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Dear Doctor: You’re Fired

Post Published: 28 June 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 26 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Doctor,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I will no longer be a patient of yours. I am very disappointed and appalled at the care I received during my visit to your office on Monday, June 7th.

I initially stopped seeing you after moving to Ohio about 5 years ago. After becoming increasingly frustrated with the quality of care I received from my family doctor in Ohio for my thyroid disease, I decided to drive an hour just to see you again. I came back to you because I thought you were a good doctor. You were the one who first diagnosed me with thyroid disease 13 years ago.

I was only 24 years old—about the same age as your two youngest children—when you first diagnosed me with thyroid disease. Since that time, I have educated myself (as I hope anyone would) on the effects of this life-changing disease. I know what it feels like to have this disease under control through proper medication, and I know what it feels like when my levels are off.

The simple fact is that you let me leave your office without changing my medicine knowing my levels were way out of range. After your refused to share the exact results of my blood tests with me, I obtained a copy after leaving your office to see how out of range I was. I was shocked to find out that my TSH was well above the normal range. At 6.43, it is double what it is supposed to be. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, it should be between .3 to 3.0 – the normal range that was implemented in 2002 – and all doctors should be following these guidelines.

In addition, I asked you how far off my TSH was and you said “slightly.” Then I asked about my T4 and you said that was off. I just don’t understand how you can confirm that my levels were off, but not adjust my medication in any way.

Then when I told you and your nurse that I was tired, depressed, had a puffy face, hands and feet—all clear signs of my thyroid levels being off—you just ignored it. You told me I probably have sleep apnea. I told you I don’t have this because I don’t snore, lose my breath in my sleep or wake up gasping for air. I explained that my husband would have told me if he had noticed any of these symptoms, and yet you still only looked at my being tired as a sign of sleep apnea and nothing else.

You also told me that I was focusing too much on it being my thyroid. Of course I am, it runs in my family. Yet that was ignored too.

I don’t understand if you think thyroid is not that serious because this disease is my life, just like someone who has diabetes or MS. This life-threatening disease has changed my life and I have been fighting for 12 years to get the care I deserve. I find it sad that doctors don’t see this disease as a big deal because anyone who has this will tell you different and being in range to a thyroid patient is everything.

Sincerely,

Melanie Genot

My name is Melanie and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 14 years ago. I have started writing letters to doctors because I’m an emotional person and find it easier to get my point across this way and hopefully their next thyroid patient will not be treated the way I was.

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26 Responses to “Dear Doctor: You’re Fired”

  1. Oh my word Melanie! I strongly recommend everyone here copy this, and save it to use as a template letter if they ever feel the need to address any members of their medical team in writing…brilliantly written, thank you x

    I truly hope your doctor has the good grace to respond to your letter, and the nosey part of me would love to hear the explanations for their actions.

  2. Melanie says:

    Thank you so much and as of yet I have not heard back but I will let everyone know if he does.

  3. DAT says:

    Hi Melanie,

    What a great idea, writing letters to doctors. Recently, after staying with my family doctor for four years after they misdiagnosed my thyroid cancer, I sent a letter but only to request my medical records to be forwarded to an internist that comes with rave reviews. You are helping all of us by doing more and you do it so well. Your letter was written in such a warm and non threatening way that I’m certain you made him think. There are good and bad in every profession, sad but true.

    I’m sorry that your appointment turned out so awful, it is a painful process. Have you found anyone to adjust your meds yet? I hope so. I have a very responsive endo and the nurse is simply wonderful. I’m in Pittsburgh. If you want more info just let me know. I often wonder if the doctors feel threatened by those of us that know our bodies better than they do. It is frustrating to say the least. I think all of us are looking for a partner in our health and want to be reasonable but when they don’t listen that becomes difficult. I don’t care if the doctors think I am crazy or a bitch any longer, they are going to listen to me. I was so wishing my family doc would fire me but that was not going to happen simply because they had to cover their ass.

    Thank you for writing and sharing, you give us all another approach to think about. I hope things have changed for the better since you wrote, please let us know.

    Hugs,
    Donna

  4. Melanie, thank you SO much for sharing this letter with us. The way your doctor treated you is just appalling and unacceptable. Thank you for holding him accountable for his actions–your letter is an encouragement to never settle for sub-par health care. Thank you!

    xoxo,
    Joanna

  5. Sarah Downing says:

    Dear Melanie,

    How brave and responsible of you to write a letter to your doctor, explaining to him how his incorrect actions have affected you in the hope that he might treat his next patient differently. I applaud your actions and hope that you find a doctor who is more knowledgeable and caring really soon. My mother is going through the same process right now, which is turning my father into a patient advocate. He even started subscribing to Mary Shomon’s newletter.

