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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Can I ask my old neurologist for some kind of compensation?

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Author Topic: Can I ask my old neurologist for some kind of compensation?
BackinStOlaf
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I wrote him a letter.I don't know if I will send it yet. Had to get it off my chest.
Please tell me what you think or if there is anything I can do

Dr. C*****-
I have been angry with your office for many months already and was considering how I should approach this. It is important for you to know that when patients get tests done, they NEED to get their results right away. In September of 2009, I came to you with a tingling in my arm and you suggested I get a Lyme disease test. I went to Labcorp and took the test and waited a week and called your office. I left a message with your answering service for the results. I said that I was calling for my results and to please call me back if anything is wrong, and if I don't hear back then it means the test was normal.

I did not hear back and thought I didn't have Lyme and continued pursuing other options. I then went to have a brain MRI done in early December. Within the 2 months between the Lyme test and the MRI, I started getting other strange symptoms including joint pain, muscle pain, tinnitus, chest pain (which is very scary for a 30 year old to feel) headaches, burning sensations, foot pain and general bad feeling.

You called me in December with my MRI results and told me it was normal. Then you casually mentioned that my Lyme test was ``equivocal'' and that I should look into it further but that you could not help me as you are not a Lyme expert and don't know about it. This is obvious to me, as if you knew anything about it, you would have given me my results right away, not had me wait 2 months.

I was so surprised at this that I didn't even ask you why. So the next day I called your employee at the front desk, I believe her name is Maria. I asked her ``Why was I given my results 2 months later?'' She paused for maybe 15 seconds and abruptly said ``our patients call us for the results''. I told her that I did call and that I left a message on the answering service as you are not in the office every day. I then proceeded to say ``you don't call patients when something is fishy with their tests?'' and once again she abruptly said ``no, they call us''. I said that is ridiculous and got off the phone with her as I was very upset.

Well, Dr. C*****, turns out I do have Lyme disease and am going to a doctor very familiar with it. My second blood test came out CDC positive for it. I have been treating all year. It has been extremely difficult and very costly. I still have symptoms.

There is one thing you should know about Lyme disease. The sooner you start treatment, the greater the chance you have of getting rid of it. Even just a few weeks can make a big difference. I waited 2 months to hear my results from your office. 2 months in which my symptoms got worse. I went from having just a tingly arm, to having even more scary symptoms. My life is not as it used to be. I worry all the time and am very anxious about getting better. This is not the life a 30 year old should have.

I really think you should change your policy of ``the patients call us for the results''. If you see fishy results, PLEASE CALL. Maybe if I had started treatment right away, I could have saved myself a lot of pain and grief.

--------------------
First Symptom 9/09
Multiple docs, negative Labcorp test
LLMD: 1/10
Positive Igenex/CDC test
Treatment 2/10
2/10-8/10 Amox, ceftin, zith, flagyl
Currently: Bicillin, Minocycline, still dealing with severe breathing issues

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Posts: 1121 | From New York, New York | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
onbam
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What he did sounds like malpractice.
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sutherngrl
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If you want to go for compensation, don't send the letter. That will give him a heads up to possibly tinker with your medical records, or maybe even have them disappear or something.

Speak to an attorney and get a professional opinion as to whether or not you have a chance to win.

If not a great chance to win, to recieve compensation; then send the letter and then gather a few people and stand outside his office with signs that state how you were mistreated.

Posts: 4035 | From Mississippi | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sutherngrl
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Oh, also make sure you first go and get all your medical records before you do anything.
Posts: 4035 | From Mississippi | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BackinStOlaf
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I am worried that if I talk to a lawyer, they will want to look at all my medical records at my LLMD's office...I wouldn't want to do anything that would cause any investigation into my LLMD's office.

--------------------
First Symptom 9/09
Multiple docs, negative Labcorp test
LLMD: 1/10
Positive Igenex/CDC test
Treatment 2/10
2/10-8/10 Amox, ceftin, zith, flagyl
Currently: Bicillin, Minocycline, still dealing with severe breathing issues

 -

Posts: 1121 | From New York, New York | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LadyRider326
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Your lawyer works for you and is bound by strict confidentiality. Of course if you sued him, his attorney probably would be able to request all of your records from elsewhere.

I have worked in the medical field my entire life and I know how easy it is for a chart to get taken off the doc's desk and then lost to following up. I'm kicking myself right now because when I was told my Lyme test was negative in March I didn't ask for a copy and thus didn't realize until just this past week that even one band positive may mean something. It may not be Lyme, but if it is I've lost valuable time by not being proactive. No, we should not have to be, but IMHO if you are not - you are basically screwed.

Posts: 10 | From Maine | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sophie1234
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My two cents: don't take his word on a "normal" MRI either. I had a neuro tell me "normal", only to find out the report actually said "multiple, large lesions that were consistant with MS". Nice.

