Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Doctor choice

January 13, 2009


To the editor:

The article on “How to choose a doctor” (Journal-World, Jan. 10), while well written and filled with valuable and reliable information, neglected one important element to explore, and that is office staff. From the receptionist to the nurse, they are all important to a satisfying doctor-patient relationship.

Is the office easy to contact, or is the phone always tied up and the nurse or doctor inaccessible? Are calls returned in a timely manner, and does the staff treat you with respect? Does the staff recognize urgent requests which may need a “work-in” appointment? Is whoever does the billing cooperative, sympathetic and helpful? Is scheduling planned so that there is no undue wait to see the doctor? My philosophy was that the patient’s time is as important to them as my time was to me.

I practiced family practice here for 43 years and had a wonderful and grateful group of patients, some for that entire period. But do you know what my patients wanted to know about my departure? Who would my remarkable and caring nurse, Debbie Miller, be working for because they wanted to follow her. She worked for me during the entire last half of my practice and she was a jewel. I knew it and my patients certainly knew it too.

It’s a good sign when a nurse stays with her doctor over a long haul and when the patient can relate to her (or him) as well as the doctor with whom she works.

Good luck in finding your “medical home.”

Dr. Phillip Godwin,


Sharon Aikins 9 years, 4 months ago

No matter how good the nurse and staff, it is the doctor him/herself that the patient has to trust and be comfortable with.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 4 months ago

I completely agree with Dr. Godwin. I really like my doctor, but when her regular nurse left about a year ago, she was replaced with a gal who doesn't speak, is very cold, and I've never seen smile. If you try to call the doctor and get her, she says she will call back but the calls don't come. She also said she would call back with test results and never did. And eye contact? Forget it!I hope the New Year brings happiness to her so I can again feel good about my visits.

bondmen 9 years, 4 months ago

Doctor my eyes have seen the yearsAnd slow parade of fears, without cryingNow I want to understandI have done all that I couldTo see the evil and the good, without hidingYou must help me if you canDoctor, my eyesTell me what is wrongWas I unwise to leave them open for so long?'Cause I have wondered through this worldAs each moment has unfurledI've been waiting to awaken from these dreamsPeople just go where they willI never noticed them until I got this feeling That it's later than it seemsDoctor my eyesTell me what you see. I hear their criesJust say if it's too late for thee

farmgal 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree, redmoonrising. I went to Dr. Gravino for many, many years, but he's gotten to be so arrogant in the last few years, that I've stopped going to him. It's a shame. It's hard to find a doctor who REALLY listens and who doesn't think he or she is God.

labmonkey 9 years, 4 months ago

The letter has a good point. A nasty little secret they tell doctors is that if they spend more than seven minutes with a patient, they are not making money. That means you are either dealing with a nurse or nurse practicioner. Staff is very important. Another thing.... you don't want to go to a doctor with really hot nurses. You think I am crazy....but it is a bit intimidating telling someone who is absolutely gorgeous about very personal problems you go to the doctor for, or to have her see your nasty ingrown toenail you go there to have taken out.

denak 9 years, 4 months ago

I had a doctor once. I liked him a lot. He was a good doctor. Had a great nurse also. But he had an office manager that was a battle ax. (to put it nicely) If you didn't have an appointment, forget it. She didn't care. There was one time I was sick but she wouldn't fit me in. She didn't care. I finally left him when I had a strep infection in my lower leg. My fever was high. I was so sick. I called and begged her for an appointment but she would not make an exception even though all I needed was a prescrption for Augmentin. She wanted me to wait 2 days. I ended up in the emergency room. After that, I left. No matter how good the doctor is, it wasn't worth going to him or her, if the office staff is so unyielding. No one plans to get sick so there should be some kind of leniency. It shouldn't be so rigid. I wrote him a letter and told him why I was leaving him. I don't know what happened but I doubt one disgruntled patient would make much of a difference. Dena

Christine Anderson 9 years, 4 months ago

I have been blessed to have had the same dr. for the past 24 years here in Lawrence. She happens to be one of those docs who is either not right at all for someone, or she is very right for them. I fit into the latter category. She will continue to see a pt. even if they don't have medical insurance, and even if they can't pay off the "old" bill. See, she puts the patient first, period. Until about a year ago, she had been with the same practice group since I became her patient in 1984. Last year, she left that particular practice group, because she wouldn't play by "their" rules. Meaning, the patient still came first, before the almighty business/office manager.I have to agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Godwin. He was one of the "old school " docs, along with Monte Belot, George Learned, and others whom I saw treat their patients, never forgetting the reason they became doctors to begin with. I never worked in an office setting, but I am so sorry for the bad experiences many people have had with office staff. Now, my own doc's nurses in Lawrence have never, ever been rude or inconsiderate. However, she "moved in" with a practice in Shawnee Mission (along with keeping reduced Lawrence office hours). The Shawnee staff needs to take a few courses in patient-staff relations 101. Recently, I was without b/p meds. I called the Shawnee office, and was interrupted by the receptionist before I could even finish telling her what I needed. When I told her I could not come to the Shawnee office as I did not have a way to get there, she said, "Well, so-and-so is completely booked on her next day in the Lawrence office." When I asked her if she could work me in, as it would become urgent without two of the three b/p meds I take, she suggested I go to Urgent Care or the E.R. Right, stupid. I had already told her I had no insurance. So how irresponsible is it of a so-called health care professional to tell a patient to go somewhere they will not see you without insurance? Yes, I could have gone to the E.R., but they are going to ask you, "Why are you here, instead of seeing so-and-so in her office?" Before I could get another word out, she was off the phone. I was so upset, I waited a couple days to see if I could just get by without. Nope. Diastolic steadily creeping up. I then called the Shawnee office back, and asked again for an urgent appt. A different woman hemmed et hawed, and then said, "I'll just give you her cell phone number." The doctor's, that is. Really.Within 24 hours of calling my doctor personally, I had been in to see her in the Lawrence office, had meds, and begun to feel better.So yes, no matter how great the doctor himself or herself is, nurses and office staff do matter. It was wonderful to talk to the horse's mouth, instead of the horse's ass.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 4 months ago

It was wonderful to talk to the horse's mouth, instead of the horse's ass.Shoots and scores! I love this!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.