    Hugs,

    Sarah

  6. Christina says:

    Way to go, Melanie!! Way too often patients are submissive to their care providers. I was guilty of that once but have learned alot through various health issues. I know my body better than anyone! I work with doctors and know that they are humans just like us…we should feel free to speak to them as an equal. Funny, after so many appointments with my endo surgeon and phone calls etc. he still now calls me “Cheif”! lol Now that my surgery is over I’m actually a little sad that I won’t have him on “my team” anymore.

    Best of luck finding the right doc for you!!

  7. Linda says:

    Melanie,
    Awesome letter. I admire your courage to write to the doctor, and wish I could do the same. I wish we didn’t have to fire doctors, because it is so difficult to find new ones especially if you are dealing with insurance that use “network” doctors. I hope you can find a new doctor willing to be a partner in your care and not just a dictator of your care. Thanks for giving me more courage to stand up to my doctors because as I keep getting told they are people too. LOL

    XOXO, Linda

  8. @ Christina – I was very sad too, to say my final farewells to my ENT surgeon after my TT surgery…so glad I’m not alone in that, feels like a chapter closed and one less member on my team, and I’m sorry not to be seeing him any more, if only because he was a really nice bloke.

  9. Bee says:

    you were so very nice to your ex-doctor in your farewell letter. When I was in the throes of firing doctors, I found myself in thyroid rages which only resulted in me causing scenes and insulting office staff-which made me feel a hell of a lot better momentarily, but I’M SURE caused their little teeny tiny tongues to wag once i departed their premises…I’m now in the ” what the hell, they’re all idiots and i’m just too worn down to try to get my point across stage” so I smile and nod and then curse behind their backs-unless its my ex-male gynecologist who I just told in my nice tone of voice that the only way I could get him to understand the discomfort I was having in my nether regions was if I could possibly shove a hot poker down his penis-but that’s another story

  10. faith72 says:

    Thank you Melanie,I am sharing this letter with my friends. To help explain my situations with my primary care doctors. I figure it would help explain things that I go through every month and how I feel for them. It will build more support for me.

  11. landsman2010 says:

    How frustrating! We must all advocate for our health just as you have. I’m sorry you had to go through a lousy trip with your doc, but hope you have found someone better in the process. Be well 🙂

  12. Dear Thyroid says:

    Fuzzy, I agree. This is a wonderful template, and one to save.

    I am curious to know if Melonie received a response, too. Hopefully she’ll share it with us!

  13. Dear Thyroid says:

    Melanie;

    We look forward to hearing back. Hopefully you will hear back; that would be too fabulous for words ;0

  14. Dear Thyroid says:

    DAT; Love your comment and the points you made. Melanie’s letter is so non threatening.

    As you said, there are good and bad doctors in every profession. Maybe if we do take the time to share our experience with our doctors, in a non-threatening way, they might hear us.

    In my opinion, even if they don’t, just writing and sending the letter is tremendously empowering. What do we think?

    xo

  15. Melanie says:

    This is the reason I wanted to share this letter with all of you. I’m very great full to find this group and it a great feeling to have so much support. I will let everyone know if I every hear back from him. I do go and see an endo in 2 weeks(paying 100% out of pocket)but he comes highly recommended. I will let you know if I decide to fire him too if he’s not good.

    After writing this letter a huge weight was lifted off my chest. I encourage everyone to do this.

    Thank you for all the love and support!

  16. Dear Thyroid says:

    Agreed, Joanna “Thank you for holding him accountable to his actions. YOU’RE SO RIGHT.

  17. Lori says:

    Melanie – thank you so much for sharing your letter. I agree this would be a great template. I have several unfinished letters to doctors who have screwed me over the years. I’m so proud of you for doing this and you may have just inspired me to finish them. They are long overdue!

    I also agree with you that your symptoms most definitely sound related to your thyroid. As a person with sleep apnea, I feel compelled to tell you that I have never had the typical symptoms you mentioned, i.e. snoring, loss my breath in sleep, or waking up gasping for air. In fact, I have had no outward symptoms of it, only the effects of not treating it. I had the sleep study going in thinking the doctor was NUTS and I was completely shocked when it was positive. On the other hand, my husband does have all the symptoms you mentioned and his sleep study was negative. Go figure!!!

    I wish you all the best and hope you find a doctor who will work with you as a partner in YOUR health.

  18. DAT says:

    Dear Thyroid/Katie,

    I try to see the good in everyone and give benefit of the doubt long after it has worn out its welcome but I’m in a different place when it comes to my health now thanks to Dear Thyroid. I will be respectful and reasonable but I’m also going to be prepared and heard. I know that acting like a loon is not going to get me diagnosed properly, it is going to get me labeled and how is that going to fix anything? I’ll play nice and if they don’t want to then I’m taking my ball and going home, lol. Reminder to me for tomorrow: take klonopin before appointment with new internist.

