Advice about doctors who don't take symptoms seriously

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The Seeker | 22:55 Mon 31st Oct 2005 | Body & Soul
4 Answers


I hope someone can give me advice about doctors and what to do if you're not happy with their treatment.

I've been getting numbness in my face and I went to see my doctor who said I need an MRI scan. Not wanting to wait a long time on the NHS, I went private and got the negative results within a week. When I went back to my GP to get the results, I was told that I'd be referred to a neurologist to find out what my problem was.

Two months later, I went to another GP as my symptoms were spreading. I was told that my GP hadn't referred me to a neurologist as I'd got my MRI back and it showed no signs of lesions (for MS). I was shocked by this as an MRI is only one diagnostic tool for diseases and is not definitive. I couldn't believe it and asked the second GP to refer me, which she did. This means another 17-week wait, at least, on the NHS.

Last week I went to my practice again and saw yet another GP. I told him that I was now having difficulty in swallowing. He looked in my throat and said that the muscles were working and said my difficulty in swallowing was probably due to anxiety!! I would understand if that was my only symptom, but I as I've been having neuro problems for a few months, you'd think he might see a pattern developing.

I seem to be hitting a brick wall with this practice. They haven't even given me a blood test, although I did ask for one to rule out a virus. I'm not neurotic and have real physical symptoms as the numbness is spreading to my arms and legs.

Can anyone give me advice on what to do next? All suggestions/experiences gratefully received.


The Seeker


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Oh dear, this sounds all too familiar.

Can you afford to go private anymore? What I did was go private to get the plan sorted out, and basically queue jump to see the specialist. I then went back to my GP and TOLD him to put me in for various scans, since he now had the go-ahead from the specialist.

I advise you do the same. Pay to see the specialists you need to see (GP will refer you initially) but then you can phone the specialist and queue jump. Work out what you need to do together, and then go back to the National Health for the actual treatment.

But DO stamp your feet about this. I did, and it does work.

I'm afraid that I went into my GP's office and insisted on a referral to a consultant and implied that I wouldn't be leaving until I got one! What annoyed me is when I was proved right my GP would not even acknowledge he had been wrong - grrr!

I'm not anti going private, but you shouldn't need to, you need to have a tantrum and you need to have one now!!!

I had years and years of pain before being diagnosed and i got to the point where i developed a phobia of the doctors because they treated me like a hypercondriac.

In the end I found the best thing to do was take someone with me - in my case my mum, who was more than willing to do the 'tantrumming' for me, as by this stage I couldn't even talk to the doctor.

Do you have a friend or a relative that could fight this for you? It's always a lot easier fighting for someone else than it is ourselves. They also think of different questions.

Book a double appointment at the surgery, take someone with you and don't leave until you are happy with your answers and that something is being done and immediately.

I now have a wonderful doctor who has restored my faith in the profession.

Good luck.

I suggest you ask around friends and family and see what their doctors are like and if they would recommend them.

Then all you have to do is phone the new doc and aks if you can join their surgery - they will get your notes etc directly from your old surgery - you don't even need to speak to them

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