Go to the office, state that you are there for copies of your medical records including all labs, tests, etc. Then sit down to wait. If they say they will mail them, give them two weeks. Then call. The only way I found out I had Lyme was by going back over my labs from my MS diagnosis. Don't give up. Don't go away.

Posts: 113 | From CA | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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-
You deserve it. However, (and this comes from someone who is usually very optimistic in nature), you won't win as the IDSA's view of hard to get, easy to treat will be the mantra they take.

And, yes, your LLMD will be called into it.

LadyRider says: "Your lawyer works for you and is bound by strict confidentiality."

However, it would be impossible for this to proceed without your LLMD being drawn into it for public record.

And, your medical file will be permanently marked and it could be very hard for you to get insurance coverage OR other doctors in the future. Few doctors will touch a patient who has filed a lawsuit.

You can always talk to an attorney. A few years ago, somewhere in New England, there was a case that was successful for a misdiagnosis.

However, the sole point you would be raising is not being informed of test results. Regardless of the message you left,

It may be law that patients are ultimately responsible to get a copy of their tests. Bottom line, you'd need to find out what the law is about that.

Had THAT test been CDC positive, you'd have firmer ground to stand on but, with it having been equivocal, that's going to stir up the whole debate as to different results from different labs.
Remember, to the IDSA, equivocal means negative. Your followup test may or may not be accepted as a strong argument.

Then all hell can break loose and few patients can withstand that kind of stress. Your first priority is to your health. And your new LLMD needs to be consulted before you would do anything. You'll also need a ton of money. Such a case will probably not be taken by any attorney on a contingency fee.

Now, there may be a way to turn this around somewhat. If this doctor really does feel badly for the miscommunication, might he be on board for you as your support doctor, ordering routine tests, etc? Might he be more interested in learning about lyme?
If so, that could actually work out well for you in the long run.

I hate to say it but, if this were to be jury case and if I were to be on that jury, I would be drawn to the point that the patient is ultimately responsible for chasing down test results.

I would not have held that view 15 years ago when I had some serious tests that I did not know about for 2 years - but I hold that view now - as a seasoned patient. In the messed up word of office management, the patient has to take charge. Of course, I've had 27 years more than you to learn that. At the age of 30, I would have been blindsided. So, that's something in your favor. How were you to KNOW?

I'm torn on this, of course, but it's my hunch that it's the way this would work out if you were to pursue it.
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Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BackinStOlaf
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thanks for the advice everyone- Keebler: the last thing I want to do is lose my LLMD. Maybe I can meet with the doctor and discuss the issue and maybe he will offer something? Don't hold my breath, right?

Worth a try. I don't think I have the energy for a lawsuit. *sigh*

--------------------
First Symptom 9/09
Multiple docs, negative Labcorp test
LLMD: 1/10
Positive Igenex/CDC test
Treatment 2/10
2/10-8/10 Amox, ceftin, zith, flagyl
Currently: Bicillin, Minocycline, still dealing with severe breathing issues

 -

Posts: 1121 | From New York, New York | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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-
The doctor will not be able to offer you any financial reimbursement. Legally, he would be unable to do so. That's very clear.

The only way he could come close to making this up is to be on board with learning more and being a true support. If he can grow from this he may be good to have in your corner. I hope you can work out a good understanding.

I urge holding onto him because he did not just say you were negative, as most doctors would have done.

He (finally) told you to get it further checked out and he realized that equivocal needed to be further explored, he does not sound like a dyed-in-the-wool blind IDSA follower. While he may not become a LLMD, if he learns a bit more, he can be a good support for you for some time to come.

He should also speak to that receptionist so it does not happen again. I would also want him to make it clear to patients for all tests, the procedure to be 100% certain that they get their results.

It's a very common problem, across all fields of medicine. It's shocking how many important test results go unattended.
-

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lymeinhell
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Perhaps you just send him the letter to get it off your chest.

I know when I finally got CDC positive on Igenex, then subsequently found out my 'negative test' done at the local hospital 7 mos earlier in fact had positive bands, I went absolutely ballistic!!!

And wanted to sue every stinkin specicalist I had seen over the last 9 months that hold told me there was nothing wrong with me.

Ultimately I decided that if I went after them, I'd have to include my wonderful GP, who was the only one to finally say "I honestly don't know what to do for you."

So instead, I wrote a letter in the vein of 'I hope I can prevent this from happening from someone else'. Sent my test results and Dr. B's guidelines and my note that said 'If you see this stellar of symptoms again, think of me and think of Lyme'.

It helped me let go of the anger and hopefully helped at least one person.

You need to focus on getting better - holding on to the anger will only drain you of the energy you need to heal.

--------------------
Julie
_ _ ___ _ _
lymeinhell

Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.

Posts: 2258 | From a better place than I was 11 yrs ago | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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