    Hugs,
    Donna

  19. Melanie says:

    Lori
    Thank you for your response about sleep apnea and my mother has it too but with they symptoms I described. If my levels were in normal range and I was feeling this way I would have considered his theory.

  20. Liz Campbell says:

    Melanie,

    It is so frustrating to feel brushed off by someone who is supposed to care about you. I have been told the same thing…to quit focusing on my thyroid when I know that is what ails me.
    Hang in there, girl! I wish you luck finding a new doctor. Just so you know, there are good ones out there…after years of searching I have finally found one!

  21. Donna says:

    Hi Melanie, I had a couple of doctor whoppers too. I kept telling my first endo “My hair keeps falling out,” and his reply? “Well, my hair is too.” I told him I was always cold and tired and my ankles hurt. His reply? “You’re getting older.” (I was 33). The second endo yelled at me “Why do you keep saying it’s your thyroid?!” (I had every single symptom except for one). When I told her “Look, I don’t want to go bald” (I was not quite there, just a few patches left) she said “I have a lot of bald patients who lead very fulfilling lives.” ….I learned later that my mom went and told them both off. A few other doctors recommended therapy for my stress due to my hair loss (and vice versa) but they don’t hold a cake to those two endos….and once I got my thyroid med (Armour) after 4 long years, they were both proven wrong….

  22. Lolly says:

    Hi Melanie,

    I wish I could write a letter like that, but you see I speak as I feel and my Doctor or ex Endo wouldn’t like what i had to say well one didn’t, but you know I didn’t care it made me feel better letting him know he can’t fuck with my health and think I am going to roll over. So now I have no endo and my doc is next to useless when it comes to thyroid but that i can cope with because I can talk him round.

    You know your own body you get to know how you feel when your levels are off or even in a good place, who gives a fuck if the TSH is within range when the top range is still 5.50. Hey .02 over range they are fucking panicking or even worse when TSH is below the range. never mind getting the right thyroid tests.

    I hold no credence with TSH alone you have to look at other things in conjunction with it like the Free T4 and Free T3, I wish they would teach these Endoshits that.

    I hope your New endo works out even if you have to pay out of pocket. Great letter to your Doctor and hope you were able to adjust your dose of medication too. always make sure that you ask for hard copies of your thyroid results, don’t just except that they are okay or a bit low bit high or fine you want proof you want to see it in black and white you want evidence you want numbers along with your reference ranges.

    Good luck anyway great letter.

    I’m sending My thytune to my ex endo maybe that will Show him just how I feel.

    Lolly

  23. ashton2190 says:

    melanie: i’m glad i’m not the only one that had to fire their doctor! your letter has inspired me to tell my former doctor exactly what i think of her poor care. thank you for the motivation!

  24. Graves Situation says:

    Good for you! I’ve fired several family practice docs over the years, but never contacted them to tell them why I wouldn’t be back. I’ve wondered if they ever noticed, or cared, that they have lost a patient. (Probably not. Plenty more where that one came from.) Like others, I’m curious to know what sort of response, if any, you get from him.

  25. Anon says:

    Being an emotional person is no excuse to post a letter with your name online. I would not be criticizing a doctor online with my name on it nor would I criticize my doctor online. What they have to go through to be as knowledgable What I would not give to have my doctor back. I was abruptly fired as a patient all of a sudden with no notice, in violation of Patient Abandonment Law. Physicians are human beings who are not going to change their opinions, however arrogant or misinformed. If written a letter or informed by a patient that they don’t know everything they will just keep defending their point of view. Take it from me a law abiding a citizen for decades never been in trouble – I got accused of stalking my doctor in a court of law. What I do? I said she was wrong about something. Watch your back when it comes to your doctor or any doctor. I now cannot practice in my career because of a restraining order.

  26. Dear Thyroid says:

    Dear Anon;

    I am very sorry to hear about everything you have and continue to go through.

    I respectfully disagree. Writing letters to our thyroids and/or about our doctors, is not emotional; it’s smart. Dear Thyroid endeavors to achieve many things. One of them is to bridge the gap between doctors and patients. One of the best ways for doctors to learn about what patients go through is by reading DearThyroid.org.

    We celebrate great doctors and call out the bad ones. We demand better treatment, better care and more education, for doctors and the general population.

    If we don’t speak up, if we stay silent, than we let the bad ones win.

    I digress, I am very sorry for everything that you’ve been through.

    I hope that things improve for you. I’m also sorry that your doctor terminated you and went to the lengths she did. To me, that’s something worth fighting. That’s just a battle I would pick.

    Thanks for writing. I wish you the very best.

    Katie

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