Friday, June 14, 2013

Personal and Professional.

Lately I've been plagued by a nagging toothache. I tried to ignore it at first, since it was very mild, and  then I took some antibiotics since dentists lately like to prescribe antibiotics as an adjunct to their drilling. After not achieving any relief from the antibiotics, I finally went to my dentist and the x-ray revealed a fair amount of destruction underneath one of my crowns with adjacent bone erosion. I was given 2 options: either put in an implant or grind down 2 nearby teeth to make a crown. She referred me to an oral surgeon, and I scheduled an appointment to talk to him.

When I arrived, I was greeted by the receptionist who demanded 200 dollars up front. I must admit that it was surprising since I knew that no work on this tooth would be done today. I also have descent dental insurance and expected this visit to be covered. My last line of resort was appealing to this man's decency as we both teach at related institutions; I instruct in internal medicine and he instructs oral surgery and there is a good chance of us occasionally running into one another at work.  So I asked if he could afford me 5 minutes of his time as a matter of professional courtesy.  I was instructed to sit down and the receptionist told me to wait while she asks the doctor about this matter.

For nearly 1 hour I sat wondering if this was his way of trying to get rid of me. Eventually I was asked to come into the office and sit there. We spoke for about 5 minutes, he looked at the x-rays I had brought and discussed what I might expect from an implant versus a bridge. I asked about the price and he said that since I am a physician, he would offer me a discount price of around 3,500 for this implant. I thanked him for his time and went home.  In my mind, I still had not decided about which option would serve me better - the implant or a bridge.  Bridge can be expected to last about 10 years and the implant about 15.

As I was leaving the office, the secretary said that she was told that my visit would be 100 dollars. Strange, that I assumed this brief consultation would be attributed to professional courtesy, since no work was done and since this was my request before I was led inside.  To myself I thought: OK turkey, this was a sneaky way to get a 100 bucks from me but, I am not going to make a scene here.  I paid up and left.  After some research, I realized that 3,500 for this implant is far from a bargain and therefore will not return to that "colleague" again. In fact, the only thing going through my mind after this visit, was how I would love to see one of his relatives in my practice, charge them an extra 100 dollars and ask them to tell the turkey that it was a special price on the count of their relation.  This is the nasty thing about mean spirited acts, they are contagious.

My next stop for today was a visit to my mechanic. I drove up to the garage and told him about a strange screeching sound I noticed when making a right turn. The mechanic asked me to wait for 15 minutes, as he was working on another car, and exactly 15 minutes later he got into the car with me. We drover around the block, he immediately realized what the problem was, drove the car into the garage lifted it up and bent the protective plate behind my wheel so that it would no longer cause this annoying sound. Then, he went for another drive with me to make sure it was fine, and  while driving we talked about routine life stuff.  At the end, he didn't want to charge me anything because he didn't replace any parts and he thought it was the descent thing to do.  I am not in favor of people doing things for free, but every now and then it sure is nice when someone treats you with kindness.

The doctor I saw early today, is sneaky, overvalues his opinions, and dumps where he eats.  My mechanic is trustworthy in both, his ability and his honesty.

No wonder people people hate doctors when they run into turkeys like the one I saw today.


GW said...

In every profession, you will find some percentage of arrogant idiots.

Ex-Dissident said...

Someone told me that it was an appropriate charge, since I underwent a consultation. I mainly came to find out how much it would cost me and whether I want him to perform this operation. This is not the sort of information most people would charge for, since it is of little benefit to me if I chose against going with this particular guy.

Anonymous said...

You, obviously, had have little trouble with your teeth (and maybe, generally, your health) before and/or did not pay for your doctor' visits yourself, otherwise you'd know this is a standard thing whenever one come to a doctor's office.

A few weeks ago I decided to listen to my dental hygienist's suggestion and to look for a consultation at periodontist. I asked several dentists of various specialties whose patient I have been for recommendation, and went to a specialist very highly recommended by one of them.
I sent him my x-rays(for the past 3 years) 2 weeks in advance, he didn't do any imaging, all he'd done was to spend 10 minutes max examining my teeth and comparing them to the x-rays I provided.
Then he said if I want to schedule a cleaning with him I have to make arrangement with his receptionist. Oh, and he also gave me advice on how to brush my teeth (right...)
That's it.

I was charged $275 for the pleasure of his company; after negotiating (when I reminded him that I came on lead of his colleague) he lowered the fee to $250. And they did not accept credit cards, either, only checks or cash.

Can I also mention that the office was not updated, probably, since the 80's and everything, including his secretary, was shabby, old and inconvenient?

What happened to you, Vinny, is sadly what one expects when dealing with medical practitioners. I hate to tell you, but you're just made to eat your own medicine (even if you personally, do not practice it this way).

dymphna said...

I kind of agree with GW, though I think most professions, formerly attractive to innovative people who preferred to practice on their own, are deteriorating under the erosion of govt regulatory interference.

My psychopharmacologist, who is also board-certified in forensic psych, had a divil of a time trying to find colleagues with whom to share his practice. Far too many of the young ones "sit in the dark and talk to themselves" (just one of his more piquant observations).

He treats me w/o charging me anything, and I know how fortunate I am.

My dentist has lowered my fees in the last few years as his income went up and ours went down. But then he's a generous fellow - goes to India to treat cleft-palates with other dentists and docs, and travels to Eastern Europe to teach the latest methods with microscopic dentistry.

BTW, I'd look for a dentist who has learned to use microscopic surgery. It's a good sign he's still interested in his work.