not listening to ME, who knows my body better than her and the two times she has seen me. I am frustrated to say the least! I am happy to hear that your coughing issue has stopped, thanks to your own trial and error with the meds.

Thanks again for those who have replied. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who has experienced any similar situations.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:18 AM
 
1 posts, read 15,379 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeing blue View Post
In February, I went to my current doctor (who just took the place of my doctor who I have been seeing close to 20 years). My ONLY symptoms were vertigo. I explained to the doctor that the last time I had vertigo, it was an ear infection.

She proceeded to tell me about positional vertigo and how it is normally harmless. She said there are simple exercises I can do. After the THIRD time telling her that the last time I had vertigo, I had an ear infection, she looked into my ears. She did not seem happy that I brought this up a third time so seemed to only look into my ears to make me happy. She was very rude and was even interrupting me when I was telling her about my one past experience with vertigo and how it was an ear infection.

She looked into my right ear and it was clear, then she took the otoscope and jabbed it so forcefully into my left ear canal that I jerked from the pain. I immediately told her "OW, THAT HURT" to which she apologized. Sure enough, I had an inner and external ear infection. When she was writing out my prescription, I again told her that my ear really hurt now. She again apologized and sent me on my way. For at least 3 days, my ear was extremely painful. The pain gradually subsided and became intermittent since then.

In early April, I could not stand it anymore as my lymph node was swollen and sore on that side too. I saw the PA who looked into my ear canal and noticed a laceration! I told her about what happened and she prescribed ear drops and asked me to come back a week later. A week later, the pain was still there as was the laceration so she referred me to an ENT.

The ENT noticed the laceration and said that if doctors are not careful, or if little kids wiggle, it is easy to damage the ear canal as there is a bone that is covered by thin skin. The skin has no cushion so can be easily damaged. That visit was over $200 that I had to pay. I go back this week for another visit.

I have not yet received a bill for the 2 office visits in which I saw the PA. I notified the Office Manager who referred by case to Patient Relations. I just received a letter from P.R. stating that they cannot "write off" the charges as I had asked them to do as they believe that the "laceration" was caused by my ear infection.

HELP!!! Again, I had ZERO pain until she jabbed the otoscope into my ear canal at which the pain began, was severe for days, and is still there.

All I wanted was for her to cover the cost of her two visits and the two visits from the ENT. I have never sued anyone and have been a great patient in that office for almost 20 years. I only want her to make things right with me and my injury.

Has anyone ever had anything similar? Any and all advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
omg! went in today with vertigo symptoms and I really think when the np checked my ear she done it on purpose...it hurt so bad....im glad I came across this...im thinking of going back to inform them....my ear is in so much pain now...it wasn't before I was examined
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Jensen Beach, FL
50 posts, read 56,009 times
Reputation: 56
I am a therapist and a speech therapist with an otoscope, childhood ear infections and wood working have ruined my hearing. I am now 60 yo. Just so you know if you need hearing aids Costo is the largest seller and cheaper with free test on site w appointment. After years of thinking how mumbling was a trend I went today to WPB Costco and was tested and fitted and wore them in the store as a demo pair..2500 for two with purse fob and phone app controls. Made a real difference. Surprisingly I have been enduring a 40% loss in one ear and 60% loss in another. Sadly did not have that much in my account to get the ball rolling on getting. Costco req AM EX or Debit...but things are changin after 6/20 ANY VISA so then the flood gates will open and I can hear again. I got the exec membership with such a lg purchase I will get 2% off. Great detailed testing and knowledgable hearing aid specialist. Hope this helps.
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